3 Trends that PMs Should Watch

Carleton is an Associate Director Portfolio Management in Queensland, Australia.

Project managers like to joke that change is the only constant in our business. It is the kind of joke told with the unease that accompanies a kernel of truth. If you had told me 20 years ago that I could ask my phone to tell me where the nearest coffee shop was and expect the phone to respond with spoken directions, I would not have believed you. What will we be using 20 years from now? What will project management be like? Will we still be the driving force behind projects, or will we have been reduced to a smart app?

The future is a blank canvas, but trends today--in automation, aging populations and the fundamental interconnection of people and things--point to outcomes being possible, some say even likely. Here are three trends we are likely to see over the next two decades.

1. Project management will focus on soft skills. Project managers start their careers learning the hard, quantitative skills--cost, quality, schedule. These are skills with hard numbers and strong tools. Later, and more by experience, project managers add the soft skills such as problem solving, conflict resolution, motivation and leadership These soft skills are likely to become increasingly relevant as automation takes the bulk of the workload required for hard skills.

In the early days of project management, the scheduler was a common role. This role all but disappeared as software …

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