There is seemingly no shortage of companies looking for or claiming to use project managers. It doesn't matter what the industry or department is— marketing, finance, information technology, human resources—everyone seems to be a project manager.
The demand for project managers in the US alone is estimated to grow to by almost 700,000 by up to 6.1 million jobs by 2020 according to a Talent Gap report by The Project Management Institute (PMI). By 2020 it is anticipated that "15.7 million new project management roles will be created. The profession is expected to grow by US $6.61 trillion."
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Given the overall size of the workforce, is the term "project manager" being overused. And if so, how does this impact the value of the project management profession? The answers may be simpler than you think.
We all manage one project or another in an informal or formal setting. However, managing tasks and various aspects of a project like timing, scheduling, resources, communications and so forth does not imply that you are a project manager in the professional sense. Further, many informal activities simply do not require the tacit knowledge and elevated skill levels of a trained and certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Certified Project Managers—the gold standard
If an employee is not a formally trained and certified PMP, yet manages projects in the workplace they are a project manager—just not a project management professional. This matters because a certified PMP has the high-level and granular skill set that training and formal certification provides.
Here are some key statistics from the PMI report that sheds some insight into why the term "project manager" may be overused and why project managers may be overlooked in favor of a formally trained and certified Project Management Professional.
- 93% of organizations report using standardized project management practices.
- 72% of project management office (PMO) leaders feel certification is very relevant for mid-career project managers.
- Organizations that undervalue project management as a strategic competency for driving change report an average of 50% more outright project failure.
- 9.9% of every dollar is wasted due to poor project performance.
- Only 41% of organizations with an Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) report that it is highly aligned to an organization's strategy.
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Organizations increasingly look to PMPs and other certified project professionals to sufficiently reduce low-performance rates and achieve higher success rates. PMPs and other certified project professionals have the technical project management skills, leadership capabilities, strategic mindset, communication, and team building skills needed to drive measurable results.
So, is the project manager title overused? Firms certainly seem to use the term more and more often, potentially where it is not the most appropriate. And with more people claiming to be project managers, certainly, there is some overselling that takes place.
Having said this, in these disruptive times where organizations are looking to control scope, grow value delivery capabilities, and achieve better results, certified project professionals have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications and skills in a meaningful way.
- 10 signs you may not be cut out for project management (TechRepublic)
- 20 project management books to read now (TechRepublic)
- 5 things to know about remote project management (TechRepublic)
- 10 questions project managers should ask employers during a job interview (TechRepublic)
- Project manager jobs: What employers are really looking for (ZDNet)
- 8 project management skills that will help you stand out (ZDNet)
Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada. To find out more about Moira, go to www.pmworld360.com and www.leadhershipgroup.com.