The rise of Generation Z in project management

Save for later

Favourite

In my previous post I mentioned that a university education isn't right for everyone and the new Project Management Apprentice scheme now enables young people to embark on the first steps of a career in project management straight after A Levels. But what might that mean for the makeup of project teams in the near future and the generation gap between new and more established project team members?

It is likely that teams will be comprised of the "old guard" who took the traditional route into project management via a degree, then working in their chosen industry before moving into projects; and Generation Z who will be significantly younger, typically born after 1995.

One advantage of a very young team is the energy and enthusiasm they can bring to a project – always a bonus when you have a tight deadline to meet. But there will also be challenges so just how can you best manage a youthful team, who have widely used the internet from a young age and are comfortable interacting on social media, to maximize their skills and capabilities to the project's advantage?

 

Terminology and tools

First of all ensure you are all talking the same language; terminology used by those born before 1995 can be markedly different to those born after so it is worth establishing common terms upfront so everyone knows what everyone means by certain phrases.

Generation Z are the "app for everything generation" so there may be some compromises on both sides: older team members may come to learn the value of apps that can help everyone stay informed but younger team members may come to learn the value of a long-term, considered approach – of course, depending on the type of projects being completed.

 

Working practices and values

Many younger people will be used to instant communication and response tools and not appreciate the value of a detailed response to a request. They may not even appreciate the importance of detailed research and information gathering prior to making decisions. If this is the case, and the project warrants it, then clear guidelines should be set out especially for young team members who may be at a very early stage in their training.

And that means setting out expectations at every point of communication, whether that's an email, phone call or meeting, every time. They should also understand that not every answer can be found via an internet search but may require discussion and brainstorming. Brainstorming is the ideal opportunity to uncover innovative ideas from younger team members that could benefit your project and your organisation.

 

Share responsibility

On every project there will be tasks that less experienced team members can take full responsibility for and this is a chance for project leaders to discover what each team member is capable of when given the opportunity. That doesn't mean you won't monitor and help when necessary but it does mean not micro-managing the less experienced members. After all they may discover the best solution to a problem if left to solve it by themselves.

 

Motivation

If you want young people to continue to be enthusiastic about a project – even during the hard times - then you do need to acknowledge their input and reward it in the same way you should motivate any team member. A public thank-you (or a private one, as appropriate), a coffee or a beer after work all go a long way to motivate and enthuse all team members.   

If you nurture and encourage the energy and enthusiasm younger team members possess, those qualities can reinvigorate your projects.

default

Posted by .pnaybour on 28th Apr 2017

About the Author
Paul Naybour is Business Development Director for Parallel Project Training. He is a well known speaker in the APM Branch Network, a Project Management Training and Consultant, working for Parallel Project Training. He also runs the PM news site Project Accelerator.

Comments on this site are moderated. Please allow up to 24 hours for your comment to be published on this site. Thank you for adding your comment.
{{comments.length}}CommentComments
{{item.AuthorName}}

{{item.AuthorName}} {{item.AuthorName}} says on {{item.DateFormattedString}}:

Share this page

Login or Register to leave a comment:

Recommended blogs

Would you like to earn more?

12 January 2017

Take a step back. How long have you worked for Acme Project Managers Ltd? Is it time to seek new opportunity? While employed, you can of course take your time and make sure any move is a good move.

Save for later

Favourite

Your guide to hiring apprentices

27 June 2017

Want to employ an apprentice but don’t know where to start? APM’s guide for employers is what you need to help you navigate the different options on offer whether you are a small business or multinational organisation.

Save for later

Favourite

Recommended news

Event

How to become a project manager [Video]

11 May 2017

APM has created an introductory video 'How to become a Project Manager' on what your project management career path could potentially look like.

Save for later

Favourite

Event

Trailblazer apprenticeship survey

3 August 2017

Your feedback is required - please can you follow the link below to complete a short survey regarding the Level 6 Trailblazer qualification.

Save for later

Favourite

Join APM

Sign up to the APM Newsletter.