Project Management

5 Ways Gen Y Will Alter Project Management

The Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, and One Direction are all different takes on the same concept. Take a group of fresh-faced boys, teach them to sing and dance about love, and watch the money pile up. What primarily distinguishes one group from another is the style and trends of the times. This same principle applies to project management, and as Generation Y works its way up the food chain of business, V. Srinivasa Rao predicts project management will change to fit the predilections of these newcomers in five ways:

  1. Make it lean.
  2. Make it digital.
  3. Make it emotional.
  4. Make it enjoyable.
  5. Make it flat.

At the risk of implying that Gen Y’ers like myself are a bunch of doofuses, the author claims after careful observation that Gen Y project managers become impatient when they must spend more than fifteen minutes finding, reading, understanding, and analyzing information. As a result of this impatience, project management processes will necessarily become leaner, especially through technology. Along those lines, digitization of mobile and social processes will occur so that work can be done at any time and anywhere, as well as create high predictability through analytics. When it comes to getting emotional, the author believes:

From my experience, Gen Y likes to hear real-life project experiences and stories from seniors, mentors and coaches. They do not like to hear lectures and speeches. Therefore, storytelling in projects will become necessary to keep Gen Y engaged and motivated. This significantly impacts the leadership style of managers, who will need to move beyond how-to lessons and speak of past experiences “in the trenches.”

Project management is projected to become more enjoyable through a “gamification” of the system, including perhaps points, badges, leader boards, and levels to promote quality and work recognition. Any encumbering performance assessments will fall by the wayside. Likewise, hierarchical structures in the workplace will find themselves flattening into a more open and collaborative space. Less barriers means more communication. Project management will fulfill all the same functions it always has once Generation Y assumes control. The differences will lie in the style and sensibilities. The previous generation may not agree with all of the changes, but then again, I still believe that One Direction does not deserve to be spoken in the same breath as Backstreet Boys. You just have to remember there is no accounting for taste.

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