7 Project Management Trends to Watch

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Each year, there are new trends in project management. I wanted to weigh in with a few of my thoughts on what they might be this decade.

1. Beyond the triple constraint
Organizations have been looking to have a good mix of project, program and portfolio managers. Organizations should re-design and build project management systems thinking beyond the triple constraint.

The combined power of project portfolio, program and project management enables delivering business results not limited to the triple constraint.
For example, if a project was delivered on time, within budget and with required quality, but the project outcome doesn't provide expected value, then in my opinion, the project should not be considered successful.

As such, it behooves project managers to expand his or her career growth to acquire new skills and experience in the areas of program management and portfolio management.

2. SMAC project management
Due to the emergence of new projects in the social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC), organizations must make sure their project management approach includes new or refined project lifecycles, templates, checklists, best practices, lessons learned, estimation techniques, risk registers, etc.

Organizations must train project managers to prepare them for managing these SMAC projects by educating them on these trends and how (or if) they will affect them.

3. More projects, different business functions
Projects will start to be identified in different business functions where they might not exist very often, such as sales, marketing, alliances, human resources, etc. Marketing managers, sales managers, HR managers, finance managers and the like have to acquire project management skills to deliver better results in their respective functions.
Organizations should refine their project management strategy to include project lifecycles for all projects and training for all managers. Project Management Centers of Excellence (COE) have to focus on creating special learning assets to train managers on project management in other functions.
4. 'Project-ized' education
In academics, course curriculums will be increasingly 'project-ized.' An engineering course, for example, could have more than 40 projects in the span of four years. Implementing those projects will enable students to learn through multiple and cross-discipline subjects. Students could look back on all of the projects in those years as a "project portfolio."
5. Every employee is a project manager
Project management means having a mindset of systematic planning, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure. Every task should be considered as a tiny project.

For example, writing a software code as part of a larger IT project should be considered a tiny project. Project management principles will be applied to successfully deliver the code on time and with high quality.

Creating this mindset across an organization requires cultural change. In many organizations currently, only a few people focus on project management. With the practice of considering every task as a tiny project, the need to have 'self project management' becomes prominent.

The best way to train employees to think like project managers is through on-the-job training. Teach employees to create mini-work breakdown structures, mini-schedule, self-reviews and corrective actions.

6. Project entrepreneurship
Project entrepreneurship means project managers must develop an "entrepreneurial" mindset. This enables project managers to take on risks, foster innovation and focus on business value rather just looking at the traditional triple constraints.

7. Program management offices (PMOs) as profit centers
PMOs will be transformed from cost centers to profit centers. PMOs will build very high-end consulting skills and offer services to business units on a profit basis. PMOs will focus on an 'outside-in' perspective and move away from an 'inside-out' perspective. PMO drivers will be around customers, markets and the economy, and not just limited to internal efficiencies.

This means that project managers have to understand the outside-in perspective. They have to focus on outcome and the value to be delivered to customers.
Posted by V. Srinivasa Rao on: August 06, 2012 01:53 PM | Permalink


Prashanth Shankhawaram
Below are my two cents

1. Beyond Triple Constraint - One of the points that you mentioned is "but the project outcome doesn't provide expected value, then in my opinion, the project should not be considered successful." Isn't it the case that the expected value is only realized over a period of time after the project is completed, implemented and the product of the project put into use? Do I miss something here...

2. SMAC project management - I fully agree on the requirement of training to the Project Managers on the latest trends; companies should be able to undertand the ROI on such initiatives. Over the past few years I have seen that the role of Project Manager is not properly defined. In most of the cases, a PM is purely a Team manager who only oversees team member's performance during the various phases of the Project apart from may be a little tracking and monitoring work. I am not seeing a PM geting involved right from initiating a project until its closure.

The bottom line is that training is required at an organizational level and the role of a PM needs to be properly defined.

3. 'Project-ized' education - I like this idea of having projects throughout the semesters. I would like to emphasize concepts of Requirements Engineering and Management, Schedule Management, Team Management and more specifically Project Finance.

4. Project entrepreneurship - I would like to tie back to my point under 2. SMAC Project Management wherein I said the role of Project Manager is not properly defined. I strongly feel that unless this conflict is resolved, Project entrepreneurship might not be easy to achieve.

5. Program management offices (PMOs) as profit centers - Again I have in my personal experience have seen and heard a PMO is only addressing Internal processes, standards and controls. The PMO, in most cases, doesn't have any authority on the project. So a proper set of policies and governance needs to be put into place to make PMO into Profit Centers.

PM Hut
Elaborating on the last point, PMOs functioning as profit centers is a must. I'm not sure whether it's possible for the PMO to act like that. Also, keep in mind that the roles, responsibilities, and authority of the PMO varies greatly from one company to the other. In some companies it authorizes projects, in other companies it merely defines PM standards and monitors the project management aspect of the projects.

Don Kim
While I agree with the idea of the PM being more entrepreneurial, this ironically, runs contrary to most companies's culture of conformism and aversion to risk taking. As a PM, you have to be very careful about taking on risks and treating a project like a start up if the company you work within does not have a culture that encourage such bold initiatives.

Atul Gaur
I fully agree with the facts brought out in this post. (a) Many times we do complete projects but still feel unsatisfied with the way the targets have been achieved. I feel the value that the project brings apart from the margin should be quantified and communicated to team members well in advance so that every body can work and achieve both tangible and intangible gains from the project. Organisations should concentrate internal deliverable (values) as much as on satisfying project stake holders by delivering the project with in triple constrains. (b) Every employee as a project manager is a good concept and is especially important in a matrix organisation structure where project managers have a much larger challenge of getting things done with in the organization. Most of the times functional managers assign resources but fail to understand the larger picture of the project w.r.t to schedule, deliverable and values. PM training to all is necessary in order to develop better appreciation of the PM's role and its strategic significance (c) Point no 6 and 7 are equally valid and significant in the present market trends. PM needs to demonstrate a business manager like mindset with key focus on customer satisfaction, delivering projects under unpredictable economic scenarios and also drive business and growth in challenging market conditions. PM is a brand ambassador for his organisation.

Not surprised to see PMOs as profit centers. With expanded and evolving role of Enterprise PMOs in delivery processes, it makes perfect sense for them to be considered profit centers. At various large organizations they already have a say not only in the process framework & resource management but also in risk and issue management and financial management side of the project & program initiatives. Being evolved as profit and delivery centers shall be a natural outcome that would position PMOs more strategically than operationally as the case most of the time. Value of Enterprise Project Management Office http://buff.ly/PdQxOW Cheers! Prozen Consulting Inc, www.Prozenconsulting.com

Saket Bansal , PMP , PMI-ACP
Value over Constraints , this is what agile project management is all about, yes in day to day performance monitoring we should keep eye on value we are expecting from the product outcomes.. SMAC is something which need to be learned by all ... not only Project Managers Going forward, the project managers also has to change their leadership style.... command and control is not anymore effective ...

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