Where Are We Going? The Outlook For PMs

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

The start of a new year is always a great time to take stock of where we are and figure out where we’re going. Every year, however, this cycle seems to move a little bit faster and the next year rushes up on us all too quickly.
So where are we as project managers, and where are we going? In terms of our current status, there is no question that there has been a significant increase in the awareness of project management and the value placed on the role. Basic metrics tell a positive story: The number of PMPs certified by PMI crossed the 200,000 threshold in August 2006, and overall membership numbers are also well above the 200,000 mark.
Anecdotally, more organizations are placing an emphasis on improving project management capabilities in both the public and private sectors, and there is growing visibility of the project management title within organization position descriptions.
Behind the rosy outlook, however, there is some room for caution. Much of the growth in certifications and particularly membership in PMI is from outside of North America, and especially in the Far East. From the end of 2004 through the end of 2005, the number of PMP certifications nearly doubled (from 102,000 to 184,000) while the membership grew 40 percent, from 149,000 to well over 208,000.
2006 still saw growth, but at nowhere near these rates--membership is up only 5 percent as of …

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