Project Management

Reflections on 2018 and some scenarios for 2019 and beyond

From the Leadership in Project Management Blog
This blog is meant to elaborate around leadership in the context of project management and discuss questions like What is leadership? What kind of leadership does project management need? Which role do values and ethics play in PM leadership? Examples of good practices in leadership. How to become a PM leader? My comments in this blog represent my own personal view and do not constitute any statement or information on behalf of PMI or the PMI Board of Directors.

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Reflections on 2018 and some scenarios for 2019 and beyond

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Some things that happened in project management in 2018

Project management has continued to grow and blossom in 2018, some examples:

1. The new PMI PMBoK Guide edition 6 is now a base for the PMP exam,

2. PMP certifications grew beyond 800 thousand.

3. In UK, APM achieved the charter status and starts to issue chartered project management certifications.

4. The new ISO 21508 standard on earned value was published. 

5. PMI’s economic snapshot states that economic instability and political risks lead the threat list by 36% and 23%, followed by disruptive technologies with only 10%

Hot topics in project management in 2018

Volunteering will grow as it is a way to practice leadership in a safe environment. A German survey states that unpaid work amounts to 39% of Germany‘s GDP in 2013. Society would not function without volunteers and economics is not all important. Volunteering in project management is special, in such as most professionals have at least a 2nd skill specialty, e.g. in construction, SW development or engineering. So - if you look for any skill, you can probably find it in the project management community. And before you try open-heart surgery in your business you might want to practice in a more forgiving and positive environment.

Training for a project management job continues to change. Still universities offer 3-4 years of education and companies send employees to classroom trainings for weeks. Malcom Gladwell’s 10000 hour rule is still followed, though disputed - it says you need 10000 hours until you become a professional expert in something.

On the other hand, and trying to accommodate VUCA, many more certifications which can be taken after a few days of study enter the market, and micro badges confirm that you passed a knowledge test, on-demand online training is possible due to globalization of knowledge.

But would you trust a pilot with only such credentials? Training for a job includes not only (explicit) knowledge transfer, but also practice (fail and learn) and obtaining tacit knowledge.

Both long term and short term training will be necessary, resulting in hybrid training strategies.

Global trend in project management in 2019

2019 is the 50th anniversary of PMI:
We will see a lot of new things from PMI, as the new strategy is further implemented and bears fruits. We will also see celebrations starting with the global volunteers planning session in January and culminating at the global conference in October. PMI will become more and more agile and customer-centric. One result is that PMI is striving to support project managers along their career beyond the PMP. The new online PM Edge offering is helping anybody to learn the language of project management and as such is an entry level to a career (try it!).

Project managers are here to stay: Some guesstimates say that almost 90 million people will work in roles oriented with project management in 2027. Still, with then 8 billion people on the globe, it is only a small group that handles then almost 50% of global budgets. With quick changes the number projects will increase to handle these changes.

Project management will continue to evolve in an ever quicker changing world. With the increased speed of changes, it is more difficult to trust in our projections, like what kind of car will be needed in 5 years, which size of airport do we plan for to open in 3 years, what app do we prefer to buy daily food? Agile and design thinking do not provide answers for WHAT we will get, they rather give us certainty in the ways HOW to reach the yet unknown what (and to adapt to changes along the journey). To be able to adapt, you need to develop resilience, otherwise one of these unexpected changes might kill your project or your career.

Besides the short and middle term political and economic threats, many more areas are changing in the long term, technology, AI, gaming, human influencing techniques to name a few. Project management will continue to provide certainty for all situations. As professionals we will do that for our sponsors, clients, teams.

Panta Rhei - be prepared to swim.

Posted on: December 17, 2018 10:01 AM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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Thomas - Thank You for sharing this great post. I have two questions:

1- What is the PM Edge ? Never heard of this offering before ?
2- What is the global volunteers planning session ? Haven’t heard of this either

Thanks !

Thomas - Thanks for collecting all those valued points together

Rami, Here is a link for PM edge
Agile, waterfall, hybrid? The right approach came make or break a project. And the better you’re able to tailor the approach to the project’s needs, the more efficient everything will run


the new tool can be found here
It is meant for new entrants to the profession to help them understand our language. Still in testing mode, feedback welcome.

The PMI global volunteer leaders (MAGs, mentors, etc) meet once a year for planning/alignment.

Hope this helps.

It does help, thanks Thomas and Riyadh.

Is the PMI global volunteer leaders meeting by invitation ?

Thanks for sharing and thanks for sharing the link to I really like the study cards.

Thanks Thomas on the reflections and the trends for 2019. Project management is here to stay, why not leverage the trends mentioned "technology, AI, gaming, human influencing techniques" in project management for accuracy and efficiency ?

Thanks, Thomas. Great post.
Was part of the Edge POC community feedback pilot. Great opportunity and great product. PMI is actively looking to be a dynamic player in the future of our profession.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for sharing. Great insights.
What is PMI volunteers meeting to be held in January? Please share further information


PMI gathers volunteer leaders once a year for planning/alignment, this is called Leadership Institute Volunteer Planning Meeting (LIVPM). Invited are Member Advisory Groups (MAGs), Board Support Committees and Regional Mentors.

And then there are Leadership Institute Meetings (LIM) just before the congresses in AP, EMEA and NA, where Chapter Leaders are invited.

So it pays to volunteer, and extend your network globally.
Set your own profile and an interest alert in PMI's volunteer mgmt system VRMS:

Dear Thomas
Interesting perspective on the topic: "Reflections on 2018 and some scenarios for 2019 and beyond"
Thanks for sharing

I continue to practice swimming :-)

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