Role of Project Management in the Last Decade - Observations

Posted by Deniz A. Johnson, MBA

on 6 February 2015

Within the past ten years, global changes have radically impacted the role and focus of project management. 

Around 2004-2005, companies in US and Europe were worried about the effects of outsourcing as well as theft of intellectual property and its effects.

Some companies turned to project management in order to increase efficiencies, lower costs and build competencies in their work force.

Other companies turned to project management in order to decrease the time to market of their innovations.  Therefore leading to longer market time before their innovations were copied.

Then the focus shifted from simply managing projects to addressing complex, large-scale initiatives, and emphasis on program and portfolio management began to grow.  While these disciplines existed before, there was a wide range of acceptance of using project, program and portfolio management as tools for efficiency.

In 2008, during the global economic crisis, the focus shifted to adaptability to change.  This time, many companies turned to project management and its similar disciplines as tools for risk management and adaptability.

Since the economic downturn, project managers (PMs) have been expected to take on more differentiating roles.  One of the observations is that PMs are more involved in building repeatable processes, therefore, more and more including process management in their tool belt.

Currently, as more and more data is being digitized, there are a few concerns such as how the all data is used, stored, as well as the susceptibility to data breaches.

The role has again shifted to managing the risk.  Additionally, Environmental Sustainability – “Green” practices have become more of a priority. PMs are focused on building sustainable and repeatable processes as they are approaching their projects and deliverables.

One common theme among the years – our world is changing so our profession is changing.

Regardless of the changes, the fact that project management and associated disciplines such as program and portfolio management are crucial tools and skills for organizational success.