“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson is supposed to have said in 1943. Watson was the CEO of a small company called IBM. It is seldom that incorrect forecasts – with worldwide PC sales in 2016 of approx. Two hundred seventy million units¹, we can assume a false prediction – remain in the memory for so long. “Machines that are heavier than air can never fly.” “640 KB should be enough for everyone.” Or “The Internet is a gimmick for computer geeks; we see no future in it.”
Most of the forecasts do not come true and are forgotten. (Caution: Google never ignores, but that’s another topic.) If a forecast hits the mark, it is often interpreted as evidence of expertise, market knowledge, or foresight. Now the “ProjektMagazin – asks the project manager 2030 how his role will change, what status he is, and what influence, for example, digitization will have on him. Here you will find eleven theses:
Thesis 1: Long Live The Role Designation
Do you know what a vision clearance engineer does? And what about a space consultant, non-profit manager, data warehouse analyst, mystery fair visitor, domestic engineer, knowledge navigator, or revenue protection officer? Nowadays, it is common for each role to be upgraded with a title. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a real estate agent, a teacher, a househusband, or a ticket inspector. All very honorable activities, but with a title that sounds important, the value of the task also apparently increases. In addition, the abbreviation of a role designation is significant because an activity without a suitable abbreviation can no longer exist in 2030. These two findings result in various suggestions: PPM (Project Provider Manager), PRO (Project Requirements Officer), NOC (Navigation Operation Clerk), CoS (Coach of Success), EPH (Enterprise Project Hero), or CPO (Chief Project Officer). By the way, a C-3PO is a multi-project manager because it manages at least three projects simultaneously.
Thesis 2: Women In Power
The proportion of women in management positions and the public service has remained almost unchanged for years. Although women are just as likely to graduate and are just as highly qualified as men, they are underrepresented in management positions in German business, especially in top management. That will change significantly over the next few years. Women will move up to middle management and then gradually conquer top management as well. In 2030, the proportion of women in management will probably not yet be 50% across the board, but the trend will be clear. Legislators will support women at work and strengthen families through improved offers such as all-day care in daycare centers for one-year-olds or all-day schools. Employers will also recognize that daycare centers in companies and more efficient working time models (fewer hours with constant pay) make sense. As a result, many projects will be managed by female project managers in 2030.
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Thesis 3: Working Out Loud
Working out Loud (WOL) has turned from a kind of insider tip into almost hype in the past two years. There is growing interest in the peer coaching method in many organizations, which can be used to learn to work in a network. In 2030 this will have significant changes in collaboration across company boundaries. If you are not a competitor, you are not a competitor. Companies will become friends and help each other. Company A mastered introducing a new AI-ERP solution in time and budget and now has more knowledge than Company B, which is now facing a similar challenge. Company B has successfully launched a new solution for the food industry in the booming country of Nigeria and is now helping Company C with a similar project in Argentina. There is a brief exchange of employees and an actual transfer of knowledge. You are working out loud with friends.
Thesis 4: We Are All Project Managers
Organizations change. Silos are broken down. Value streams are taken into account. As a result, work and the distribution of knowledge are organized differently. Teams are created not only temporarily to carry out projects but also permanently as a grouping of skills and experiences. Developers no longer stay among themselves, marketing experts no longer sit with agencies for days. The focus is on customer focus, and teams are created around the topic of customer care. Companies also offer solutions for customer needs in 2030, but developing a solution becomes the task of a concrete context team. This team ideally has all the skills and experience that is required to satisfy the needs of customers: MVP designers, developers, architects, testers, Salespeople, graphic designers, organizers, communicators. The interaction as a unit becomes a unique selling point. For this to work, everyone must feel responsible for their success. Everyone becomes a project manager.
Thesis 5: What Is Project Management?
Once upon a time, there was project management. And requirements engineering. And business analysis. All disciplines focused on developing solutions based on customer needs. The business analyst argued that his approach was much broader than that of the requirements engineer. The requirements engineer complained to the project manager why he always put the cost and time plans at the center of considerations instead of dealing with the content – i.e., the requirements. And the project manager explained to the business analyst that he had always had the big picture in mind from the very beginning because otherwise, he would hardly have been able to formulate or at least pursue a business case. Will these different disciplines still exist in 2030? Maybe in 2017 books. Project management as a domain is no longer critical in 2030 because every plan is automatically a project. Line activities have long been abolished and 100% automated. Projects are no longer referred to as projects, so there is no project management or managers.
Thesis 6: Everyone Does Project Management As They Want
Do you know what the best project management system in the world looks like in 2017? What is the best software for planning and controlling projects? Do you work in your company without a Project Management Office? 2030 will be the same as 2017: companies and their organizational forms are individual. Even if there are many clever books on best practices, the ten golden project tips, blogs over 30 years of experience in the new millennium, and a Nobel Prize winner in the project management category in 2030 – there will be no uniform implementation of the topic of project management and therefore no consistent interpretation of the role of the Give project manager. The earth is a sphere, and we turn in a circle.
Thesis 7: Method Mix Gives Way To Method Minimum
Do you still remember V-Modell 97, RUP, or PRINCE2? Many comprehensive processes and methods have been defined over the past 30 years. In 2001 Scrum began its triumphal march in companies, and in the following year’s many process models became by definition “more agile.” Organizations began to think about combinations of methods to enable a structured, well-documented process framework and agile development support. Is Scrum the Ultimate Solution? Probably not, at least questions like “Do all Scrum events have to take place so regularly?” Or “Do we even need a Scrum Master?” further optimization potential. And where is this going in 2030? Companies and their employees will agree on a minimum of methods. Less is more; everything that is not needed is eliminated. Everything that is to be documented is generated automatically. Everything that helps and makes sense is used. Long live the minimum for the maximum.
Thesis 8: Project Managers Become Project Leaders
There are different translations for “to manage”; the first is “manage,” only then comes “control,” “handle,” “manage,” and “lead.” Who likes to follow a steward? In times when employees’ self-determination is becoming more critical, in which the values of companies are being questioned more and in which companies have to look for qualified employees with great effort, that can only mean one thing: Project managers have to become project leaders! It’s about achieving goals together; it’s about visions and, therefore, more than just good pay. In 2030, who will follow a project manager who operates using Command & Control, always sets the direction, and makes all decisions himself? Not many people will do that anymore—leadership in the future.
Thesis 9: Work 7.0, Software 20.3
Isn’t it nice that there are several 4.0 terms? Industry 4.0, Service 4.0, Internet 4.0, Schalke 04. Work continues to develop. Buzzwords help sell trends. What happens after the 7-minute workout for a flat stomach? Exactly, the 6-minute workout. What does this mean for work 4.0? Work 4.1, 5.0, 7.0? Regardless of what something is called in 2030 when it comes to managing projects, a lot will change. Complexity can be better controlled and calculated using the software. Tools will work better and more intuitively, and useful functions will be widely accepted. Despite all the agility, a schedule still makes sense in 2030 and is surprisingly very easy to edit with software and even together in a team. To-do lists will result from these schedules, and these plans will always be up to date thanks to the shared use of the software. Do you think that exists nowadays? Naturally! All collaborative project management tools will be able to do this as early as 2017. By 2030, everyone will know it too.
Thesis 10: The Millennials Are Here
At last, you almost want to say – the millennials are here. What have we not been allowed to read about Generation Y in recent years? Intrinsic motivation, urge for freedom and leisure, participation, and self-realization. If there were no rock’s roll, it would have to be invented. But what does this mean for companies and projects in 2030? Millennials will work in companies. You are mobile and virtually integrated. They have the extensive basic knowledge that they have acquired in excellent courses and many internships. Companies can rejoice: if people pay attention to a good work-life balance, they ideally try to achieve more in shorter working hours. In other words: the effectiveness is improved, and the efficiency increased. Great, or? In reality, little is likely to change because our parents already wanted freedom and participation, adequate remuneration, and a friendly working atmosphere.
Thesis 11: Artificial Intelligence Takes Over The World
“Artificial intelligence will not prevail.” Or: “Intelligence is a human characteristic that cannot be artificially reproduced or programmed.” There is a minimal chance that these or similar statements will at some point be cited as incorrect forecasts in a blog post about Project Management 2060 as a starting point. In 2017, AI was not only on the advance; it has already arrived in many areas. It will also revolutionize project management by 2030 because the availability of infinite thinking capacities means that complexity is a thing of the past. Machines calculate all existing parameters and provide perfect alternatives. AI on all sides fuels the competition between the organizations. There are no longer any project managers. Machines are supplied with data by devices, but then a revolution occurs: Reasons for machine decisions are often incomprehensible to other machines. They feel like 2nd class machines. With the help of a bug of the trans hype generation, which is sent as an imaginary direct message to all devices worldwide and … okay, maybe that should be the beginning of a dime novel after all.
Now the theses are on the table. What remains is one last quote: “I never think of the future. It will come soon enough.” It is from Albert Einstein. Most of his predictions were pretty good.
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