4 Project Management Trends for 2017 that Might Surprise You

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Every year even the perceived static world of project management changes somewhat. Even sometimes for the better. Trends happen, ideas and methodologies change a bit, and companies work to build PM infrastructures that manage projects better and have better tools at their disposal.

Here…below…are four trends that I’ve been predicting and demanding and am finally seeing and hearing are happening – at least to some degree – throughout project management infrastructures in organizations. Please think about trends you might be witnessing as well and share your thoughts after reading…

The emergence of top level project management leadership in the corporation.

I suggested it – along with others, I realize – and it seems to be catching on. Not necessarily as the CPO (Chief Project/Program Officer) I envisioned, but I am seeing more PMO directors reporting directly to C-level individuals and even the CEO in some cases. This is good news – as in order to have a successful project management infrastructure – especially in larger organizations running more complex and high dollar projects – it is imperative that your organization’s senior leadership be involved and back the endeavor full-on.  Otherwise, projects that are conceived in the organization may be run as one-off efforts by internal departments and individuals forced into one-time PM roles with no past PM experience and therefore no lessons learned knowledge or available templates to work from to help ensure more frequent project successes.

Company-wide project status reporting.

I’m a proponent of one size fits all project reporting to meet the needs of all stakeholders with one weekly report so the project manager isn’t spending all of his time tailoring reports to meet the requests of different groups interested in his project. The one size fits all report must have a great dashboard that can show project health at a glance for your C-levels who need that info fast and even your customer will want that for passing up the chain of command in his organization. But what we are also seeing is an emergence of project status reports going out almost as enterprise-wide newsletters to the entire organization. And why not…it helps give team members recognition throughout the project for jobs and deliverables well done, and it is a quick, smooth way to make sure that anyone who might need info on a project…has it. Amen…smart move.

Executives sitting in on project status meetings.

I’m seeing it personally more and it’s a good thing. And I’m hearing it from colleagues. Senior leadership needs to be involved periodically in ongoing project status meetings – both to help keep projects on track especially when trouble arises and to show those very important and high-paying clients that they care. I’m not saying that a CEO can solve a technical problem ailing a project. Rather, if a project is in trouble, they can become more aware by attending and be better equipped to know which roadblocks they need to help knock down to get the project back on track. Please, it tells the client that “we are on this.” Both help a lot. And in times of the smooth running project, it just speaks loudly saying “you are important to us.”

Project managers becoming more involved in the pre-sales process with clients.

I did this once with an organization in the early 2000’s…helped all of my internal departments that I was leading projects for run through estimating so they could budget well for their upcoming year full of project needs. It worked so well – all their project budgets…looking at them one year later…we were much closer to on target than had ever been the case. Get those project managers involved early on as full-on engagement managers and there will be less customer  expectation setting and re-setting once the potential project becomes a real project and is ready to be kicked off and have requirements gathered. Project managers are better equipped to provide a more clear picture of what a project will look like and cost in terms of effort and outcome and what the customer needs to be involved in along the way. And now, from what I’m seeing and hearing from colleagues, it is happening to a greater degree than I’ve ever witnessed before.

Summary / call for input

There are other important trends in PM that are emerging, I’m sure. However, these four have always been important to me and I’m finally seeing them happening at least to some greater degree. How about our readers – what are you seeing in terms of any new happenings in project management? Any new client demands or needs that are emerging? Please share and discuss.

Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland has written this article on behalf of Stellar Velocity. Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM author with over 25 years experience as a developer, manager, project manager and consultant.

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