Career Advice, PM 4.0 & Gig Economy

Career Advice, PM 4.0 & Gig Economy


Project Management Is Satisfying and Rewarding

There are very few professions in the world that provide workers with the satisfaction they can receive from project management.

Most employees in a company, including project team members, may see and work on only a small component of the end result. They perform their job, perhaps in the earlier stages of a project, and may never see how their efforts contributed to the final result.

A Project Manager sees an idea drawn on a piece of paper being developed into a final product. The PM sees the entire picture and how everything must come together. Seeing the achievements of one’s work and knowing that you may have been responsible for this, is highly rewarding.


Project management is “leadership without authority”

Project Managers may have little or no direct authority over their team, may have no input into the team’s wage and salary performance reviews, may have no control over whom the functional managers assign to the project, and cannot force team members assigned to multiple projects to work on their project in a timely manner.

Project Managers of the future must learn that they will not always have the authority they expect or the ability to control worker performance through the wage and salary performance review process.


Challenges to outsourcing project work in the Gig Economy

With the high cost of labour (recruitment, training, benefits and permanent employment), companies are finding it beneficial to utilise the gig economy. Boeing outsources 70% of the components on the Boeing 787 aircraft. Other companies, such as the auto industry, would much rather focus on assembly than manufacturing components.

The biggest challenge in a gig economy is when a company tries to save money by allowing Tier 1 suppliers to provide supervision for Tier 2 & 3 suppliers. There can be a loss of quality control, poor decision-making, and decisions being made in favour of the highest ranking gig provider rather than the customer’s company.

Contractors in a gig environment may be using their own list of priorities and risks that are significantly different from their customers’ needs and this can also affect decision-making.


Opportunities and Challenges in PM 4.0

For decades, strategic (rather than operational) projects were managed by functional managers whom the executives trusted rather than traditional project managers. With PM 4.0, project managers are now being asked to manage these strategic projects and are given a “line of sight” to the top concerning strategic business objectives.


Advice to Newcomers

Project management is probably one of the best career choices you can make. It provides life-long satisfaction. Take advantage of every educational opportunity in project management. You will never be sorry.



Harold Kerzner, PhD, Professor, author, is now Executive Director for Project Management at the International Institute for Learning(IIL). Having worked in the field of Project Management for more than 5 decades, he is definitely a witness of PM development. 

This article is an extract from an interview published by PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII–August 2019 titled “Interview with Harold Kerzner, by Yu Yanjuan, Project Management Education Is a Life-long Quest”.



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