Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

Interest In Project Management Is On The Rise

~ By Kevin Archbold

PMI logo

Over the past ten years, the US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) has grown from around 25,000 members to almost 250,000. This ten-fold increase represents a marked departure from the steady but slow growth of the organisation since its creation in 1969 and is a significant indication of an increased interest in project management.

Certainly the institute has played a vital role in its own growth. PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) has become a standard in many industries, along with its Project Management Professional certification. International marketing has also created a global membership, versus a primarily US-based membership ten years ago.

However there are other, more broad-based changes that have also contributed to PMI's growth. These include:

  • Recognition that many of us are managing projects, whether or not we have the title of project manager, and that project management skills are beneficial for a wide range of employees. Similarly, there has been a wider recognition that projects in all industries benefit from project management, not just the traditional industries of engineering, construction, and more recently IT.
  • As global competition has increased in many areas over the past decade, so have customer expectations. This has meant larger and more complex projects that need to be managed more efficiently to remain competitive.
  • With the advent of global competition, and therefore a global supply-chain, so outsourcing has become more popular on projects. This may be more cost-effective, but it also increases project risk (as multiple organisations in separate locations with different processes and cultures strive to work together), thus requiring better project managers.
  • With more potential suppliers around the world, and a desire to reduce their project risk, major manufacturing OEMs are moving away from time and material contracts, to fixed-price contracts. Fixed priced contracts require more aggressive project management on the part of tier-one vendors, and increase the likelihood they will subsequently subcontract to tier-two vendors on a fixed price basis. This quickly cascades an increased need for project management down the supply chain.
  • As organisations strive to complete, so they attempt to standardise their processes and make them as repeatable as possible. Project management is often one of the processes that is standardised and spread across the organisation, not only because it's an example of best practice, but also because it helps to ensure that other best practices are followed.
  • Those organisations that are competing successfully are growing and often very quickly. They're bringing large numbers of employees into an organisation to work on projects, often in multiple locations, which presents significant challenges that need to be well managed. But even those organisations that are not aggressively growing, are striving to be more productive with the resources they have available; requiring better project management.
  • The final reason is that there are simply more projects to be done today than a decade ago. Each new technological innovation requires more R&D projects, more product design projects, more manufacturing design projects, and so on. This is in addition to maintaining and upgrading existing facilities, products, and technologies, and it's happening in an environment where each product needs to be brought to market more quickly, and for less money.

There is little evidence to suggest any of these factors will be going away any time soon, and so we should expect this increased interest in project management to continue during the next decade. If you haven't already, you might want to consider taking on one more project within your organisation; that of implementing project management.

Kevin Archbold, PMP has nearly 20 years of project management experience working with large and small organisations in a variety of industries, including automotive, nuclear, telecommunications, trucking, IT, recruiting, HR, and government. He owns a project management services company, Key Consulting, Inc. with offices in Seattle, WA and Tucson, AZ. He has presented at both the local and national level within the Project Management Institute (PMI), and is the winner of a local chapter PMI Project of the Year Award.


Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment

(never displayed)

Enter the word hand backwards.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Avoiding Project Management Pitfalls

Foot about to tread on a banana skin

Common pitfalls that projects experience and some tips to help make a project more successful and avoid the potential for chaos.

Project Planning in a Nutshell

Gantt chart

This article provides an overview of why it is important to prepare a project plan. It also shows what elements a good project plan will include.

Building Your Project Team

Friendly successful project team of young executives

How should you set about choosing people for your project and forming them into a well functioning project team?

Effort Estimating: A Primer

Effort time money blue dice representing the ingredients for business

Good estimating is a skill like any other, it can be developed with practice to the point where it may seem like magic to the uninformed.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.

Latest Comments

John McDonnell commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Sun 29 November 10:01am

Duncan commented on…
- Thu 26 November 10:39am

Joseph commented on…
- Wed 25 November 6:06am

Latest tweets

Project Smart Newsletter - Knowing When to Call it Quits #pmot #projectsmart about 15 hours ago

10 Qualities of Successful Business Partners Are you business partnering or business pandering? #projectsmart about 1 day ago

Knowing When to Call it Quits (and the 3-Step Approach for Doing It Right) #pmot #projectsmart about 1 day ago