What are the biggest challenges to the Project Management profession today?

What are the biggest challenges to the Project Management profession today?

In a recent interview, Debbie O’Bray, PMI Fellow and former Chair of PMI Board of Directors was asked this question. Her response makes interesting reading for anyone considering investing in project management development. It greatly reinforces the journey that the Institute has ardently pursued over the last 25 years.

The Institute’s policy of academic (NFQ Levels 8 & 9) and practitioner excellence, aligned with the internationally recognised IPMA® professional competency accreditation has ensured that its reputation as Ireland’s premier project management authority remains un-surpassed.

Her main areas of concern for the profession centre on the:


  • Commoditisation of project management development
  • Reputational impact resulting from this commoditisation
  • Development of competent project managers

“At one time, project management training and consulting was fairly specialized, but over the past 15 years or so, it really has become commoditised. An internet search will turn up hundreds of project management consulting firms to choose from.

While anyone can hang a shingle on their door, the reality is that not all consulting firms are equal. I have seen organizations make significant investments only to receive questionable advice from the “expert” that they hired. 

 When this happens, it is easy for an organization to conclude that “project management is not for us”.

This story is a long way of saying that one of the challenges PM profession faces is the reputational impact when organizations fail to achieve the outcomes they were looking for.

A second challenge for the PM profession is the need to develop competence more expeditiously. It is easy enough to develop knowledge through training and education, but competence is another matter entirely - and competent Project Managers are what organizations need to achieve results.

It typically takes years of experience to develop professional judgement, but we have a chronic shortage of Project Managers and an aging workforce, so we need to find ways to bring practitioners up to speed more quickly. Some industries and some organizations have made inroads, but overall, there is real work to be done in terms of how we bring new practitioners along. “


(source: PMWorldJournal.net Volume IV, Issue 8 – August 2015)


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