Project Management Institute

What's in store?


Concerns of Project Adanagers

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Every once in a while it is interesting to sit back, put your feet in the air (I used to include taking a puff on a pipe) and think about where it's all going. That has been especially interesting the last year or so, especially with regard to PMI, the practice and profession of project management, and the PM industry.

We recently discussed the changes that are being wrought by the advances in software for project management, especially the “low end” packages. Think about it: sales of 2,500,000 packages forecasted in 1993-5. That's a growth rate of 40 percent per year compounded.

What would you do if your chapter grew at 40 percent the next three years? If you have 100 members today, you would have 275 in three years. How large would your mailing list be? (Better get it all on computer!) What would your meetings be like? Say you are getting 50 percent of the members out each meeting, that would be 140. (Better find a new meeting place!) What kind of speaker would hold the interest of that many people? (Will we have to pay expenses?) Or will there have to be a different approach to the meetings? (Guess we better start doing some planning!)

While in Los Angeles in March, Gerry Ruse (Chapter President), and I engaged in some real “blue sky” thinking. How do you service an area the size of the Los Angeles Basin, where getting to a meeting could easily take an hour? Gerry said, “Maybe we ought to think like McDonald's and have a bunch of chapters around the L.A. Basin, convenient to everyone who would like to be a member of PMI.” What an interesting idea!

We went further. “Maybe each chapter could meet eight times per year and there would be a “District” meeting four times a year. Hey, we could really get some interesting speakers ! And maybe we could even have a district office to handle the mailing list and help arrange the meetings and all that sort of stuff.”

We hadn't even left the office yet so there were no stimulants involved. Doesn't it get you to thinking?

What would PMI be like? Right now, we have about 9,000 members. That would become 25,000. We have about 1,000 show up for the Annual Seminar/Symposium. That would be 2,750 people. Has your chin dropped? It might be that when you mention PMI to someone, instead of them saying, “PM what?” they would say, “Oh, yes, I've heard about you folks !” Wow!

Have you thought about what your job might be? One person suggested that many of the present PMIers will be managers of project managers, or at least running the staff activity that supports project management throughout the organization. Or maybe you will be the “Manager of Team Management.” With the present efforts in our society to down-size, right-size, re-size, and even minimize the organization, the team approach is bound to grow.

How do you manage a team? We know, don't we? Isn't that what PM is all about?

Do you use a personal information manager (PIM) or personal organizer? The next step is a Workgroup Information Manager (WIM) or Team Information Manager (TIM). Some of you may be doing that already. PMIC will be doing it before 1993 is over! (The PMNETwork plans to focus on this concept in one of the issues in 1994. If you have an article to contribute, contact us NOW.) We believe that TIM will have a major impact on the “low end” of project management, i.e., managing the small projects, managing the small teams.

Or another scenario may well be that many of the tasks involved in project management become computerized and standardized to the degree that middle-level project managers will devote less time to the management of the project and more time to managing the technologies, more the systems management perspective.

Oh, yes, there will still be the major, and even more mega, project managers. Will they all be certified PMPs? Can they afford not to be?

Who knows? We can speculate. We can pipe dream. But we cannot afford to sit on our duffs and pretend it will never happen. How true today is the old saw, “Nothing in life is so sure as change.”

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