A Quick Look at Key Project Management Trends

Trends in IT Project management

By Chris Dunne

The demands of working in a complex, around- the- clock, global economy is a reality that many committed professionals face these days.  This certainly rings true for the project management function within organisations that are tasked with complex customer project execution and meeting the key deliverables – on time completion and within budget.  What are the key drivers today for ensuring success in today’s increasingly hectic environment?  A quick peek at emerging trends tells us that further improvements are in order!

To this end, an article written by Computer Weekly contributor, J. LeRoy Ward discusses the latest Project Management Trends that companies should leverage to boost their project management efficiency.

Some of the key points that the article covers is as follows:

  1. Invest further in your programme management efforts – programme execution success is often curtailed by an organisation which lacks the methodologies and human expertise to run it effectively.  The “programme” is incorrectly simplified to a “project” status which can result in failure due to the former’s complexity.  Companies are beginning to invest in the relevant business tools and skilled human capital to cater for “programme management” which has more far-reaching impact than project management. A closely related topic is Project Portfolio Management – balancing an organization’s investment across a range of projects to achieve the best overall outcome. At Daysha we’ve witnessed both of these trends in our customer engagements and beyond. Without exception the effort involved in getting things set up and running correctly is underestimated.
  2. Use collaboration software solutions – the rise of the Internet and the need for disparate workers (both local and global) to collaborate within a project team has fueled the development of collaboration technologies.  Adoption of these continues to grow which boosts efficiencies as workers interact at anytime from anywhere. We’ve touched on some of these collaboration solutions in previous blog posts, but with the advent of social media platforms for the enterprise, we will see a greater degree of collaboration. But we are not there yet and there seems to be no consensus on how best to make use of such tools.
  3. Learning transfer is valuable – as project managers return from training such as the PMP/ScrumMaster certification program, the ability to directly apply those skills back to their jobs is of key concern to senior management.  Measuring the application of knowledge allows organizations to evaluate the “Return on Investment” (ROI) of training staff and this is a growing trend. However it is also of concern to us that little or no emphasis is being placed on knowledge transfer within teams. We know that the employment market, particularly in IT, is very fluid and retaining staff is extremely difficult. In fact its almost guaranteed that somewhere along the way, during a critical project, someone with vital knowledge, will leave. Organizations need to ensure that there is a process for documenting and handover of as much knowledge as possible, that this is shared across the team, and that outgoing staff do their best to make the transition as smooth as possible.
  4. Appreciate the value of tying project work to business process management – From a customer’s viewpoint, measuring the success of a completed project as a standalone effort no longer suffices.  Instead, a customer company’s management is increasingly looking at how any given project positively impacts other business processes – or how it does not. As projects are executed they become learning grounds, mistakes are made, and innovations come to the fore. Its up to the organization to learn from this.
  5. Certification is not the only thing that organisations value – there are more project management positions than there are certified professionals.  As the demand for project skills continues to escalate to especially a global level, companies evaluate candidates on other criteria such as the ability to lead teams and manage risk as opposed to just technical skills or familiarity with a specific domain. It is our view that the demand for project management staff can be met or at least partially filled by cross-training experienced management staff from other industries and sectors.
  6. Focus on business result impact – project executives are assessed these days not  on achieving the traditional project metrics (on-time, on-budget) but on whether their projects have positively contributed to the company and are in line with the company strategy.

These are all Project Management Trends worth keeping an eye on.  Companies actively engaged in providing  project-related services from simple to the most complex must take into consideration these  emergent trends which show little signs of slowing down – in order to be competitive and consequently, successful.

To learn more about our IT project management capabilities, please contact us.

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