Project Management

Where Did All the Project Managers Go?

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guide—Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites www.LeadingAnswers.com about leading teams and www.PMillustrated.com, which teaches project management for visual learners.

“Software is eating the world,” claimed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen in his 2011 Wall Street Journal article. Seven years on, the trend continues—and project managers are also on the menu. The next generation of PMs face new challenges—but also new opportunities—as organizations undergo a major transformation.

Software is becoming omnipresent. It is embedded in and integral to all industries—not just technology companies (like Google and Apple), but every sector is being disrupted by software including retail (Amazon), banking (PayPal, crypto currencies), transportation (Tesla, Uber) and travel (Airbnb).

As a project manager, you may say, “Great, just think of all those IT projects that will need project managers!” Well, that’s where things get interesting. First, today’s software teams don’t respond well to being “managed”; that’s old-school command-and-control thinking (along with Gantt charts and calling people “resources”). Instead, they are led, empowered and supported by servant leaders. Next, the idea of a “project” with a defined end point is dissolving, too.

As organizations realize their software systems provide competitive advantage, stopping development equates to an end to innovation or competing. When organizations become more software driven,…


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