At the end of the 20th century, project management had spread from its origins in the US aerospace and defence industries to many organisations and industries worldwide and had grown into a valued organization competency.
It was an execution-oriented approach based on detailed planning, hierarchical management and centralised control, designed to achieve project’s goal within budget, on time and to the required specifications. It worked well in a world when technologies and markets were considered to be stable and unchanging.
Today, a new generation that has grown up with the internet, social media and mobile communications are uncomfortable with the traditional project management approach. They are more at ease with the future of project management based on collaborative teams, decentralised control and flat and responsive management structures.
As the work changes, so do the workers. Gone are the days of career-long employees climbing the corporate ladder.
The new worker wants career choices, control, and a sense of purpose. Career mobility is top of mind, and the associated upskilling that is needed to enable it has become more prevalent.
Diffusion of Project Management
As the diffusion of project management across society continues apace, the common denominator for all these professionals is that they rely on project management best practices, delivery skills, and techniques to succeed in their respective fields.
How these individuals prefer to acquire these skills is also changing. Demand is increasing for faster, more flexible, and easier-to-learn project management methodologies and approaches.
Short, sharp, respected interventions, such as the Institute of Project Management’s Certified Diploma Programmes are highly valued, offering a combination of academic and professional body recognition.
Traditionally, project management competence and technical skills have been used in the recruitment of project professionals. Increasingly, behavioural characteristics and emotional and social intelligence are being sought.
What is the future role of project management?
Supporters argue that its importance and contribution can be demonstrated through ever-increasing numbers of certification, the growth and standing of project professionals, increasing reliance on the treatment of work as ‘projects’, and growing accountability for projects within organisations.
They point out how project management and its role within management and organisational strategy have gained traction, increasing numbers of organisations seeing project management as a core competency.
They believe that as the world has become increasingly projectised, organizations continue to rely on the peace of mind they get from hiring professionals who hold a widely recognized certification.