Professional Development – What do PMs Opt For?

Is professional development for a project manager just a matter of reading a book or journal? In a recent survey by Arras People the question was put to the project management community – “What professional activities have you undertaken in the last 12 months?” The most popular at 63% was reading a book or other PM publication. Interestingly we asked about their plans for the next 12 months and it seems like books are just not enough, with more opting to venture into the online world of podcasting and webinars to help their professional development.

In the last 12 months just 40% of project managers took a look at webinars as a source of gaining new knowledge and skills whilst 43% had downloaded and listened to podcasts. Looking forward to the next 12 months 60% of project managers are thinking about webinars and 57% podcasting.

For many project managers, none of these methods were attractive – 56% had not undertaken any of the options listed and furthermore 44% were not interested over the next 12 months either.



Some would argue that qualifications and training courses are the pinnacle for professional development, in the project management world over the last 12 months 45% of project managers agreed. It’s also set to be on the agenda over the next 12 months too, with an extra 10% of project managers looking to undertake a training course (55% in total).

The shift from reading books and attending conferences to more online methods like podcasting, webinars and getting involved in the PM community through groups & forums could mean two things. Expense and evolution. Professional development does not have to cost the earth – in fact it doesn’t have to cost anything other than time and energy. In terms of evolution, the access to content through smartphones and devices, the social networking options, the ease of access in connecting with others has given project managers more options. In the survey we also asked project managers about their online presence in terms of which social networks they had signed up to:


LinkedIn is overwhelmingly popular at 88%, followed by Facebook (68%) and Twitter (41%). It’s still early days for Google+ and YouTube for project managers and only 7% have abstained from joining any. Looking back at the Project Management Benchmark Report in 2011, just over 14 months ago, LinkedIn was being used by just 72% of project managers, with Facebook at 60% and Twitter at 20%. Now that feels fast paced to me – so is it any wonder that project managers will be looking at different options for CPD activities in the future?

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  1. This post is very interesting in that it gives some evidence for a trend I’ve seen for myself as well as PMs I work with, in the adoption of self education through online interactive mediums like webinars and discussion forums as well as in person seminars. Things are so fast paced now that you have to do more than just read a book to stay ahead!

  2. Very interesting post indeed, I was looking for such a study for some time. However, how come 63% of the respondents have read a publication while 56% haven’t taken any initiative… aren’t both mutually exclusive?

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