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The Future of Project Management in the Service Economy

The services segment of the economy is changing, and the business processes that make those sectors run, including how projects are managed, are changing with it. Macro trends of globalization and increased competition in the services sector are forcing services firms to become more efficient. In most advanced economies, GNP from services exceeds that from physical goods.

Coupled with changing consumer expectations for a more personalized experience and increase consumer reliance on technology, firms are pushed to innovate faster to hold on to those customers. The internet has disrupted nearly every industry; services are no exception.

Now, more than ever, managers of projects are pushed out of their comfort zones – forced to up their game; applying best practices, becoming more disciplined in their approach to delivering projects. Some executives realize that most of their work is a project. For example, we can look to the IT services industry. It is miles ahead of others in the services sector adopting (and creating) project management practices and technology.

Here are three significant trends I see:

Increased PM Maturity

There will be more opportunity and demand for best project management practices. More managers will realize that traditional project management skills are the same one that can streamline their new service offerings and improve their customer experience. Overall technical project management skills will improve.

New Specialties

As the practices mature, differences will emerge. Every sub-section of the service economy will have its own PM specialty. We’re seeing this now in the IT and legal sectors, so expect it to continue into other areas such as media and financial services.

Technology Enhances Collaboration

As technology changes, the need for better, more streamlined collaboration tools will change the face of the tools project managers use. Watch for tools that move beyond task lists and document sharing to tools that support genuine collaboration in problem solving, task completions and ideation.

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