At the risk of aging myself I thought I would take a look at some of the ways the project management profession has changed in the last 10 years. Project management has been described to me as 49% art, 51% science (those two are interchangeable by the way for those keeping score) meaning that there is always going to be an evolution to the industry. Whether it’s from new technology sweeping the landscape to a new generation of team members in the workforce to changes in how we actually conduct our day-to-day jobs, there are an abundance of changes that have affected the project management profession.
10 years ago, this is something that was not only rare, it was virtually unheard of. The technology was pretty close then to what it is now in terms of remote office capabilities (WebEx/MSN Messenger/Lync/Skype). The big shift in the profession is the mindset of employers being more open to employees working remotely (part time and full time). By allowing a full or partial remote workforce (and accepting the challenges that come along with it), employers can expand their search for talent to areas where they may not have an office or any kind of a presence in order to attract and retain talent. Getting over the hump of trusting employees to work physically unsupervised was significant barrier that a lot of organization have broken through.
Millennial Team Members
Project management is just as much people management as anything else. Good project managers learn and understand their team members – their motivational ticks, how they like to work, preferred communication methods etc. With millennials entering the workforce there is an entire generation of talent that is not like any other. Millennials have a boatload of talent and ideas, however interacting with individuals who fall into that age category may be different for project managers who have been working with pending retirees for most of their career. With a heavier reliance on technology and written communication, project managers have had to alter their style to accommodate the masses of more junior team members, while demonstrating the value of more old-school tactics (phone call vs. email, screen-sharing vs. text message). Recognizing the talent is the easy part – harnessing that talent to push in the right direction has been the challenge (and will continue to be) with the millennial workforce.
10 years ago there was not a lot of focus put towards standardized project methodologies. Since then the word ‘methodology’ has exploded onto the scene and every organization likes to tout their own self-developed methodology. When Agile burst onto the scene it was branded as the methodology of the future. There were (and still are) significant adoption issues with going full-Agile. There are, however, plenty of great things about Agile (as there is Waterfall) that organizations tend to pick and choose to make their own a-la-carte methodology. Taking the best from industry best practices, combining with in-house knowledge and experience to come up with a methodology that works for that organization, and that organization alone.
Project management continues to be an evolving practice. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years are going to bring to the profession and how it’s going to shape how we do our jobs.
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