Project Management has continued to evolve over the past years, becoming more and more relevant in both organizations and governments around the world. There are a few developments which I believe will become mainstream in 2016.
I recently talked about this in Portfolio Manager with PMI Today. My views are based on my own experience as Head of Portfolio and Project Management Office in three leading multinationals, as well as from the dozens of workshops I facilitated with top executives and senior governmental officials around the world.
PMI Today: In 2016, what topics do you think are most important to project managers and the organizations where they work?
Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez: I believe 2016 is going to be a year in which our profession, project management, will be confirmed as one of the core competencies that any organization will need to have in order to successfully implement their strategy. Project management will be one of the hot topics, not only in the business world, but also in the public sector.
In 2016 I see four related topics as most important:
- Organizations will transform (or set-up) their project management office (PMO) into strategic portfolio management offices that will work closely together with the executive teams in the prioritization, selection and execution of the key strategic initiatives. As I explained in a November 2015 PMI Today article, one of our key roles will be to enhance the strategic dialogue and facilitate the decision-making process at the top of organizations.
- Professional project managers with good business acumen will continue to be in high demand by organizations around the world looking to execute strategic initiatives that in most instances require having a good understanding of the business and its environment, as well as being able to work end-to-end across the different departments.
- As public sectors around the world professionalize and develop strategic visions for their countries, regions and cities, they will require the use of project management best practices to implement those visions.
- Agile approaches to project management will continue to expand as ways for organizations to deal with the speed of change and navigate through very complex and bureaucratic structures. Although many of us already apply some agile approaches that are embedded in the nature of our work as project managers, we will need to further develop in the agile area.
PMI Today: What opportunities and challenges face project managers in 2016?
Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez: The increased importance of project management in private and public sector organizations and its closer move into the strategy domain will undoubtedly offer lots of new opportunities to project managers.
To illustrate this, last year I found out that several of the world’s leading corporations, such as Nike and UPS, required project management for their corporate development and strategy manager jobs as the number one accountability and expertise. This would have been unimaginable five years ago.
The challenges will be that project managers will need to expand their knowledge and understand the key drivers of the organization they work for. As the PMI Talent TriangleTM signifies, besides technical skills, project managers will need to develop both leadership skills as well as business acumen.
In my case, this opportunity happened in 2015, when I was hired as director, head of program management office at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, without any previous experience in pharma. Being able to work cross departmentally; connect project management with the strategy of the organization; assist the top executive team to prioritize, select and execute strategic projects; having previously set up a global portfolio management office in other industries, along with my experience with PMI, were the main reasons I got the job out of a pool of 200 candidates.
PMI Today: What advice would you give to a young person just starting his or her career in project management about the value of becoming involved in PMI?
Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez: For more than a decade I have been teaching project management to MBA, masters and executive students in some of the world’s top business schools. Over the years, I have noticed a slow but steady trend: more and more of my students end up working in project management related jobs.
Linked to that increased demand for project management, they want to further pursue their development and be recognized as a professional in project management, so most of them end up taking the PMP® exam. They often ask me to explain the value of becoming member of PMI, and I reply:
- Belonging to the largest project management network, with the possibility to talk and interact with some of the most brilliant project managers as well as other young professionals;
- Having access to the world’s largest resource database in project management, ProjectManagement.com;
- Being able to contribute as a volunteer in local chapter activities, which helps build experience and develops your career as project manager.