Word of caution. Throw caution to the wind and then read this through. I have attempted to portray what a project management world would look like in the future. I have chosen to do this by explaining new roles / concepts along with existing ones, and by describing possible changes in general mindset. This is a work of humor, fiction, fact and fantasy – all intertwined outrageously.
Apologist – a person solely appointed to apologize for all issues, slippages, overruns etc across projects. This is a polished version of the erstwhile “scape goat”. This role will turn into a career option for many and will become an in demand skill set in the future, and they will be paid by the hour.
Business Doit’ist (DoIt, read as dooh-it and not doe-it or doyt)– All former business analysts will get into new roles, which will force them to stop analyzing and start working. They will henceforth metamorphosis into Business Doit’ists. This is due to a growing call that lot of energy and time was being spent only on analysis alone and usually resulted in analysis paralysis (a popular term and a condition used to refer to mindless activity resulting in pages and pages of documentation of ambiguous and frivolous stuff).
The Bell Curve – The bell curve will be replaced by a lasso. This transition happens so as to maximize the sadistic pleasure derived out of performance management systems and to make it more interactive and engaging. This will also make the appraisee feel that he is part of the game, and will actually test the mettle of the appraiser, which was not possible in the traditional way of doing things. Lasso this if you can!
Cat Herder – With an increasing awareness that most projects will need this ability more than any other skill, cat herding will emerge as the biggest competency in the future. There will be a large demand for people who can cat herd as well as train others. This will also see the downfall of all Project Managers and Project Management (the profession). Cat Herders will be the heroes of the new Dawn.
Cheerleaders – Yes, we finally got it. As in sports, now all projects will have Cheerleaders to keep the morale up. Sample instances of deploying cheerleaders would be – whenever the team fixes a defect, when the pizza arrives, when it is time to go home, when something works and yes, when something stops working. Who says IT is not entertaining 😉
Doctor –You will start seeing proliferation of Doctors (qualified) within the project teams as budgeted resources. The Doctor’s role would be to specifically look at ailing projects and recommend the best course of treatment – to put on life support or withdraw life and / or support. Also, they will ensure that the team is always in good health and spirit, by pumping steroids and other dark matter in order to get the maximum output per square inch of body (remember Ivan Drago in Rocky IV?).
Goooglist – There will invariably be at least one goooglist in the team, who with the aid of google glasses, will spend all his time googling / on social media and not working. You cannot avoid this as you will not be aware, thanks to technology. For best reasons, it will be worthwhile if you can identify such people and channel their energies to the benefit of the project and the team or channel them out of the team. Wait, are you sporting a google glass right now?!
(The) Mummy – This will be the exec sponsor’s role. In the future, all such resources will be identified at the beginning of the project and mummified, so that they can remain (safe) throughout the duration of the project, and once generations and generations (centuries) have passed and if the project is completed, they can later be de-mummified to verify the results or explain to everyone else what the original vision was.
Project Manager – Sorry, Who is this again? This role will become extinct in the future. Refer my note on Cat Herders. Cat herders and Herding will take over Project Managers and Managing of projects respectively. There will be mathematical models to predict the most efficient way of herding cats and this will replace all other project management methodologies.
The Proxy-moron – A Proxy-moron is someone who stands up for a larger cause, which he is usually not aware of, in the line of project duty. He will willingly agree to represent someone else in important fact finding or strategic meetings, and will never know that he is a Proxy-moron until after the meeting or it is too late. This role will be born out of a necessity for self preservation and will get popularized by virtue of its simplicity and ease of connivance. All Proxy-morons will invariably be the new age scapegoats.
Quality Control – will be a thing of the past, as all quality control systems will eventually shut themselves down, by design. This is how it is going to unfold – the QC teams and systems will first wait for an exclusive lock on the project(s) and until they get this, will not be able to process anything else, while rest of the teams will obviously be holding existing locks on the project. This will thus force QC to enter into a spinlock, then crash. What this means is that in the future, QC will not be a separate stream / focus, but inbuilt in everything that goes on, a far simpler and stabler approach.
Requirements Ma Feah– This would be a specialized team to beat the requirements out of Business, in a recurring fashion such that more and more details and specifications are got, at a very early stage. What makes them more potent is that they will make offers which cannot be refused. Traditionally, most of the projects used to fail due to ambiguous and unclear / incomplete requirements plus constant change in requirements, hence the need for this sophisticated approach. The impact of this group would be such that, Business would strive to ensure crystal clear and no-nonsense requirements to start with and exhibit little or no appetite for changing scope going forward.
SWAT the team – These are tactical teams whose job would be to get in, rescue and get out. They would be used to either – recover a project OR destroy evidence of any wrongdoing (or any doing for that matter) and the project’s identity / existence itself (wonder if this was a liftoff from Hollywood). Unlike the Requirements Ma-Feah team, which operates only on the Business community, sometimes the SWAT team can also be called in to put the fear of god into select members of the project team or the entire team itself, to obtain unwavering commitment and also increase the motivational levels and want-to-succeed factor.
Testers / Testing – Both testers and testing will get a make over in the near future (which will not go down nice with them). All testers will be replaced by psychics with crystal balls (I mean with crystal balls as their tool…..i give up, hope you anyways get what I mean), and testing will transition into ball gazing (crystal ball grazing, you freak). This is due to growing clamor that testing is the sole reason for making or breaking projects, so why not invest on technology that can predict which way it goes. Unfortunately, we continue to make little or no progress in time travel, hence crystal balls would be the only logical option. Psychics will be in large demand and the world will see an end to defects and bugs finally, as all such aspects will be found before they occur and will be fixed in the development cycle itself and then rolled out into production. So no more testing and go/no-go challenges in the future.
X1-men – Not to be mistaken with the X-men franchise of mutants in Hollywood (hence the 1). This breed of mutants will be able to Xecute projects with far more flair than ordinary humans. Thus triggering the epic battle of control between Human and X1-men people, in projects. They will be characterized by their total lack of feeling / emotions, their thick skins, blue color, ability to survive long periods of work without exhaustion, and can work under water / in space without worrying about oxygen, water, radiation, appraisals etc – courtesy evolution and global warming.
Go ahead and let me know if I have missed out any other important ones.