The future of project management

The future of project management

A latest report by AXELOS identified key future trends in project management. We summarise these key findings and what it means for project managers.


QA | 9 March 2017

Global Practice Providers AXELOS have released a report on the future Project Management Professional.

The report is the result of thorough research through in-depth interviews and roundtables with project management professionals and surveys with their global community. Their contributions helped them identify future trends and what they mean for project managers.

In this blog, we summarize the key findings, insight to the future and suggestions on how to access supplementary content and resources helping you develop these skills for the future.

  1. Project Management will become more strategic

    Project Managers don’t just deliver projects, they deliver to an investment. In the future, project managers will be responsible for identifying which projects to progress and those with less strategic importance will be dropped in favour of those that serve the organisation’s objectives and goals.
    As a consequence, project managers will need a much stronger strategic vision and to broaden their range of competencies to include business and strategic skills such as business analysis, change management, influencing and relationship building.

  2. Project Management will be all about change

    Change already drives organisations and change is the core of project management. More individuals across the business will start taking a project-base approach to achieve their objectives and so, project management will be recognised as a valuable business skill.
    As the pace of business change increases, project managers will be responsible not only for managing the project but also for managing the internal and external change brought about as a result of the project (Benefits Management). Staggeringly, 90% of project managers believe ongoing training will be vital to keeping up with the pace of change.

  3. Technology will never supersede the human touch

    Automation and Artificial Intelligence will certainly take over routine tasks however emotional intelligence and soft skills such as communication, diplomacy and relationship building will continue to be vital for the delivery of projects. The ability to work with people will become as important as technical project management skills

  4. Sharing best practice

    Project managers will continue to swap their experiences with each other in order to build up their personal store of techniques, which will help them to prepare for whatever eventuality comes their way.
    Key comments from those who participated in the research include:
    "It would be good to see training content with more practical elements and trends that link to the industry".
    "I’d like to see peer-to-peer discussion forums that are sector specific that let you share real-life experiences".

  5. All about Agility

    The pace of change in a business today means you have to adapt and be more strategic. Working in an agile way will allow project managers to meet evolving business needs by ensuring their response to project delivery is fast-paced, flexible and business-oriented.
    Agile allows for continual improvement once a product or service has launched, which means the initial release does not need to be perfect thus reducing pressure on the launch and speeding up development. 89% of project managers agree on the need for more creativity and flexibility in PM.

  6. The evolution of learning

  7. Reaffirming the theme that project management will become a rounded discipline where a focus on the human factor and wither business skills, the report states: ‘PRINCE2 is the foundation, then you need a master class in people – you have to have people skills to drive a project forward’.
    Online learning and the use of video platforms will become more predominant as new generations of project managers will have very different learning expectations going as far as affirming that learning will become gamified and interactive.

Conclusions and suggestions

It is clear that the future of project management in practice and their ability to adapt; the skills needed to effectively deliver a project as well as the impact of new technologies, will have a huge impact in the importance that project managers will play in the future success of their organisations. Without fail, the one common theme that we have heard time and time again is that successful project management professionals have to develop both their ′core skills′ and a set of ′surrounding skills′ that enable them to perform in their role more successfully than the rest.

Beyond Core Skills

It is undeniable that in today’s rapidly evolving business world the need to manage change is more vital than ever before. The demands on delivering structure projects, at pace, and to ever changing needs is placing more and more challenges upon the shoulders of the modern PM.

Consequently, the need for PM's to understand and deliver through the right project management methodology, deploying the right ′core skills′ is now not a guarantee of success. The modern PM requires a wider, more rounded set of skills that enable them to be influential, commercial, and demonstrate real leadership qualities, in short they need a more complete set of professional skills.

The Complete Professional

As part of QA′s Complete Professional Series, the Complete Professional Project Manager offers a set of relevant and related skills for both the aspiring and experienced project manager, enabling an individual or organisation to develop broader, more capable project management capability.

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