Until recently, many jobs simply didn’t exist. Take a wind farm engineer, for example, or an e-learning course developer. The rapidly emerging technology creates new occupations and changes the way people work. There is also a good deal of jobs which are not new, but remain overshadowed and blended into various other occupations.
Surprisingly, project management wasn’t recognized as a distinct occupation until recent time — at least, not in the U.S. Department of Labor’s official statistics.
Things will change in 2018, when Bureau of Labor Statistics is going to recognize “Project Manager” as a separate professional occupation.
It is not a big change, rather an acknowledgement of the fact. But it indicates the growing importance of project management for the today’s economy.
Project Management Is on the Rise
The demand for project management specialists grows worldwide, according to a recent report of the Project Management Institute (PMI).
It is expected that employers will need around 87.7 million project management professionals by 2027.
Now think about the financial impact of this job market’s growth. Looking globally, an estimated GDP output of project-oriented industries will reach $20.2 trillion in the next decade, while the lack of qualified talent could result in a potential loss of billions of dollars.
It looks like project management has indeed an enormous potential in driving economic growth.
More Industries Choose a Project-Based Approach
Traditionally, certain industries have been more project-oriented than the others.
According to the above cited PMI report, the top 7 industries with a strong focus on the project model are:
- Business services
- Finance and insurance
- Oil and gas
- Information services
So we see that quite a few economically important industries are using the project-based model to run business.
The new trend is that even more new industries adopt that model. Just look at such sectors as healthcare, education, publishing or entertainment (to name just a few).
In the last 5 years, the U.S. healthcare sector showed a 17% increase in project-oriented jobs — the biggest growth rate compared to other sectors.
This high demand means that project management can prove its efficiency even in non-project-oriented industries.
More than any other sector, healthcare has to deal with fast-paced and continuous change. The tasks of managing a healthcare organization become increasingly challenging. And project management offers proven practices that help build a better organization and lead it to success.
Project Management Is Delivering More Value
While project management has already been around for some time, it is not always mature.
We’ve all heard that “Keep up work” mantra of project managers, but it wasn’t really bringing us anywhere with the lack of defined objectives, poor communication, and weak executive support.
However, recent research shows that the situation is improving.
For the first time over the last 5 years, we see a rise in the number of projects meeting their goals and completed on budget.
A growing number of organizations take up an agile approach to projects and implement a dedicated project management office (PMO) to ensure better project performance (71% today compared to 68% back in 2016).
As a result, qualified project management professionals are increasingly in demand. We also see that more organizations are giving high priority to developing technical and leadership skills of their employees (32% today compared to 29% in 2016).
As management maturity grows, more projects are delivered successfully.
What It Takes to Drive Project to Success
It takes two to tango, and it takes more than one factor to bring a project to success.
These factors might also change over time, as the project management methodology evolves.
While we cannot list all of them here, we will highlight the key drivers that help make project a success. Here they are:
- Talent — skilled and trained project management professionals are required in the leadership roles, so as to assemble the right teams and organize them into strong units.
- Benefits management — organizations need established procedures to identify expected benefits and achieve them throughout the entire project life cycle.
- An established PMO — project management offices help ensure that projects meet their original goals and are delivered on time and budget.
- Executive engagement — actively engaged senior executives bring their expertise and connections to the table, contributing to a project’s success.
- Agile approach — in a modern fast-paced environment, bloated behemoth projects are doomed to failure, so employing agile or hybrid approaches helps meet project’s goals and deliver them more efficiently.
- The right data — you need to have the right data to track and manage the project’s progress. As Ford CEO Alan Mulally famously said, “You can’t manage a secret”. For most PMs, introducing a special system for time and scope management does the trick.
This list, based on surveys of PM professionals and senior executives, provides insight into how project management model is implemented in other organizations and what others have to do to take the path of success.
It might seem that project-based approach can be used only in certain industries and as such, can bring only limited value to the economy.
This is no longer true.
More and more organizations realize the value of project management and implement its methods to drive strategic initiatives. Industries that have never been project-oriented before — such as healthcare or publishing — are suddenly finding that with project management, they can better reach their goals and save costs.
This causes a shift in strategic thinking. As a result, a demand for project management talent grows steadily, as grows the number of organizations with a PMO in their structure.
At the same time, not all senior executives and business owners fully realize the value of project management yet. There is still a long way to go, and we are going to see very exciting changes in the coming decade.