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Project Management In 10 Years - 2022 Scholarship Essay

Posted by Ken Nguyen on Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Thank you to all of the students who submitted essays for our 2022 Project Management Scholarship. The theme this year was "Where do you see Project Management in 10 years?" Congratulations to Ken Nguyen, whose winning essay we are proud to publish below.

The past few years have brought about unprecedented changes across the globe. No one could have predicted the pandemic and the seismic shifts that followed. Various trends emerged and shook the project management industry. A prime example was the acceleration of the digital transformation. The ubiquitous transformation caused many projects to change, become delayed, or get canceled. Project managers faced novel challenges as their teams became remote[1].

When looking at the next decade, experts see the rise of six other trends. These trends have the potential to transform the industry.

1) Contracting and outsourcing are becoming more common.

Many companies today use contractors for a variety of positions. It does not make sense to hire new employees for short term roles or very specialized skills. Instead, project managers can hire contractors for their expertise in specific projects. This trend will continue as more people work remotely. In 2021, there was a high demand for companies to outsource IT services[2]. Skills such as cloud computing and cybersecurity were at the top of the list.

The demand for qualified talents, especially in the tech industry, will only expand. The shortage of qualified workers hampered the adoption of emerging technologies[3].

Companies have to address this need in the short term to meet client demands. Falling back on hiring contractors and outsourcing can relieve these immediate issues. Project managers may find themselves working with contractors more often than in-house teams.

2) Companies are sticking with industry standards over untested technologies.

When describing their products and services, companies love to use buzzwords. The current buzzwords are AI, blockchain, cloud computing, IoT, etc. However, few companies have the expertise to effectively implement these technologies. According to Google Trends, interest in AI technology peaked in the early 2010s. It was not until 2020 that AI became widely adopted[4].

Companies also have limited resources available. They cannot test most technologies available on the market. It's also not easy to compare those options without domain knowledge. Most projects are going to use proven and reliable industry standards. It’s the same reason why many companies default to using JIRA for managing their projects.

3) Project managers can boost their productivity by integrating with AI.

The integration with AI is already underway for many industries. Many consumers are familiar with virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa. In software development, Github Copilot is an AI that can help programmers write code faster[5]. Soon, project managers will enjoy a similar level of help from AI technology.

Project managers are currently spending more than half their time on administrative tasks[6]. AI can help handle these low level tasks. Project managers will then be free to focus on strategy and implementation details. Project estimation is another task that AI could assist project managers with. Project managers frequently have to make trade-offs necessary to deliver the projects on time. An AI is capable of incorporating all details into the estimation. It is also not affected by social or psychological factors. Many possibilities exist with AI, but it will take time for its adoption.

4) Workers are covering more roles than before.

The emphasis on optimal productivity can burden workers with more responsibilities. More than two-thirds of remote workers are working longer hours[7]. Job postings are also getting longer and often cover more than one position. Some positions often ask developers to have completely different and unrelated skills. Other entry positions ask for more than five years of experience.

Workers are driven to keep learning on and off the job. It's often the only way to maintain and update their skills[8]. They have to go above and beyond to raise their marketability. The ability to multitask is another valuable skill that almost every job desires. Companies are more likely to hire candidates who bring more to the table for their projects.

5) Projects are getting more complex over time.

As projects grow larger, they become more complex. A complex project carries uncertainty in its scope and constraints[9]. Globalization is driving the need for companies to compete in the global market. Companies that want to thrive will have to cope with this complexity. A key characteristic of future project management will be how companies manage multinational teams.

With complex projects, each team will be accountable for a specific project component. Putting all of these different components together requires clear deadlines and requirements. This is similar to how a construction project is being done. A waterfall methodology is preferable over Agile in this case. The challenge for project managers is selecting the right methodology without biases.

6) China and India are gaining ground in project management.

As new challenges emerge, project management has to evolve accordingly. Many of those challenges are happening in developing countries like China and India. Despite their developing status, China is 2nd and India is the 5th largest GDP in the world. They have invested in multiples industries as their economies grew. There are millions of job openings related to project management in those countries[10].

Building a talent pool to fill those projects is going to be a challenge. The shift in the importance of Asia is already happening. Skilled professionals can take advantage of the growth opportunities. They can select employers based on the type of project, region, and salary offered. Regional companies will need to offer competitive compensation packages to hire and retain talents.

These six trends have the potential to disrupt the project management industry. There are also various other trends that might emerge over time. Companies would benefit from an analysis of current trends. This is necessary to avoid falling behind. It's important to note that only a few trends will become reality. Investing heavily on the wrong trends can create setbacks.

At the same time, companies are best prepared by investing in their workforce. It’s easier for good teams to catch up to current practices than companies to reactively hire talents. Companies without qualified employees will have to go on a hiring spree to catch up. The reality is that 70% of all projects fail[11]. Having the right people in place can lessen the impact of failed projects and help teams learn from them.

[1] "Digital Transformation: Why It Matters | Projectified - PMI." 13 Oct. 2017, https://www.pmi.org/learning/training-development/projectified-podcast/podcasts/digital-transformation-why-it-matters. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.

[2] "5 IT Outsourcing Trends For 2021+ That You Do Not Want To Miss." 18 Aug. 2021, https://groovetechnology.com/blog/5-it-outsourcing-trends/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.

[3] "Gartner Survey Reveals Talent Shortages as Biggest Barrier to ...." 13 Sep. 2021, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-09-13-gartner-survey-reveals-talent-shortages-as-biggest-barrier-to-emerging-technologies-adoption. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.

[4] "AI Adoption Skyrocketed Over the Last 18 Months - Harvard ...." 27 Sep. 2021, https://hbr.org/2021/09/ai-adoption-skyrocketed-over-the-last-18-months. Accessed 29 Mar. 2022.

[5] "GitHub Copilot · Your AI pair programmer." https://copilot.github.com/. Accessed 17 Mar. 2022.

[6] "AI In Project Management - Forbes." 30 Jul. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/07/30/ai-in-project-management/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

[7] "Remote Employees Are Working Longer Than Before - SHRM." 16 Dec. 2020, https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-news/pages/remote-employees-are-working-longer-than-before.aspx. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

[8] "Experts on the Future of Work, Jobs Training and Skills." 3 May. 2017, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/05/03/the-future-of-jobs-and-jobs-training/. Accessed 19 Mar. 2022.

[9] "Complex Project Management—What it is, and What Success Looks ...." 15 Aug. 2018, https://www.business2community.com/strategy/complex-project-management-what-it-is-and-what-success-looks-like-02107747. Accessed 20 Mar. 2022.

[10] "Talent Gap 2021 Report | PMI." https://www.pmi.org/learning/careers/talent-gap-2021. Accessed 20 Mar. 2022.

[11] "Project Management Statistics 2022: New Trends | TeamStage." https://teamstage.io/project-management-statistics/. Accessed 21 Mar. 2022.


Topics: Aerospace & Defense, Energy, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Engineering & Construction, Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Technology, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Government & Public Sector, Microsoft EPM, Enterprise Project Management (EPM), Recent Articles

Ken Nguyen

By Ken Nguyen

Ken is the recipient of Pinnacle's 2022 Project Management scholarship. He is a current graduate student in Data Analytics at Western Governors University. He is passionate about using analytics to answer interesting questions. His focus is on gathering and analyzing data coming from Asia. He believes that following the patterns of this region will be the key to predicting future changes. In his spare time, he struggles with learning to play the guitar.

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