Last September, Shim Marom had coordinated what was the first ever PM FlashBlog and it was a great experience! Some 50+ project managers from around the world shared their thoughts on what Project Management meant to them. You can check out my contribution “What is Project Management to Me? Everything!” here. A few weeks ago, Mark Phillipy picked up the torch and coordinated Round 2, with a slight twist. In this 2nd Edition of PM FlashBlog, the global PM community will share insights into what is going on with Project Management in their respective region of the world.
Alright, so let’s get into it.
As many of you know, I am the Co-Founder /Host of #PMChat (global collaboration of PMs each Friday at 12 PMEST) and Managing Partner of Kelly Project Solutions in Raleigh, NC. I have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of PMs, business analysts, and business leaders throughout the year and decided to tap into some of those relationships for this post. I contacted recruiters in Oregon/Raleigh/Texas, Technology leaders in New York City/Charlotte and PMO experts in half a dozen other cities to understand what was happening in their respective areas and here is what I have found…
Project Management as a Function – I have long stated my disappointment in what was an operations shift in project management. The nature of a process-oriented discipline primed itself for the ‘productization’ of the function. Several folks created ‘proprietary’ methodologies and so-called turn-key solutions that were some flavor of templates that almost anyone was expected to complete. Leadership, creativity, and strategic accountability were all but removed from many of these systems and the value of project management was diluted for far too long at many firms. As I spoke with many of my colleagues, mentors, and business contacts I was pleased to see so many making a shift back to the ‘creativity’ of the function. “Creativity has become the new business currency. Project managers must focus on encouraging innovation among their team members to meet the continuously demanding expectations of their clients and their project sponsors” said Frank Saladis, Owner of Blue Marble Enterprizes and Founder of International Project Management Day. Another area that Project Managers must drive is in regards to leadership. I spoke with a General Manager at one of Inavero’s Best of Staffing Awards and his comments were “Companies are increasingly looking for Project Managers across all disciplines who are flexible to change management and can help DRIVE adoption and implement process.” Everyone I spoke with echoed the same themes for their ‘wish-list’…adverse leaders that can drive a project towards strategic goals, while working within a rapidly changing environment. “The previous emphasis on developing a detailed plan before implementation may actually delay a project start and could result in less efficient use of resources. The fact is that project plans will change almost immediately after implementation begins. A plan is needed to establish direction and provide a starting point but continuous planning associated with results analysis and fine tuning of objectives as the project is executed will increase the probability of meeting the clients expectations “ says Saladis. And no…Agile has not been the silver bullet so many evangelists of the approach claim it to be, but that is another post.
Project Management as an Opportunity – I am anticipating similar insight from post to post, across all regions in this global PM FlashBlog and the economic challenges shouldn’t be overlooked. With so many talented resources out of work for months on end, everyone is looking for that land of opportunity. In a KPS post “Top 5 Reasons for Project Failure”, we reference the PMI study that states “15.7 million new project management jobs will be created globally, with 6.2 million of those expected in the US by 2020.” As I spoke with almost a dozen staffing and executive recruiting contacts, they all shared a similar message that competition for strong project leadership is at top of the list, but the job req’s just aren’t there or they don’t have a clear picture on the trends for 2014.” The fact of the matter is that budgets are still touch and go in many of the companies we speak with and many of the projects that are being approved require a lot less manpower to execute…implementation of Office 365 and other cloud-based software, shifting to hosted/cloud software, and less in-house software development then before. However, if you are in the mobile space, security, or healthcare IT then it is still looking strong. Obamacare in the US certainly had its issues at launch, but the law is creating plenty of work for those that must comply, implement, or support the new regulations. Another hotspot that we are seeing personally at KPS is with the solopreneur/entrepreneur community, as they look to take their passion and best-effort processes to more scalable, repeatable operations. So many are confronted with the challenges of success without having training on developing business cases, client/investor presentations, risk analysis and so on.
Project Management as a Discipline/Function – Overall, the responses and studies are very positive for the professional project manager. But what can a project manager expect with regards to the day-to-day of being a project manager? A past #PMChat guest, Andy Makar, says 2014 will see an increase of ‘cloud project management’ (my summary) as MS Project moves from the desk to the cloud (along with other great tools), online collaboration really gains traction, and distributed team become the new norm. Check out all his prediction in depth (and in his own words) here. Makar wraps up by saying that “trends are nice but delivery is better” and many of our business contacts couldn’t agree more! One executive at a large investment bank said “I don’t care what tool they use or report they show, I just need to start seeing success!” Most organizations are coming around to providing the tools for success, but time is running out for Project Managers to prove their value-add to the organization…as a specialized role.
Below is the schedule at which the regional PMs will post their FlashBlog:
- March 3rd – North America
- March 10th – South America
- March 17th – Europe
- March 24th – Africa
- March 31st – Western Asia
- April 7th – Eastern Asia
- April 14th – Australia