The Evolution of Project Management Education

evolution of project management

Project managers, like leaders, come in many different forms, and if we’re lucky, we’ve experienced strong leadership and project management at some point or another in our careers. Good project management requires a blend of skill, organization, and breadth of knowledge. Practitioners rely on both education and experience to be successful. They also need to adapt with the changing times. It is a career that has seen much change recently — and can expect more to come. The climate of project management, perhaps more than other fields, may be evolving as fast as our technology.

An Expanding Field

Projects provide the means to deliver unique results within a defined time period (Project Management Institute (PMI)®, 2013). Project managers lead project teams to deliver a unique result, which often involves meeting an enterprise’s strategic objectives. Several concepts that have been developed over the last few decades are coming together in the field of project management. In the new Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), the Project Management Institute (PMI) is expected to expand its focus on some of these concepts. Project strategy and leadership are now a part of the PMI Talent Triangle™ (PMI, 2017), and it has enabled projects to focus on business results and strategic objectives rather than tasks (Shenhar, Milosevic, Dvir, & Thamhain, 2007). 

Agile Project Management Software

Expanded techniques also include agile project management, program management, and portfolio management. Further, there are numerous agile project management techniques that have been introduced initially in the software domain to support this development. Program management involves the coordination of multiple projects that support a common objective, and enables project teams to share and use best project management practices. Companies rely on portfolio management to ensure that they focus on the right projects and manage all of them effectively (PMI, 2013).

Evolving Project Management Education

New project management educational methods and degree specializations are expected to emerge to address new project management techniques. As project management educators, we predict the impact of major trends in project management  on education will likely be realized in the coming years. The major trends include adding: (1) project strategy and leadership, (2) agile project management, and (3) program management and portfolio management to curriculum.  

As project management evolves to include more and more exciting techniques that match the changing landscape of the business world, be prepared to adopt forcoming best practies from the field. Continue with us in this series as we discuss the education behind strategy and leadership, agile project management, program management, and portfolio management in detail, explaining how these are key areas of focus for the future of project management.


Written by Dr. Donald McKay, Associate Dean for Management Studies in the Forbes School of Business & Technology™.



Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (5th Ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (2017). Continuing certification requirements (CCR) handbook. Retrieved from

Shenhar, A. J., Milosevic, D., Dvir, D., & Thamhain, H. (2007). Linking project management to business strategy. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

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