Top 5 Project Management Trends in 2012

Project management is a dynamic industry that is constantly changing with the times. 2011 has been a great year for people involved in project management and 2012 promises to be even better. The rough economy is forcing many organizations to focus on business process management to create efficiencies in their system. Meanwhile, the widespread availability of online collaboration tools has also made virtual project management popular. There are many other exciting trends this year and here are the top 5 project management trends you should watch out for:

1. Virtual Collaboration

This practice isn’t new but it will take off in 2012. More people will collaborate online to get training, access webinars, and complete projects. There are many reasons why businesses, from small firms to Fortune 500 companies, are starting to rely on the virtual landscape. The primary consideration is cost. Companies have slashed their travel budgets and the availability of online collaboration tools has made virtual collaboration a great substitute.

2. Focus on Business Process Management

In the good times, the interest in managing business processes has waned. But in today’s tough environment, it is seeing dramatic resurgence. It will put emphasis on maximizing efficiencies by eliminating wastage in organizations. The trend will continue throughout 2012 even if the economy improves. There are many business process management tools in the market. It is important for experts to be flexible and focus on core skills and concepts, instead of their ability to use certain tools.

3. Marriage between Business Process Management (BPM) and Project Management

The merge between these two practices is already being seen in the financial services industry. Organizational efficiency is being given utmost importance. In determining which project will be undertaken, the senior management executives are evaluating its impact on the overall business process in the company. The better a project is at reducing internal costs, the more importance it is given. For this reason, project managers should become familiar with BPM processes.

4. Blending Agile with Other Methods

Agile has successfully moved from conceptualization to mainstream application. However, similar to 2009-2011 organizations have varied and inconsistent use of Agile methodologies. This trend will continue. In addition, an increasing number of project managers are blending Agile with other techniques, resulting to “hybrid ” methods that may be more efficient. One example is Scrum-ban in which Scrum (an Agile method) is being integrated with Kanban (a Lean technique). Similar trends can be seen in the popularity of Scrumfall.

5. Project Managers to Measure Business Results

In the past, project managers focused only on assigning tasks to team members, monitoring progress, and evaluating the competed work. Increasingly though, they are being asked to measure the quantifiable effects of the project on the business bottom line. This is not always possible, especially in projects that provide intangible and indirect results. Nevertheless, this trend will continue because businesses want to see value for their investments.

These are just the 5 trends to watch out for. Project management will continue to surprise project managers and other industry insiders this year.

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Rosanne Lim

I'm a business graduate with 5 years experience as a web writer. I've written everything from in-depth business reports and magazine articles to product descriptions for ecommerce websites.