How has the role of the project manager evolved?

Posted by Design & Construct on 12-May-2015 12:38:44

In Construction


Project managers have always been required to show a specific set of skills to be good at their job. From the ability to keep to strict time frames to ensuring staff are always on task, this is a position that not just anyone can take on.

However, there have been some slight changes in what project managers are faced with on a daily basis. The emergence of digital technologies and the lines between roles have become increasingly blurred, meaning this is a job that is constantly evolving.


Looking back over the decades

As the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) points out, the sector has come a long way over the past few decades. It started out as mainly concerning the IT, defence and construction industries, but this is no longer the case.

A growing number of industry organisations have been put into place to support those within the sector, both on a domestic and international scale.

Project managers have always been required to show a specific set of skills to be good at their job.

The AIPM adopted a new motto in the 1990s "from the management of projects, to management by projects", which was responsible for shaping how project managers understood their roles.




Blurring of roles

People working within organisations then moved towards more indistinct roles, with everyone involved in making projects a success.

Project management expert Colin Ellis told CIO Magazine on April 24 that chief information officers (CIOs) need to consider project management as part of their day to day activities.

After all, Mr Ellis argues that poor leadership and governance can lead to the downfall of a company, which is why a more well-rounded approach is essential.


Rise of the digital domain

The past few years have seen more digital technologies come onto the market, and the proliferation of devices has made the job of project managers increasingly complex.

Gartner recently emphasised the need for businesses to adopt a digital manifesto in order to embrace the latest trends - and project managers could be at the forefront of its implementation.

Project manager roles are evolving.
Project manager roles are evolving.

Meanwhile, figures from the International Data Corporation show that 55 per cent of IT spending is on business. Just over a third (34 per cent) of respondents named business intelligence, big data and analytics as their top three short term investment areas.

Any company recruiting project managers needs to look more closely at the person's skills, as well as how well they will perform in other areas of the business. People are no longer required to work in one particular area, which should make recruitment all the more challenging.