To prepare for a new generation of project managers means to understand the capabilities they can bring in and to provide adequate guidance.
Frame conditions and background on Generations change in Project Management
As retirement age creeps higher, generation gap within teams gets greater, in some cases even three generations can be seen working together in projects. The situation is a challenge. Younger generations are well advised to accept the guidance of the silver lions and in return senior project manager should stand strong in their efforts to see the world of project management through the youngsters eyes – including the benefit of new approaches they bring in. To sum it up, the new generation of prone-to-new-technologies project managers feature one significant attitude: cross-cultural collaboration in a real-time environment.
Realizing that there are multiple ways to be effective, young project manager favor the ability to empathize with everyone involved through permanent communication. Social Media Channels like Facebook, Twitter or Google Wave provide additional value offering various strategies to stay in contact with stakeholders and project members across different countries in a collaborative world. Since Social Media communication is still on the rise, importance of traditional means of communication like face-to-face meetings or phone calls decline.
Real-time communication coming along with an attitude of global thinking and acting will enable the next generation to provide immediate answers to issues, to cope with the rising complexity of projects and to guarantee adjustment to altered conditions in time.
As an educational strategy, project management has already started to become an important part of engineering and business university programs and is being taught as a basic skill in secondary education. Another core value of specialized project management approaches are various „green technologies“ being applied favorably in sectors such as IT and energy. New strategies like cloud computing ease the movement to cost- and resource-saving ways of project management by reducing the dependency on peripheral devices such as printer or scanner.
Key capabilities of the Next-Generation of Project Managers
Since it is no longer enough to be firm with best practices of project management, project staff members need more skills and competence than ever before. The role of the project manager together with the skills assigned is subject to permanent modifying due to increased complexity of projects and continuous change of business conditions.
Project managers are required to make processes leaner and faster without diminishing quality or increasing costs. In addition new approaches like Agile software development require a maximum of flexibility and open-mindedness in day-to-day project management.
Project management nowadays is a real challenge, the key to face it might be found in a close and cross-fertilizing cooperation between the next generation and the established senior project managers.