Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

The votes are in. It’s never been a better time to be a project manager than in 2018.

While the IT skills gap is driving demand for talent in the cyber world, the project management skills gap is growing. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2027, employers will need to fill nearly 90 million project management related roles.

What does that mean for project management professionals? In short, it means opportunity, a well-compensated career, and a chance to do work that is desperately needed.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how and why project managers are needed in 2018 and how talented professionals can forge a career they love in this current market.

The Terrible Cost of Bad Project Management

project management professional 2018

Before we talk about how project management can help, it’s important to discuss why project management is important. The truth is, bad project management practices aren’t only wasteful and annoying, they can mean a huge loss of revenue.

Here are just a few shocking statistics about how bad project management professionals slow down production and cost businesses millions of dollars.

  • Around 70% of all projects fail
  • The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy $50-$150 billion annually.
  • IT failure rates are estimated to be between 5-10%, a loss of $50 billion to $150 billion per year in the U.S.
  • 75% of respondents lack confidence in project success due to fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework (Source.)

It’s clear that working without project managers, or with unskilled project managers, has a negative, measurable impact on revenue. However, project managers can also have a real positive or negative effect on team morale.

Perhaps one of the most important ways project managers help is by identifying over or underperforming workers. An underperforming worker could be disengaged and not pulling their weight, leaving a burden on the rest of the team. Meanwhile, an overperforming employee may be micromanaging other employees or bringing morale down.

Lastly, good project managers shut down toxic workers. This is especially important because reliable employees are 54% more likely to quit their job even when there’s only one toxic employee.

The Magnitude of the Project Management Talent Gap

Now that we’ve identified the need for project management professionals within an organization, it’s important to return to the talent gap. First of all, how bad is it?

As we mentioned earlier, employers will need to fill 90 million project management related roles by 2020. This includes positions like project managers, program managers, portfolio managers, business analysts, change management experts, and more.

What industry will be host to these new jobs? The short answer is, everywhere, but some of the biggest needs will include:

  • 7 million jobs in manufacturing and construction
  • 5 million jobs in information services and publishing
  • 6 million jobs in finance and insurance
  • 7 million jobs in management and professional services
  • 279,000 jobs in utilities
  • 49,000 jobs in oil & gas


This problem gets even worse when you widen the scope internationally where the result could be a potential GDP loss of 208 billion dollars in 11 countries.

Estimated Project Management Jobs by Country 2017-2027project management skills gap

With this all in mind, it’s clear that there are a lot of opportunities to build a much-needed, well-compensated career in project management. Now the question is, what does project management look like in 2018?

Project Management Trends in 2018

This field has undergone quite a few changes in the last few decades and this article wouldn’t be complete without touching on some of the most important trends. In 2018, here’s what will be at the forefront in the minds of most project managers.

  • Resource Management: As qualified workers become scarce across the board, project managers must figure out how to make the most of the staff they have. This means that deciding when you have the proper resources to start a project is becoming more important.
  • Hybrid Project Management: In the past, it may have seemed that traditional and agile project management were in conflict. However, as different situations call for different management styles, there will be a call for more hybrid project management styles. This is something we touched on in a previous article.
  • Project Management Office: More organizations are seeing a need for a group or department to standardized project management across a company. This is known as a PMO or Project Management Office and there are definitely benefits. In companies that have a PMO, 38% more project succeeded and 33% fewer projects were deemed failures.
  • Project Management & Cyber Security: There is now a  wide range of online solutions to help coordinate projects. That means that cyber security is becoming more and more of a concern. While online solutions make it easier to collaborate and can be great for productivity, there are concerns about data being vulnerable to hackers and a need for solutions.

Now that we’ve established the top trends for project management, as well as the overwhelming need for project managers in general, it’s time to talk about salary.

Salary Trends in Project Management

Internationally, the median salary for project managers is $74,900 even for those with less than three years of experience. However, this number rises to $108,200 for project managers working in the U.S. For professionals with more experience working in high-demand areas, the median salary can climb as high as $125,000 annually.
project management salary

These numbers may change yet again when it comes to project management talent in the most demand industries. In places like the financial world, IT/tech, or staffing, the salary range can top out as high as $165,000.

PMP Project Management Salary

Another factor that has a huge effect on salary is certification. In general, project managers who are certified are more competitive job candidates and have a better chance at a higher salary. This is especially true for high-value certifications like the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.

Project Management & PMP Certification in 2018

What exactly is the value of a PMP certification? Well, according to one estimate, a certified project management professionals in the U.S. commands around 20% more in salary than their uncertified counterpart.

PMP Certification Fast Facts

  • In nearly all countries, median salary steadily increases with PMP tenure.project management skills gap
  • Titles that a PMP-certification project manager might have include director of project management office, portfolio manager, project management specialist, and project management consultant.
  • The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), signed into law in 2016, means that many federal government project management jobs require a PMP certification.

In terms of salary breakdown, here is exactly how the PMP certification affects salary.

project management salaries

Why is this difference so stark? The answer is simple. The PMP certification “codifies what a project manager is, and how a project manager works.”  Basically, project management is all about organization and the PMP provides a strict framework for completing project effectively.

It’s clear that project managers are needed, important, and well-compensated. So, if you’re looking to start or advance a career in project management, what is the next step?

Getting PMP-Certified with LeaderQuest

Project Management SalaryAt LeaderQuest, we employ expert instructors who will not only help you prepare for your PMP exam, but are veterans of the application process as well. We pair the ITIL, CAPM, and PMP certifications together in our Senior Technology Project Management program so you have all the tools you need to be successful.

Our scheduling is flexible with classes that are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night to fit any work schedule or learning style. Once you’ve finished your first class, our career services team will use their contacts and resources to help get hired!

Project management isn’t just important, it’s sorely needed in a world where bad project management can cost valuable time, money, and man-hours. If you’ve been thinking about getting into this field, why wait? With the project management skills gap, a career in project management in 2018 is sure to be an incredibly valuable career. The time is now.

If you’ve been looking for a way to invest in your future, take the leap today!

Get PMP Certified!

How Agile Project Management is Changing the PMP® Exam

How Agile Project Management is Changing the PMP® Exam

With the demand for certified project management skyrocketing (and good talent hard to come by), it’s time to talk about an important part of project management; Agile.

While the Agile methodology is no newcomer in the IT world, it’s only now that it’s been officially incorporated into the Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam. For all those hoping to join the ranks of the PMP® certified, understanding Agile is a part of your ticket in.

Without further ado, here’s the what, why, and how of Agile project management along with other changes to the PMP® exam you need to know to pass with flying colors.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project MethodologyThe Agile movement focuses on building and responding effectively to a changing environment. It was originally created by software developers in search of “continuous delivery”, or the ability to address a variety of changes, while sustainably delivering products to customers.

In the early 1990s, software infrastructure lagged behind big business’ needs by an estimated three years. On top of that, customer needs and market demands changed so rapidly that many projects were canceled because they could not keep up—even if the project achieved its original goals. The system was a lose-lose for everyone.

All that started to change in 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was published. It formally introduced its 12 key principles to take on infrastructure challenges. Jim Highsmith, co-founder of the Agile Alliance and co-author of the Agile Manifesto, explains Agile this way.

“[It’s] about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about ‘people as our most important asset’ but actually ‘acts’ as if people were the most important and lose the word ‘asset’.”

-Jim Highsmith

Why Do We Need Agile Project Management?

A traditional element of project management is to gather the entire project team to discuss the full project goals and all changes throughout each phase. This can be extremely time-consuming.

To save time, Agile Project Management uses focused groups that meet more frequently and discuss very specific project goals. This facilitates rapid change implementation, ensuring teams can meet customer demands.

As Highsmith puts it, “Agile organizations view change as an opportunity, not a threat.” This is because change does not derail Agile projects, just refocuses, to meet customer needs.

Other advantages of Agile:

  • Improved teamwork and feedback
  • Emphasis on specific customer needs
  • Reduces waste by minimizing resource consumption
  • Rapid defect detection

Let’s use the plot of Disney’s, A Bug’s Life as an example. An ant colony has the annual project of collecting food for themselves and their neighbors, a group of tyrannical grasshoppers. The ants divided their island into sections and distributed the work. The project was near completion when Flik, an overzealous inventor, decided to use one of his gadgets to speed up the process.

Pictured: The face of project management gone very, very wrong.

Unfortunately for Flik and his colony, his attempt backfires and inadvertently sabotages the whole project. The angry grasshoppers demanded double the food by threatening their annihilation. While the rest of the colony regroups and formally re-starts the project, Flik gathers a smaller, specialized team of circus misfits who collaborate and creatively overcome the obstacles!

Although modern project teams do not work under such life-threatening (or grasshopper-heavy) situations, this analogy highlights what an Agile way of thinking can bring to the table. In this scenario, the ant colony is comprised of a leader (project manager), the worker ants (project team members), and an accident which delays the project (unforeseen environmental factors).

Flik is an example of an internal factor—a team member’s mistake delaying a project. The lack of food on the island is an external factor based on raw resources and our pesky grasshoppers are an example of market demand changes.

Elements of Traditional Project Management in A Bug’s Life
  • Project ManagementProject Manager: Sole leader
    • I.e. Queen Ant
  • Project Team Members: Individuals involved in the project
    • I.e. Worker Ants
  • Unforeseen Environmental Factor: A problem in the current environment that causes a delay in a project
    • I.e. Flik knocking over/destroying the food stores with his invention
      • Internal Factor: A problem with the project management group that causes a delay in the group
        • I.e. Flik
      • External Factor: A problem coming from outside the project management group that causes delays
        • I.e. Lack of food on the island
  • Market Demand Changes: A change within a project that is necessitated by changes within the market
    • I.e. Grasshoppers demanding food from the ants

Pictured: An amazing Agile project management team!

Where Agile comes in is through the circus bugs in the movie. Unlike the longer, more formal project where one person has defined a plan and goals, the smaller, more specialized team tries a number of ideas through the sprint method of plan, design, build, test, and review.

For example, let’s take the idea of defeating the grasshoppers (the clear goal of all of these projects) by constructing a giant, fake bird. It’s worth noting that this idea is quickly put into production after the previous idea of, “pretending the circus bugs are fierce warriors,” fails. That will happen sometimes in project management and that’s okay!

Elements of Agile Project Management in A Bug’s Life
  • Plan: We need to raise enough food to survive the winter and get the grasshoppers off our back. Let’s build a giant bird.
  • Design: Flik and a small group of others create blueprints, schematics, and design ideas for how to make the bird look, sound, and act real.
  • Build: Other groups gather materials and create individual parts of bird (wings, voice, etc.).
  • Test: The grasshoppers come and the ants swoop down upon them with their giant, fake bird.
  • Review: Long story short, the head grasshopper gets eaten by a real bird thereby eliminating the need for gathering extra food. What success!

The smaller, more specialized team was able to meet the overall goal of protecting the colony’s food in a time-sensitive, effective way. Agile thinking helps teams resolve project issues through sprint sessions and focused thinking rather than regrouping the whole team.

It is important to note that Agile is not an all-or-nothing approach. Many teams have found a mix of Agile and traditional processes to work best for their teams—what matters overall is project successes.

Agile in Action: Saving Money and Time

Worldwide surveys reflect Agile’s staggering success. This is what practitioners are saying:

  • 98% of respondents have seen success through Agile projects
  • 88% deem the ability to manage changing priorities as a significant benefit to Agile
  • 81% cited project delivery time as their main reason incorporate Agile practices
  • 74% of respondent’s state that Agile methods reduce project risk

The numbers speak for themselves, but agile management is not a fit for every project. With its less formal structure, Agile may not be suited for more traditional organizations with less flexible stakeholders. The other drawback is that, throughout the development process, Agile favors project teams, customer needs, and developers, but can neglect the end-user experience.

Practitioners Have Spoken

Agile has officially shown up in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), a globally recognized standard that provides a roadmap for the project management profession. The guide continuously evolves as practitioners’ steer and direct its content towards best practices, tools, and techniques to enhance project efficiency.

PMP Agile Exam Guide

Agile’s integration into project management is not new, but its techniques had not been incorporated into key knowledge areas until now.

Changes include:

Each knowledge area will feature new sections, detailing:

  1. Agile and Iterative Adaptive Environments
  2. Tailoring Considerations
  3. Trends and Emerging Practice
  4. Key Concepts

Knowledge areas have been renamed:

  1. Schedule Management (previously Time Management)
  2. Resource Management (previously Human Resource Management)
  3. A new chapter on the role of a PM with emphasis on effective leadership

PMI® also states that the PMP® exam will be changed to compliment the new standards of the PMBOK® Guide. That means:

  1. Exam topics and percentages will remain the same
  2. There will be no edits to the PMP® exam content outline
  3. Anyone taking the exam prior to March 26, 2018 will be tested using the old standards

Prepare for the PMP® Exam with an Expert

Agile Project Management & PMP<sup data-recalc-dims=® Exam Prep” width=”300″ height=”200″ />From this overview, it’s clear that knowing a little background on Agile will help you as you dive into your prep class and study for the exam. If you’re interested in getting a certification that’s in high-demand and adds a lot to an organization, the PMP® certification can get you there.

Looking to increase your chances of success with PMP®? LeaderQuest can help. With our classes available online or on campus and during the day or night, we’re able to fit your schedule and help you get the training you need to pass the PMP® exam and certification process.

Interested? Sign up below to learn more.

Help Me Pass the PMP® Exam!

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

What is the Difference Between Projects and Operations in an Organization?

What is the Difference Between Projects and Operations in an Organization?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

As a project management instructor, I have helped students with many PMP applications. The questions that is always asked is, “What can I put on my PMP application for a project?”

When I answer this question, I usually begin by telling the student the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique productservice or result. I also teach in my PMP Preparation class that a project is:

  1. Temporary
  2. Unique
  3. Beneficial

Then, I usually give examples of projects like building a house, buying a car, implementing a new IT system, or developing a new product. All of these examples have a start and end date, deliver a unique product, and when completed have benefits to the customer. At the end of the project, the product is transferred to the new owner to be used, and the new owner must maintain the product. This maintenance is operations work and will go on until the product ends its useful life. For example:

  • Building a house is a project
    • Maintaining the house by cleaning, painting, and upgrading are operations work completed by the owner
  • Buying a car is a project
    • The car needs care like gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, and tune-ups, and this is operations managed by the driver
  • Implementing a new military system is a project
    • The system will be sustained by a specialist doing back-ups, upgrades, and system maintenance – this sustainment is operations work
  • Developing a new product is a project
    • The sales people will sell the product and the support staff will support customers using the product.  This is operations completed by the company for customers.

After this discussion, the project management students than ask, “Well, I’m confused – isn’t EVERYTHING a project?”

I respond, “Well sort of…it depends on if the work is defined as a project for the customer, it depends who is doing the work, and why the work is being completed.”

For example, an oil change is operations for the owner of the car, because it is part of maintaining the car. The oil change is a project for the auto mechanic, because for the mechanic, the oil change has a start and end (several minutes), it delivers a unique product (clean oil and filter), and when completed has benefits to the owner of the car (a well running motor that will run for a long time).

After this discussion, most project management students are able to document the projects they have managed and successfully complete their PMP application. After completing their project descriptions and getting approved to take the PMP exam, the students finally know exactly what they did from a PMI perspective.

Project Management job growth is expected to grow by 18% between 2010 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PMP certification can qualify you for new jobs that are becoming available every day!

Are YOU interested in learning more or achieving your PMP certification? View our 8 day training program and PMP certification prep here. Or simply call us today at (866) 378-0761!

What Exactly Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?

What Exactly Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

I have probably been an “unofficial” project manager since I was about 10 years old while attending Girl Scout events. I was always the girl who was a quick learner and was probably a bit bossy. In high school, I found myself doing more projects as a programming “nerd.” These interests lead me to attend college and study computer engineering, so that I could “lead technical people.” Obtaining my engineering degree and working as a programmer lead to many more “projects.” I moved to Colorado after graduation, yet another project, and found myself working as a test engineer and wanted to do more than just being a contributing member of a project team.

At this point, I discovered there was a “real” job title of project manager. I was hooked, very excited, and worked hard to learn how to become a project manager. After some project management courses and mentoring by a wonderful boss, I was promoted and was finally a REAL project manager. I soon realized that it took more than technical knowledge to be an excellent project manager.

I was often asked, “What exactly does a project manager do?”

“Manage projects,” I would answer without much thought.

After many confused looks and blank stares, I decided that I needed to come up with a better answer.

As I put more thought into the question, I came up with “lead people to get things finished” and “solve problems.” These simple answers still didn’t seem to work very well, and I knew people still didn’t understand even when I gave a long detailed answer. So, I kept thinking and brainstormed a list of what project managers do —

  • Manage and control
  • Lead and direct
  • Communicate and coordinate
  • Decide and take action
  • Motivate and reward
  • Give and take
  • Negotiate and obtain agreement
  • Take risks and develop opportunities
  • Schedule and monitor
  • Budget and spend
  • Check and validate

I knew I could not say all that, so it was back to the drawing board.  I experimented with a variety of answers, and nobody, including my own mother, really understood what I did as a project manager. Even people who worked for project managers didn’t seem to know what project managers do!

Over the years, I have used these humorous answers to explain what a project manager does:

I am a project integration expert!

A project manager herds cats.

I develop people through hard work.

A project manager does the impossible!

I make it difficult for other people to get their work done.

A project manager turns worrying into planning!

I create dreams from deadlines.

Today, when someone asks me what a project manager does, I give one of these answers and chuckle to myself. If they only knew, what project managers really do!

Project Managers are in HIGH DEMAND! Are YOU interested in becoming a project manager? LeaderQuest offers a complete Project Management training program, complete with PMP and ITIL certifications, that will have you qualified for Project Management positions in no time! Call us today at (866) 378-0761 to learn more!

The Difference Between IT Certifications & IT Degrees

The Difference Between IT Certifications & IT Degrees

“At my company, I don’t even know which of my employees has a degree or not—it makes no difference to me,” said Ilya Pozin, Founder of Pluto TV on LinkedIn.

“I’d much rather hire someone who has been freelancing as a web developer for three years than someone who has a master’s degree in computer science,” he went on. “They’re bound to be more passionate, driven, and profitable in the long run, as they know what it takes to impact the bottom line.”

Lots of today’s business owners and managers are realizing that the old system of a job seeker earning a four-year IT degree from a traditional college and landing an entry-level position where they expect to gain ‘experience’ may not be what’s most worthwhile for them as a company.

Things that were cutting-edge four years ago are hardly relevant today.

In fact, in the beginning of his article, Pozin said “Getting hired in entry-level positions requires experience and fine-tuned skills, not a 4.0 GPA.”

So… Are IT Degrees Worthless Now?

Certainly not.

Even though lots of IT business owners have said things like Pozin, it’s be a bit short-sighted to completely discount the value of an IT degree – but it’d be equally as silly to assume they’re somehow ‘better’ than specialized IT certifications.

Because while there are a lot of forward-thinkers like Pozin out there, a lot of companies still require IT degrees for certain positions, particularly if you’re new to the field and don’t have a lot of experience.

IT Degrees: The Pros & Cons

Let’s address the elephant in the room: getting a degree takes a lot more time and money than earning a certification.

For starters, bachelors degrees usually require passing credits from at least 30 classes, while certificates rarely require more than 10. Using overly-basic math, that means a degree is thee times more expensive and takes three times as long as a certification.

If you don’t have time or money on your side, an IT degree probably isn’t going to work for you.

But what about the upsides of an IT degree?

To give you an idea, the employers who seek degree-holders usually do so because it means the person has spent a significant amount of time steeping himself in the expertise of his desired profession, has a functional overview of the industry as a whole, and has a more well-rounded education that can’t be completed with an IT certificate.

The time spent studying the industry and the more well-rounded education are the main factors why IT degree holders are often seen as ‘more qualified’ upfront than IT certificate holders.

IT Certificates: The Pros & Cons

On the upside, IT certificates seem to be a more efficient use of your time and money since they focus specifically around one job role and don’t take the time to teach you things you don’t need to know yet.

They can be completed in a matter of months or weeks so you can get moving quickly in a new career path in the job role of your choice.

But since they’re a quickie solution for job experience and training, they may yield a smaller starting salary than someone that’s spent the time steeping themselves in learning for four years.

But if you’re going to work for a company where your initial job role will be pretty narrow, a certificate might be all you need to get started.

“Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associates degree programs,” said Study.com. “They take less time [than associate degrees] because general education courses are not required.”

To make it easy, you can look at weighing the pros and cons of an IT certificate in the same way you’d weigh the pros and cons of an associate’s degree in IT. It’s great to have, but might not be quite as good of a qualifier as a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

IT Certificates vs IT Degrees for Career Expansion

One of the best things IT certifications can be used for, sometimes even more so than helping you start a career in IT, is to expand the education and experience you already have to take your career to the next level.

For example, let’s say you’re a web developer with a bachelor’s degree from 10 years ago.

You’ve probably got things HTML, CSS, Ruby and PHP down pat.

But you notice that your company (and the companies whose job postings you like to keep an eye on) have been mentioning responsive development with increasing frequency.

Because you it wasn’t something you needed to know ten years ago, and because your company is just now catching onto responsive development, you feel like you’re a little behind and want to catch up so you can remain an A-player in your company’s development team… or at least keep your options open.

Rather than going back to schools for a new degree (which seems silly for just one skill set), doing an IT training course that teaches responsive development and getting a certificate to prove your new knowledge can be a great way to move ahead.

Choosing the Most Effective IT Degree or Certification

According to CIO.com, some of the best IT certifications to set your resume apart from the rest, even if you do have a full-blown degree include:

What about you?

Which IT degrees and certifications do you have? Which ones do you want to get to advance your career?