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Trends in Project Management

Just a few short decades ago, project management wasn’t a part of the everyday business vernacular. Although it was practiced in some cases, we didn’t have a name for it and it wasn’t thought about very much. Then suddenly sometime in the 1960s the concept had a name and companies started hiring consultants and project managers to provide oversight on specific projects. Fast forward to 2013 and even those days are gone as project management continues to evolve before our eyes. Here are a few of the key changes and trends we are seeing in the field that might help you keep your project management skills in top shape going forward.

  1. Everyone’s a project manager. Today, while there are still a growing number of Project Management Professionals, it seems every position in the organization entails a bit of project management no matter your department or title. From the administrative staff planning the team’s annual offsite to the manager in charge of rolling out a new department or the marketing director with a new brand launch, we all have projects of varying sizes that need to succeed. As organizations realize this, they need to create a cultural shift throughout all of the employees and help them to understand that even their seemingly humble to-do list may benefit from project management skills. Not everyone needs a full certification, but project management courses are sure to benefit individuals and organizations by teaching about better focus, more effective planning and ultimately, the higher quality results that come through proper planning and working.
  2. Project Management Professionals have expanded roles, too. This project management expansion beyond the traditional Project Management Professional is significant to both PMPs and others that are not certified as well. If you are a PMP, it is no longer enough to get your certification and think you’re done. Project Management Professionals are now finding they need to brush up on, or acquire in some cases, the softer skills of business in order to succeed. As organizations realize how many opportunities there are for project management to impact their goals, project managers are called upon to interface with more departments, bigger projects and more cross-functional projects. As a result, it is imperative that they understand more than the project management technicalities from training. They need leadership, communication and other basic business skills. Gone are the days of laying out a schedule of tasks, brushing off your hands and moving on to the next project.
  3. Greater need for customer focused project management. Related to the expanded role of the Project Management Professional is the concept of being more customer-focused. PMPs can no longer rely on the original project timelines, schedules and roadmaps as the unalterable decision makers for the project. As customer needs evolve, it often requires a need to change the project. This is where the softer skills come in and help the PMP to understand what the customer needs and why it is important while balancing that with the impact to the overall project. The Project Management Professional’s combined hard and soft skills will give them the knowledge to alter the project as needed and also to communicate effectively with the customer so that all parties understand what changes are or aren’t being made and why.
  4. Outsourcing and Vendor relationships need project management. Finally, as companies continue to rely on outside contractors, vendors, etc to help them meet a variety of needs, they have come to realize that the gain in the bottom line financially is often at the cost of direct oversight. Enter a project manager role to manage the outside contractors work and plans to ensure they are aligning with the organization’s ultimate needs. These project managers may require development in extra skills as they are often working with added challenges of distance, time differences and even language barriers.
  5. Social, Mobile, etc are new areas that require project management skills. More organizations are entering social, mobile and other platforms of working/communication/etc with their customers and clients. This means more projects in non-traditional spaces with which project managers may not be familiar. Training in these areas and other new spaces as they continue to develop is vital to PMPs in order to keep their skill sets, and themselves, relevant and ready to approach whatever projects come their way.

Whether you are a Project Management Professional, an aspiring Project Management Professional or simply someone in need of a good foundation in project management principles, Parallel Project Training offers training courses to meet your objectives. The courses are highly practical, engaging and informative. As an accredited APM training provider and PMI registered education provider, Parallel Project Training is able to provide you with the quality of training you need.

 

About Paul Naybour

Paul is a project management consultant and account manager with particular expertise in the analysis, process development, and implementation of change program management, risk management, earned value management, and bespoke project management training development and delivery. Paul is the Business Development Director of the company Parallel Project Training

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6 comments

  1. Hi Guys,
    Project Management is all about keeping the Stakeholders engaged in the delivery process and constantly massaging their egos whilst keeping an eye on Scope, Cost, Time, Risk, Profitability and Quality.
    Yes, everyone in is a PM of their domain be it technical or otherwise. Today, it is a must that escalation channels are well defined for Vendors to get paid on time and to achieve that a lot of socializing is mandatory with the Customers and internally.
    Team building exercises may be often seen as an expense but let us face it, we need it more than ever given the confidence shattering environment of Global recession. cost cutting and off-shoring.
    Best regards,
    Andy Singh
    MSP, PMP and ITIL certified

  2. Hi Paul, it’s a very interesting and timely topic (lately, I saw quite a few threads on Quora where people were asking about the latest trends in PM space). The 1st described trend is especially interesting. I read that over 70% of employees can be called “accidental project managers” today. Even if their work isn’t a project per se, there are certain components that require the manager take on the role of a _project_ manager.

    Also, I’d add the expansion of distributed teams to this list. It’s getting more and more common to work across several locations, and for the project manager, it implies some additional challenges to get such a team in sync.

  3. Even though project management is being seen more and more as a proper profession with a defined career path rather than just a job alongside your main job, there are still very many people who are these “accidental project managers”. They may have neither the aptitude nor the desire to be a project manager and, I believe that is contributing to the still too-high rates of project failure or just projects that are not done very well.

    We all look at statistics for the notable project failures but never at those projects that are theoretically a successful completion but actually don’t meet the customers needs and are never used or end up with an ongoing raft of changes to try and get the product to do what it was supposed to n the first place.

    If project managers were selected on experience and aptitude instead of being assigned the role by default maybe project success rates overall would improve

  4. I would argue that the evidence is beginning to show that we are getting better and better at delivering successful projects, time was when every project went wrong, not some do very well.

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