The Futuristic Project ManagerMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
A lot is discussed regarding the qualities of a good Project Manager and about different management experiences but I thought it would be a good idea to visualize what the future Project Manager would be like?
With an ever growing number of Project Managers, one thing seems to be getting important is that the mandatory skillset is based to elevate reasonably. Currently there is no mandatory requirement to, in terms of educational degree, to start as a Project Manager. Generally as it is, this responsibility is awarded to one of the most senior members in the team. In some cases it goes to the technical lead and is not the person who was purely on the project management path.
The Project Management institute (PMI) certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), require at least 3 years’ of experience. Some managers do however earn a Master’s degree in Project Management before starting but that again is a very minor percentage and is not considered mandatory to start as Project Manager. So the first thing I foresee in the future at least a Bachelor level degree in Project Management will be a base requirement to start as a Project Manager in the same manner as there is a specialized degree requirement in many other roles today.
Another important characteristic of a Project Manager, that I foresee improving in future, is more utilization of online Project Management and Team Collaboration tools by the Project Manager. This includes understanding of these tools as required part of their Project Manager skillset. I still come across a lot of Project Managers with limited understanding of such tools. The future definitely requires use of such tools especially the online versions as more teams are moving towards working remotely.
As everything is now going virtual so i see that all those activities which were previously considered to have the physical presence of Project Manager will be replaced with some tool or may go virtual with help of technology. Just like tools, I foresee the Project Managers building understanding as well as adaptation of the Industry Best Practices and Standards.
Similarly, I expect the existence of much mature PMO in organizations. I regularly come across organizations using a limited number of Project Managers and all project management activities are based on solo efforts of the Project Manager. There are a whole lot of things that a PMO can do in an organization but unfortunately that part is lacking mainly due to financial aspects or lack of vision. Personally I feel that the “Futuristic PMO” will lead the “Futuristic Project Manager”.
The future Project Manager will also have the courtesy of being assisted by a Project Coordinator or an Assistant Project Manager. It is common for the Project Manager to be performing tasks which the Project Coordinator should be doing. It literally means that you are using time of an expensive resource for something which could have been executed by a resource with much lower cost. Currently even the Project Manager is used and billed on multiple projects at a time but in future, I see Organizations embarrassing the importance and need of a proper dedicated Project Management team.
Another area in which I see Project Managers to have more awareness is Information Security. With everything going online and virtual, the importance of InfoSec is ever growing. Although they are two separate departments but I see future Project Managers getting more involved in this domain as well.
Similarly, I foresee Project Managers being assisted by a lot of automated advanced AI tools for monitoring, reporting and decision making purposes at different levels. Personally one tool I would really love to see one such tool in action is for Risk Monitoring and Management with live risk status.
With Project Managers growing in stature through specialized education, adopting industry standard processes and advanced tools, I expect much more coming from Project Managers as feedback which will provide much improvement in all areas through building a better knowledge base and making improvements. Also I expect such Project Managers to be part of the Organization’s Executive team rather than the traditional Senior-mid level resource in the organization.
Apart from the improvements in practices, there are two areas that I feel will be added to the armory of the Project Manager that will really upgrade them but also will provide the much needed support. First one is the adoption of Performance Measuring Mechanism. I feel that organizations, especially in the software development industry are not really familiar with the concept and benefits of having a Performance Measurement System based on mathematical calculation rather than being evaluated manually. The second area is to be assisted by a professional Project Management Consultant. This will provide support to the Project Manager by a team of experienced and industry experts to assist him/her in every aspect of his/her work.