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How to be Ready for Likely Changes in Project Manager Role?

We are already experiencing so many changes, disruptions, and transformations related to the 4th industrial revolution in different industries and foresee many more in the future.

Professor Klaus Schwab, WEF’s founder, gives an impressive account of these changes in his book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and he has concerns that in the future:

“organizations might be unable to adapt; governments could fail to employ and regulate new technologies to capture their benefits; shifting power will create important new security concerns.”

What does this revolution imply for Project Managers?

PMs will be involved in implementing projects with the deployment of “disruptive” technologies. Considering the speed of development of new technologies and the wideness of changes, PMs are likely to face a number of problems and to have to find answers to the following questions.

  • Employees, managers, and stakeholders will not be entirely ready for the “disruption” and the adoption. The question is, therefore, how to tune the way to manage them during this transition.

  • How likely are the elements of change curve (*) to be affected? Here is a view of possible changes curves trends resulting from changes in industries with different technology maturity level.

Change curve by Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Copyright © 1969 by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; copyright renewed © 1997 by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. All rights reserved.

  • Technical people will be constantly facing the challenge of delivering fast developing technologies. Therefore, how can we lead teams during this transition making sure we allocate adequate training time for them?

  • Finally, how can PMs quickly upgrade their own skills?

In order to do this, we need to be aware of the changes in the job market demands…

Performing a skills analysis to match market demand for PM (hybrid) roles

In the last four months, I have analyzed 860 job advertisements focusing on transformational or change management PM roles. Originally, this was a personal research, but I have turned it into an analysis of new PM roles.

I wanted to see if there are any signs of transformational and change management projects being influenced by these new applications. For the analysis process, I monitored major UK’s job search websites using specific keywords, such as:

  • Change project manager

  • Business project manager

  • Project Manager – Applications and Change

  • Business change project manager

  • Project Manager – Change & Transformation

This analysis didn’t take into consideration:

  • industry

  • size of projects

  • organization structure and dimension

  • technology involved

These are the results:

404 adverts were for jobs with a title “Business change project manager” or “Project Manager – Change & Transformation”. They required 100% PM skills and previous experience of working on Business change-driven projects. No additional tasks were required.

456 of the jobs advertised were for “Change project manager” or “Project Manager – Applications and Change”. They included requirements for a mix of different skills in addition to those typical for PM.

These (hybrid) roles, such as Project Manager-Change management or Change Project Manager, had the following requirements (see Figure 2):

  • 9% of the jobs required a combination of equal parts of PM and CM skills (50% each);

  • 19% of the jobs required a mix of 40% PM, 30% CM and 30% BA;

  • 72% of the jobs analyzed required a wider range of PM skills (80%) and a minor part of CM (20%).

Salary-wise, (figure 3) the (Hybrid) roles such as Project Manager-Change management or Change Project Manager have shown the following findings.

The jobs requiring equal shares of PM and CM skills have:

  • an average annual salary of £58K

  • an average daily rate of £500.

The jobs requiring a combination PM, CM and BA skills have:

  • an average annual salary of £50K

  • an average daily rate of £480.

The jobs requiring predominantly PM skills and a small part of CM skills have:

  • an average annual salary of £47K

  • an average daily rate of £400.

  • Although the jobs which require additional skills, such as change management or business analysis, represent only 28%, the salaries and daily rates offered in these job advertisements are higher than those offered in roles consisting mainly of PM tasks.

  • 28% could be considered a specific sector of the sample, a niche, but do you think that these percentages could change in the future?

Key takeaways

  1. Analyse your industry innovation technology trends.

  2. Try to understand how the new revolution might impact your industry. depending on the transformational activities of new projects.

  3. While evaluating future opportunities, scout job advertisements with regard to PM+CM roles.

  4. Analyse any potential hybrid roles and:

  • At junior level: note the element of change management skills requested in order to start gaining new skills

  • At mid-level: evaluate the trends in your industry in relation to the change management skills and upgrade them with appropriate training;

  • At senior level: hone your skills in CM and offer your full set of transferable skills in order to succeed in these new very challenging projects.

Envisage preparing yourself for the next challenges.


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