The hurdles which today’s project managers face are likely to be replaced by new threats over time. For example, when the profession first started to be formalized, the tools weren’t available to facilitate highly virtual projects and hence the advantages and disadvantages of those types of projects weren’t realized.
Improvements in virtual reality technologies, near zero communication latency, increased global literary, self-serve professional development and crowdsourcing becoming commonplace should help to reduce the impact of human resource constraints on knowledge-based projects.
However, sustainable practices are gaining greater importance and this is only likely to accelerate if we hope to have a habitable planet beyond the next fifty years. Companies and, by association, projects will be challenged for their carbon, electrical and water-usage footprints. It is not inconceivable to imagine the introduction of a tiered resource tax tied to the scale or complexity of a project. This will increase the criticality of agile practices, reusability and effective knowledge management.
Although human resources will be plentiful, there will be even greater competition vying for their time. These early days of Uber for “X” might fool us into thinking that such business models will be restricted to specific use cases only, but over time, the kinks will be worked out. With increases in contingent resourcing, retaining team members for the duration of a project will be difficult if the work is not interesting or doesn’t sign with individual aspirations and development objectives.
Not only will many projects use a global, virtual workforce, the age and experience levels of team members will range from teenagers to those who are well past the point of our current preconceived notions of retirement. How will you be able to effectively motivate and engage such a diverse team?
Project management, like most professions, evolves over time. While the fundamental principles remain evergreen, technological advances and changes in environmental factors will progressively transform project management so that it remains relevant.