COVID-19 has brought about a lot of change; however, some things remain constant. In a more competitive environment, with constant change and fewer available resources, the skill of project management is now as important as ever. Projects must be more successful and deliver on their promised value to help organizations realize their strategies. One of the unique benefits of employing good project management is innovation, which increases projects' value.
"80 percent of organizations that encourage project leaders to expand their role to deliver greater value have invested in at least one innovative idea in the past five years—compared to just 54 percent of organizations who don't. This innovation push will continue in the years to come: Three in four project leaders say their organizations will invest more to promote project management innovation over the next 10 years."
"The Innovation Imperative" PMI, 2020.
This means that there has never been a better time to add project management as a skill or consider a project management career for today's workforce. It is also essential for organizations to invest in their employees to gain these new skills. And to meet the challenges, this training and investment need to start now.
Not a single skill, project management is a collection of skills, both technical and soft, which enable practitioners to increase project success. Since 2008, various studies by the Project Management Institute and others have shown there is a growing shortage of project managers to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for projects. It is not a role that is easy to achieve upon graduation. The path to a primary degree in project management is a minimum of four years. PMP® certification is a 3-6 year (or more) journey. Therefore, we can estimate that the time to become a proficient practitioner is somewhere between 6 and 10 years.
While the shortage of project managers is in progress, project management standards have not stood still. When first published in 1996, the Project Management Body of Knowledge – First Edition was fewer than 200 pages. In under 24 years, the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Sixth Edition and the accompanying Agile Practice Guide are over 800 pages. In other words, project management knowledge has quadrupled!
But unfortunately, there has not been a similar shift in education and training. It still takes four years to earn a basic degree in project management and 3-6 years to achieve certification. Similarly, extended studies programs have tended to hover around 35 hours as this meets the educational need for certification. Education and training programs are now attempting to cram four times the knowledge in the same amount of time. While this may appear to be added value, research shows the average student's retention is likely to wane with force-fed knowledge.
There is a better approach. Start simple, start with the basics. Provide aspiring and new project managers with just enough knowledge to be successful in their first projects. Continue to build on that knowledge in manageable "chunks" rather than in courses that attempt to cover all project management in a few hours. As their knowledge grows, offer them opportunities to work with and shadow more senior, experienced professionals. But one thing is most important – get started on this now to secure your future in the workforce or the success of your organization.
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a respected project management consultant and a proven and inspirational presence in the world of Virtual Team Management. He not only heads the prestigious Scatterwork, the Project & Process Consultancy, but is also a motivational speaker who speaks the international language of effective project management!
Scatterwork consulting and training is a perfect complement to PPC Group's books and training. Check out their free Project Costs Estimator to improve your schedule and ROI.
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