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The skills needed to be an effective, twenty-first century project manager have changed from those needed during the 1980s. Historically, only engineers were given the opportunity to become project managers. The belief was that the project manager had to have a command of technology in order to make all of the technical decisions. As project management began to grow and as projects became larger and more complex, it became obvious that project managers might need simply an understanding rather than a command of technology. The true technical expertise would reside with the line managers, except for special situations such as R&D project management.

As project management began to grow and mature, the project manager was converted from a technical manager to a business manager. This trend will become even more pronounced in the twenty-first century. The primary skills needed to be an effective project manager in the twenty-first century will be:

• Knowledge of the business

• Risk management

• Integration skills

The critical skill is risk management. However, to perform risk management effectively, a sound knowledge of the business is required. Figure 4-6 shows the changes in project management skills needed between 1985 and 2000. Training in these business skills is on the increase.

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Figure 4-6. Project management skills.

Figure 4-6. Project management skills.

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Figure 4-7. How do project managers spend their time?

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Figure 4-7. How do project managers spend their time?

As projects become larger and larger, the complexities of integration management become more pronounced. Figure 4-7 illustrates the importance of integration management. In 1985, project managers spent most of their time planning and replanning with their team. This was a necessity for the project manager since the project manager was the technical expert. Today, line managers are the technical experts and perform the majority of the planning and replanning efforts within their line. The project manager's efforts are now heavily oriented toward integration of the function plans into a total project plan. Some people contend that, with the increased risks and complexities of integration management, the project manager of the future will become an expert in damage control.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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