Two tectonic shifts in the business world made project management an obvious career choice for me back in the late 1980s:
1. Just as I was about to enter middle management, 25 percent of such jobs were eliminated from the economy.
2. Around that same time, organizations began to reorient their thinking and started to define and organize themselves as project-based businesses.
Explicitly in response to these two phenomena, I consciously made the decision to leave line management and enter project management. The writing on the wall is certainly clear in retrospect. And honestly, it was pretty clear at the time as well.
Now, I see three things happening that give me pause. They're clearly things I need to react to, but unlike last time, I don't know how.
1. Lower-level IT jobs continue to go to emerging markets. As the people who took these jobs 10 years ago mature in their roles, more of them are becoming project managers. They're close to their teams and to the work -- even if the sponsors are elsewhere.
2. The way project work gets done, particularly in the IT industry, seems to be undergoing an important shift. I really don't know what's underneath it, but I do know that PMI has embraced Agile development, even offering an Agile certification. Is this the direction in which IT is headed?
3. As we emerge from the economic crisis, every indication is that the way the global economy will function in the future will be very different. We keep hearing of a "new normal."
To me, these three things spell change, and it seems to me I ought to be making some changes as well, but I'm not sure what they are yet.
I'd be interested to hear and learn from you. What are your observations? What are your plans?
Editor's note: In Project Management Circa 2025, published in 2009, editors David I. Cleland, PhD, PMI Fellow, Bopaya Bidanda, PhD, and 39 experts from around the world share their insights on the future of the project management profession.