Project managers play an increasingly important role at many companies, with demand for these professionals far outstripping supply. These professionals are in charge of specific projects within an organization, including the planning, budgeting, overseeing, and documenting for those tasks.
The year 2019 will require project managers to gain new skills, according to TechRepublic's Moira Alexander, including organizational behavior, mentoring, business skills, and agile and hybrid technologies. Several changes will also come to the project management profession as a whole, according to Eileen O'Loughlin, senior project management analyst for Capterra.
SEE: Job description: IT project manager (Tech Pro Research)
Here are three ways the project management profession will change in the next year, according to O'Loughlin.
1. Rise of the accidental project manager
As project management becomes more of a generalized skillset and less of a specialized role within IT, we can expect to see businesses continue to prioritize the real-world application of project management skills over whether or not someone is a certified project professional, O'Loughlin said. This is particularly true in SMBs, where there tend to be fewer accredited project professionals, she added.
"It's less that 'certifications are no longer important,' but more so whether or not someone is certified is no longer the most important consideration when evaluating whether that person is capable of leading teams and projects, and successfully delivering value," O'Laughlin said.
2. The project manager role will shift from a specialization to a more collective skill set
Shifting project management from a specialized role to a more generalized skillset is a response to workforces with diverse backgrounds that need to find innovative approaches to business challenges, rather than traditional textbook responses, O'Laughlin said.
In particular, "small businesses will need to embrace a growth mindset to keep pace with the rate of change brought on by digitalization," she added. "This means leadership will need to develop their own soft skills, help cultivate basic project management skills in their staff, and help motivate their staff through times of fast growth."
3. Collaboration tools will become even more important
Requests for collaboration functionality have more than doubled in the past five years among Capterra's clients, from 22% in 2014 to 61% in 2018, O'Laughlin said. This number is projected to increase in 2019, she added.
To foster strong collaboration, project teams need to create and follow a communication plan and tool hierarchy that outlines both the desired frequency of communication, and which tools should be used for which type of communication, O'Laughlin said.
"Collaboration software is most effective when used as a tool to increase transparency and accountability for project-related decisions," she added. "If just one team member doesn't use the tool for that purpose, the entire system breaks down."
To learn more about how to become a project manager, check out this TechRepublic cheat sheet.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.