Project management, as a discipline and business critical activity, is in a constant state of flux. Project managers and industry experts are continuously reimagining project management and pushing the envelope to fuel its evolution. We keep hearing about new development in this field and how the tenets of project management are being implemented into a whole new process all the time. While Agile project management was the trend in 2013, what are we looking at in 2014?
1. Agile project management will spread geographically
Agile, the top trend in 2013, will score heavily in 2014 as well. That’s because the adoption of Agile is still limited to a specific section of businesses and project management professionals restricted to limited geographic area.
Project professionals sitting in India, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia have noted the success of Agile, however, and they want to know more about it. No doubt project managers in these countries have already started implementing Agile to manage projects, but they want to understand more about this form of project management. This will help thwart the managerial resistance affecting the adoption of Agile project management.
There are plenty of people who thought Agile was a fad, only to realise that it is a compelling and beneficial project management model. This realisation is still to permeate project managers across the globe. 2014 will be the year that will see agile increasing its geographic footprint.
2. Project management will integrate with business functions
There was a time when the designation ‘project manager’ immediately associated the person with the IT department of a business but, because the function of the project manager is fast transcending the traditional confines of the IT environment, it is becoming more seamlessly aligned with other business processes.
Business-related project management, wherein the project manager works closely with the marketing, HR, or sales departments, will be an important part of a project manager’s job profile. No doubt, IT will be the core focus of attention for some, but the manager will be increasingly called on to play the role of project facilitator across different business functions.
3. Virtual learning will become integral to a project manager’s armory
Online learning will play a huge role in shaping the skill sets of project managers. No longer do project managers need to travel and take time out from their role to get the training they need from expert instructors. Instead, they can get access to the latest developments in project management and learn about their implementation virtually.
4. Project managers will become more cloud dependent
We witnessed the coming together of project management and the cloud in 2013, but this year we are going to see project management being taken to the cloud with even more earnestness.
As project managers begin understanding the cloud and what it brings to the table for facilitating better project planning, organisation and control, they will be persuaded to use this technology and make the best of it. Project managers can become more productive and efficient at their jobs due to the scalability and improved collaboration the cloud brings to the table.
5. Competition will heat up
Project managers have a difficult time of it ahead and organisations will measure their competitiveness by benchmarking their project management practices against their competitors. Every organisation wants to know where it stands in comparison with its competitors and project management implementation will be one of the important parameters it will weigh.
More importantly, project management as an activity will be institutionalised as a mission critical process, which means project managers will need to do everything they can to keep improving and reimagining their practices. The goal will be to come up trumps against other businesses in their domain. In 2014 and beyond, this isn’t going to be easy.
6. Open source project management tools will rule
The use of open source project management tools will become significant in 2014, more so than 2013. Being open source, these tools will allow project management teams to make some tweaks that suit their in-house practices, and conform to any innovation that they are implementing, for better monitoring and control of the project.
With the role of project managers in an organisation becoming more important, project managers will be called on to take up more challenging projects that require a special sort of planning and execution. This is where open source project management tools will serve them well.
7. Project managers will focus on delivery rather than trend
Project managers won’t be looking for the next big trend to make their mark, instead they will be more delivery focused than ever before. In an ideal world, the focus shouldn’t be on trends but on doing the job better, but in an intensely competitive world of business, it’s become the norm to look for a trend that can pay rich dividends from the project management perspective.
I’ve a feeling this particular trend of always looking for the ‘the next big trend’ will shift towards project manager’s doing what they do best: putting their learning and experience to good use. If a trend comes along which they believe should be adopted, they will; they won’t go looking for it.
Let’s see if these trends play out in 2014 or there’s something else in store for project management this year. What do you think?