Project management of the 21st century
“Every single day, it is imperative to commemorate the essence of the Project Profession and the dedication to professionalism, which benefit all individuals, throughout each hour, day, week, month, and year, paving the way for a sustainable future. It is crucial to acknowledge that a sustainable future is unattainable without accomplished projects and competent project managers. This pertains not only to individuals but to groups and societies as a whole. Let us embrace the significance of our work every day, continuously enhancing our skills and competences day after day, rather than confining our recognition to an annual celebration.”
Dr Jesus Martinez Almela, Chairman of the Council, IPMA Honorary Fellow
International Project Management Day is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of November and is all about appreciating the important role project managers play in our societies. The project management profession is constantly challenged by constant contextual changes. In the 21st century these changes are exponentially developing. Issues such as sustainability, social responsibility, governance, agility, and artificial intelligence are now the perspective of project managers.
The modern context in the 21st century needs to have and, therefore, create a new project manager who knows how to respond to the great challenges of this century. Project management is undoubtedly the profession that will have the most demand due to the changes that need to be implemented. However, the profile of the project manager and above all the necessary methodologies and approaches cannot continue to be those of the 20th century.
In the 21st century, companies are subject to a series of new demands due to changes in traditional paradigms. The human factor is the most important element for the development of a Project, therefore it is necessary to examine the skills that a Project Manager must have, based on the proper management of human resources. Communication skills, understanding of other people’s problems, and the ability to achieve good team performance are some of the qualities that allow a Manager to achieve professional success.
It is necessary for the project manager to continually update his or her competences. Self-reflexing and self-management should be the most important person skills. Training must be ongoing and will be obtained through a mix of on-the-job training, international assignments, project work, as well as internal and external development programs.
Any Project Manager who aspires to participate in the international workforce has to have a good command of English. All work meetings, emails, marketing work, etc. are in English, so they need to have a good understanding of this language. Success in an international environment is not only a matter of language skills; in addition, the successful manager is one who learns about the culture of the country in which he is located, and about its traditions and customs.
Sustainability is one of the main challenges of our generation, so that worldwide economic development does not continue to compromise the resources that future generations will require to meet their needs. Nations and organizations have been incorporating elements of sustainability in their development, in their corporate strategy, and in their way of doing business. However, despite the fact that projects are one of the main elements used for the implementation of organizational strategy and an instrument of change in organizations, the integration of sustainability elements in projects and project management is still perceived as incipient.
The International Project Management Association (IPMA) leads the world in project management best practices. Its standards and guidelines are the result of the work of experienced project managers which dedicate their time to contribute to the advancement of the profession. IPMA Individual and organizational competence standards are constantly reviewed to incorporate the 21st century requirements.
The Project Manager plays a key role in coordinating/matching all the resources involved in a project in order to achieve a successful result by impacting the strategic objectives and satisfying stakeholders’ expectations. This key role is the main reason of IPMA’s Vision statement “Orchestrating Project Profession For a Better World”.
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” (Confucius)
Author: Jose E. Reyes Gonzalez, IPMA Vice President Marketing & Awards, on behalf of the IPMA Executive Board
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