9 Current Trends (and more) in Project Management

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kwalford
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Dear All,

What are your thoughts to the below article? The leadership point I feel is prevalent. I also find the last point on Smartsheet software interesting. I just cannot see how this can entirely replace a PM, but it must work for Netflex!

http://www.projectmanagers.net/i/9-curr ... anagement/

Looking to further your knowledge of project management? There are nine current trends to know (and a few extra for good measure) that could make you a more informed project manager.

According to the Las Vegas Informer, “In maintaining a virtual workforce, a project manager should always be informed with the latest trend; and in today’s age, new trends pop out every minute.” Written by Ana Rodriguez, who describes herself as having a background in “real estate brokerage, investing, online marketing,” the piece works well as a blueprint for staying on top of the latest trends.

Agile being used more globally: Rodriguez cites an article that states, “In a nutshell, it’s a successful combination of some of the best software development practices over the years, some of which are as old as programming itself, under one umbrella while reinforcing and compensating each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Virtual learning is key: As Rodriguez points out, “To save on expenses and time as well, project managers are now expected to learn through virtual means.” Here’s a good resource for online project management learning.

Project management in the cloud: OK, maybe that’s not a recent trend but it is worth remembering.

New collaboration tools: Trello and Asana are two tools mentioned. Asana was developed by one of Facebook’s less-famous founders Dustin Moskovitz. Trello, according to NJ.com, is “gaining popularity for project management, especially when working with teams looking to coordinate discussions and tasks.”

More scrutiny: Rodriguez says, “Best practices for creating a virtual workforce will now begin in ensuring that the first few, small steps of any projects are free from flaws or any mishaps.”

Less IT, more business: Project management will continue to evolve from information technology use to other areas of business like sales and marketing the article predicts.

Aggressive benchmarks: Project management teams will have to demonstrate not only their own progress but how much better they are than the competition.

Leadership, not management: That’s a trend validated by Robert Kelley, a managing partner at KPS, a project management consultancy and co-founder of #PMChat, a global community of project managers and business leaders that discuss best practices and lessons learned via Twitter. He says, “If you want to be a value-added (another business term shifting to overuse) member of your organization, then you need to become a leader that manages projects well – a Project Leader.”

Stay Ahead, Not on Pace: Rodriguez says, “These trends are not the goal; they are the means to arriving at the very goal of the team. Ensure success for the project by keeping up with the trends and tools and all the while keeping focused on the goals and the success of the project.”

There are some other trends in project management worth adding, including a move to elevate project management, software potentially making project managers obsolete, and time management.

The latter may seem obvious, but as Bain & Co. partners Michael Mankins, Chris Brahm, and Gregory Caimi write, “Some forward-thinking companies have taken a different approach entirely. They expect their leaders to treat time as a scarce resource and to invest it prudently. They bring as much discipline to their time budgets as to their capital budgets.

Software like Smartsheet could push a trend towards making project managers obsolete – at least at Netflix. Nancy Gohring, writing in CITEWorld.com’s blog, “Tales from the Cloud,” says, “[It] might come as a surprise that a couple hundred Netflix employees use Smartsheet to manage projects.” Those aren’t project managers using Smartsheet. Netflix apparently has no project managers.

With regards to the elevation of project management, Harold Kerzner, a globally recognized expert on project management, says changes are coming in the wake of the future definitions of both projects and project success evolving.
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dhaughey
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Hi Kit,

An interesting and thought-provoking article. I'm not sure the role of the project manager is ending anytime soon. Project managers have been around for thousands of years. They may not have been called project managers, but that doesn't matter, they were carrying out the role, long before software was around.

Can software manage difficult project team members, negotiate a supplier contract, find creative solutions to problems, celebrate success with their team? No, didn't think so.

These are the current trends I see impacting project management in the coming months and years:

1. Better Collaboration in the Cloud
As technology advances, better ways to collaborate are appearing and although these are not specifically designed for project management; they offer many benefits to project teams. One advance in particular, Cloud Computing, has allowed better document collaboration across multiple locations and electronic devices.

2. Geographically Dispersed Project Teams
More and more teams are working across different geographies in the name of cost reduction and efficiency. It's common for large projects to have significant sections outsourced to India, China and other emerging economies.

3. Agile Project Management
Agile is the word on everyone's lips at the moment. It's seen as an exciting new approach to project management and a refreshing change from the traditional slow and cumbersome Waterfall method. Although Agile isn't a new concept, it's gaining traction and certainly has benefits for many projects.

4. Virtual Learning
There are more and more informal podcast and virtual project management training courses appearing in the market. As graduates look to enter the profession, they are often limited by their finances and can't afford to attend classroom training. Training providers are filling this gap with cost-effective podcasts and virtual training that provides the same qualifications, but at a lower cost.

Any other thoughts on emerging trends in project management?

Duncan
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kwalford
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Hi Duncan,

It is funny you mention Agile as a 'hot topic' in project MGMT. I recently got a copy of the APM's 6th Edition PMBoK and they freqently mention in every section about Agile but seldom mentioned it in the 5th Edition (written a few years back). What industries (construction, IT etc) is Agile suitable for? I was under the impression it was mainly for Software Dev projects, is that assumption right?

Also, I see Virtual learning prevalent in 2014 onwards and there are tons of providers offering PM training via online videos (like CBT Nuggetts).

Many thanks,
Kit
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kwalford
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I suppose the answer to my previous Agile query, is yes it is a framework meant for Software Development projects.

Agile Link:

http://www.allaboutagile.com/what-is-ag ... rinciples/

Could you apply Agile to other industry projects? Our projects are IT Infrastructure projects (servers, internet connections etc) and I am keen to know if Agile would apply to these types of projects.
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dhaughey
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I think IT and software development in particular, drives project management advances. Certainly Agile is very IT focussed, I can't imagine Agile would work well in the construction industry.

I think the jury is still out on Agile. There is some nervousness as witnessed when a manager recently agreed to have his project Agile and then asked for a detailed project plan, day-by-day until go-live.

That manager wanted to see everything planned out, but was willing to do the build phase in Sprints and make changes if necessary. This hybrid approach seems popular - Waterfall until the build phase - Sprints and then Closeout.

I wonder how many high-value, high-profile project are fully Agile?

Duncan
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