Either way, I don’t think that I’m alone when I find myself saying things like “In the good old days…” and “I can remember when...”, and comparing the quality of service from 10, 15 years ago versus the quality of service in todays world, often commenting that things were better back then. Well I’m still trying to figure out if those statements are fair and accurate, or is it really the case that project management has evolved to address current market conditions and client needs. We’ll revisit this at later...

For now, I thought I’d share some observations of things that are happening in the industry which are definitely contributing to the evolution of the project management discipline.

  1. Project Managers in todays world are expected to be highly mobile. No longer are they desk bound paper pushers, or stuck in a singular project construction site office screaming at contractors and suppliers.
  2. In support of Project Managers being highly mobile, the technologies being used to manage projects have changed. “In the good old days”, Project Managers were highly dependent on email, and were typically very paper heavy. Today, there is more reliance on mobile devices, phones, laptops, tablets, all with connectivity back to a central database or cloud.
  3. Project communications are now being channeled through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and the likes. These platforms align to the new generation of project managers and enable quick, real time, informal communications to occur while out and about, on trains, in taxi’s etc. without having to crack out the laptop, or wait until you get to your desk.
  4. Clients in the modern world tend to be more project and real estate savvy, with centralized, in-house, decision making capabilities and expertise. This has resulted in Project Managers having to collaborate across borders, time zones and cultures, quite often dealing with clients remotely, and not face to face as perhaps they did 10 years ago. This remote collaboration has driven a need for the modern day Project Manager to be comfortable communication over phone, email and the other technology platforms mentioned above.
So what does all this mean for the future of Project Management? Well, 100% I’m not sure, however, it is clear in my mind that things are changing, they’re changing fast and they’re changing to meet the ever-growing market demand for more information, better quality information and faster.

Is Project Management today worse that it was back in the day? I don’t think so. It’s different. And for those old school Project Managers who haven’t evolved with the times…your frustrations and judgements of old vs. new are understandable, I do the same myself on a regular basis, however we need to realize that change is happening, change will continue to happen and we’re just going to need to evolve with that change.