Project Management

What Does the Future Hold for Project Leaders?

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By Wanda Curlee

Some believe that project management needs a complete overhaul. Whether you agree or not, there’s no doubt that technology is driving radical change. As I have mentioned in different blogs and presentations, I believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will have a large impact on the next generation of project managers. Thanks to this new tech, project managers will be adding more value, versus completing mundane tasks.

Technology will do the mundane for the project, program or portfolio manager. So, what will be left for the practitioner to do? For starters, the project manager will be able to focus on the many things put to the side because they’re doing their best to keep stakeholders informed and complete routine tasks, as well as trying to maintain their sanity.

Targeting the Mundane
So, what constitutes a mundane task? This includes creating schedules, communications, status reports and presentations, along with tracking down resources, reviewing issues, assessing problems and reviewing risks, among other jobs. These things need to be done and many times, the project manager needs help doing them. But leadership may not understand the need for this assistance, or the resources may not be available.

The good news is, AI and IoT will take on these mundane tasks. Technologies will be able to review a schedule and track down those who haven’t inputted their time. The schedule options, along with recommendations, will be provided to the project manager.

And that’s not all: Tech can also assist with drafting presentations and status reports. The project manager can then add the final touches. Potential risks can be assessed and the probability and cost to the project can be determined.

Impact on the Project Manager
What does this leave the project manager to do? Plenty, of course. They need to determine what resources are needed and negotiate with functional managers, human resources and the project management office if one exists. Human resources are one of the biggest headaches for a project manager.

They’ll also have to deal with problem resources already on the project. This may mean less qualified individuals who aren’t able to do the work (through no fault of their own), those who are unhappy on the project and are projecting the feeling throughout the project, and those who are lazy, among other things. The project manager may need to counsel these individuals or may even have to fire them, which, of course, creates risk for the project.

In addition, the project manager may have to deal with subcontractors and vendors. More attention can be paid to higher-level risks and preventing or minimizing their occurrence.

Integration management is also an area of focus. There are project managers who put this aside because they feel if the schedule is all right, the project integration is handled. This is not true. There may be individuals who are not sharing their information promptly, or those who are producing a major milestone but have a family emergency. Without them, no one else can finish a milestone that’s critical to the remainder of the project.

Predicting the future is hard. Time will tell how technology will be used in project, program and portfolio management. Technology should not be considered a silver bullet, but a means to provide help with everyday tasks, allowing leaders to devote time to value-added work.

What do you think: How will future technology change the way we manage projects?

Posted by Wanda Curlee on: January 17, 2020 04:28 PM | Permalink

Comments (18)

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Thank you for sharing! Technology will help to release project leaders from mundane tasks but the booming and the short life cycle of new technologies also cause headache and more challenges. In addition, I do agree with you that "Human resources are one of the biggest headaches for a project manager".

Interesting perspectives thanks for sharing!

Dear Wanda
Interesting this reflection on the theme: "What Does the Future Hold for Project Leaders?"
Thanks for sharing

Important point to remember: "Technology should not be considered a silver bullet, but a means to provide help with everyday tasks, allowing leaders to devote time to value-added work"

It is difficult to predict the future (I won't even use crystal balls :-)), but everything indicates that technology can replace project managers in carrying out some of the activities they currently carry out.

Interesting...maybe early in our lifetimes we couldn't think of global teams and the current efficiency in communications technology and how it aids the communication process, or the dss software or even the advances in pmis, so many of these tools do make things easier...but the output is almost always dependant on the quality of the input. So while I agree that the advances in technology will perhaps make things faster, and smoother, we will always need intelligent decisions in what is input. I have seen too many good technologies used badly to say we will still need good PM skills in the future...only the tools may change.

Hello Nguyen - Thanks for your comment. I agree that technology is changing fast. Adapting will be the means to be a great project manager.

Hello Luis - Thanks for your comments.

Great insights, Wanda. These are certainly appreciated.

Availability and accessibility of information will hopefully increase. As the technology footprint spreads, the excuses should be pushed out.

Hello Wanda: It will be interesting to see how project management changes in the future. One thing it won't change is the need to communicate clearly with all our stakeholders. The tools may change, but the importance of working with others to make things happen won't change.

Hello Amjad - Thanks for your comment. I totally agree with you that the human element must always be present.

Hello Andrew - Thanks for your comments.

Hello Lori - Thanks for your comment. Communication is vitally important. Technology will help with communication but it is still up to the project manager to make sure it happens correctly.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.

interesting one, thank you for sharing.

I liked the perspectives. Thanks for sharing.

Hello Wanda, very interesting.Whatever technologies, people skills (culture awareness, communication, collaboration) will always be required.

Hello Yasmina - Thank you for your comments. It is definitely always up to the people.

Thanks for sharing

As an upcoming project manager, the future is a pleasant sight to behold. A.I and technology would not cannibalize the profession but make things easier for an already super demanding role.

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