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The Future Project Manager !!!


I am really curious on how the Future Project Manager would look like. Will he be the same old guy with the previous trends – part-time Project Manager and part-time some other work (this scenario is typically an IT related scenario where the project manager would be doing project management on part time basis). Or a Project Coordinator where the project manager is meant to press a panic button and expedite things. These types of managers can be found in different industry sectors such as telecom, banking, etc. Or a Project Manager for each function such as Planning, Design or a PMO project manager who provides guidance and expertise – found in Oil & Gas and Construction sectors.

Or the project manager profile is going to change? Any change is gradual and is hardly noticeable, as in projects. But, if we take 5 year horizon and imagine to come after a 5 year hiatus, the change will be perceptible.

But, first let’s take a view on how the organizations would look like in the next 5 years.

Nature of Change – Communication, collaboration, social technologies, the cloud, and mobility are the factors impinging on business today. Add to this the ability of some companies to utilize crowds for microtasks and various new technologies, not only for increased productivity and collaboration, but with the additional ability to change the physical nature of the workplace. If you also incorporate the effects of Gen Y and the Millennials, we not only have different organizations, but a different workforce.

Collaboration – The rapid pace of technology advancement, and the use of crowds as a business means, and you begin to see that the future of the collaborative workplace may look nothing like our current view. Collaboration will be part of any future workplace. In fact, one of the top five issues on CEO surveys for the last five years is “improved collaboration.”

OutSourcing – Future organizations will outsource sales, IT, HR, and many other functions. Such an organization has much lower overhead and is more agile and more competitive.

The “next” organization would be a “lean” organization which will focus on efficiency of the particular function. Hence, there would not be additional resources forcing other resources to increase efficiency. There would be good systems to track efficiencies.

The following list to describe some of the characteristics of future companies:

  • Managers are mentors focused on project teams, not functional areas.
  • Employees negotiate work commitments with project managers.
  • Project managers define roles and resources and recruit/manage the team.
  • Executive tasks are earned based on size and number of successful projects.
  • Bigger budgeted but less risky projects can be chosen; all projects are vetted through a process.
  • Smaller budgets but more innovative projects can be chosen; customers are part of projects.
  • C-suite survives, as it is needed for overall direction, to instigate projects, and to arbitrate between teams.

The Future Project Manager, thus, will be the “Owner” of the Project alone. He will be accountable for managing the project and producing the deliverables within the project constraints. The Project Manager will be more authorative and assertive in the organization, and would be the “Owner” for the project, than a lame duck.

Organizations would treat “Project Management” as a separate discipline and a mandatory function in the organization. As the other functions will be outsourced, one pivotal role to manage the “Risks” or external partners / vendors will be the Project Manager.

The Future Project Manager is going to be more powerful and authorative, and is definitely going to call the shots in the new organization.

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