Technology and the Future of Project Management
Project management has become a critical part of many organizations, leading to significant increases in the demand for project managers.
Around the world, the need for project managers outstrips the supply, according to the Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap report from the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMI report estimates by 2027, organizations will need almost 88 million people working in project management-related jobs.
People with skills in project management are in demand. They are critical in driving business strategy, accomplishing goals, and making more efficient and productive organizations.
This has led to an expansion of educational programs focused on project management. It’s also led to changes in MBA programs to include courses that focus on project management, giving graduates an edge in their careers.
Part of that edge involves understanding how innovative technology, including automation involving machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), will impact the profession. They include risk assessment, resource management, routine tasks, communication and collaboration, and coaching.
Artificial intelligence systems, if programmed with the right information, can use predictive analytics to determine potential risks during any phase of a project. This can include missing deadlines, cost overruns, and scope creep (activities that veer outside the parameters of a project). This allows project teams to know about potential problems or failures before they happen.
Supply chain managers already use software to keep track of inventory and the movement of goods from supplier to customer. This allows them to better manage inventory and other challenges along a supply route. The same concept holds true for project managers. Automated software allows them to consider where to allocate resources for a project, from supplies to personnel. This is key to improving the critical planning phase, giving project managers even more information on how to develop and deploy resources for a project before it even begins.
With its emphasis on efficient process and timely completion of work, one facet of project management that involves a great deal of time and effort is tracking time on each task, creating progress reports for the team and management, and continuously updating estimates on both the time and money spent on a project. Automated programs can handle most of these tasks, which frees time for people to focus on other areas. Automation is also increasing the accuracy of reports and reducing wasted time spent in meetings.
Communication and Collaboration
Communication is one of the most challenging tasks on any project. Keeping everyone on the same page can get complicated, especially when project team members come from various areas of an organization.
Innovative social platforms allow for updating all team members, no matter where they are, on the status of tasks within a project. These types of technology tools will increase collaboration between team members, something every project manager aims to achieve.
Project managers once served as a kind of (hopefully) benevolent monarch over a project. They worked on controlling every project task and the people handling those tasks. But innovation in technology has allowed duties once fretted over by project managers to become automated. These advancements in technology are freeing managers up to coach team members and offer support where needed.
With technology handling many of these areas, project management may shift to more of a coaching and coordinating role. That is a good thing for both the project manager and team members. Organizations also will benefit as project teams become increasingly efficient.
With the predicted demand for project managers rising, those with a graduate-level education in project management will have positioned themselves for a rewarding career.