What is the future of project management? What is the best way to gain project management knowledge and competence? Are there opportunities for PM skills in business? These and other questions are the subject of this post.
This blog post is in response to a personal request from students at a UK university; Coventry University. They wanted to publish awareness articles in their local university magazine and requested the use of some of our materials in additions to a list of questions, which we answer below.
The Students Aim
“The aim of our magazine is to promote Project management as careers for the under / post graduate students also to introduce project management professionals and how we learn from them , and as part of our magazine content we need to perform an interview with project management professionals to talk about their experience.” Mr. Fathi Elayeb.
How do you see the future of PM field?
The project management field will continue to grow, but it has to segment with Specialized PROJECT MANAGEMENT for various industries. At this time, project management learning is mostly generic but one size does not fit all. There are many standard features in project management, and they are universal (geography and sector-wide). However, there are needs for specialization. Project management in the petroleum industry is somewhat different from project management in technology or healthcare.
What is the best way of obtaining the PM knowledge?
You have to distinguish between knowledge and competence.
Knowledge is obtained from reading, universities, training, and even from colleagues through mentoring and coaching.
However, competence is a different story. Competence is about demonstrating the successful application of knowledge and skills. Project management is an applied domain, meaning to become competent one need knowledge, experience, skills, and the ability to apply, on real projects, to deliver success and realize the benefits.
Does PM require special skills?
PM (project management) consists of numerous special skills.
To apply project management effectively, project managers and other project management personnel require wide perspective, seeing the whole view instead of narrow technical focus. It also requires people skills, such as motivation, leadership, communication, and negotiation.
Finally, other critical skills are for the people to be organized and be able to differentiate between technical / functional work and project management work.
How do you see the business opportunities in PM field?
Despite the project management growth, the growth is not uniform from one country to another. Even within the same country, project management maturity varies from one industry to another. Further, even in some companies, some departments embrace project management whereas others do not.
Therefore, opportunities are there but require awareness in most cases.
Do you encourage students to undertake PM as their course?
This is hard to answer, and we have to subdivide the question into two scenarios.
If you mean by “PM as their course”, as a major field of study. I cannot answer properly because it depends on the person interest, passion, and personality.
However, regardless what major you are in, I do encourage everyone to take a basic course in project management. A course that teaches real life project management skills, not a scheduling course or a certification course.
What is your advice to PM students?
To answer this question, we assume that these are students majoring in project management. My advice to them is to gain as much knowledge as possible. Do not limit your learning to course work. If your coursework is mostly theory and not much opportunity in the university to practice, get internships or even volunteer with organizations that appreciate project management.
Years ago, I learned to discover your genius (excel) you must have three components; the first two are interrelated:
- Be good at what you do (competence),
- Love what you do (passion),
- Work in an organization where project management is a core function (environment and opportunity).