Oooh, it’s dangerous to make predictions for the future, but I thought I’d give it a go. Project management seems to be changing quite a lot at the moment, and it certainly feels like over the last couple of years we have (finally) taken some leaps forward in thinking and, as a profession, deciding where we should be headed. So, time to lay my neck on the line and tell you where I think project management is going.
Creativity takes teams back to the office
There’s been a lot of talk about flexibility, work/life balance and all that. And we’ve made great advances in managing virtual teams. I work from home some of the time, and from hotel rooms at other times, or on the train. My workspace isn’t just my office desk.
Having said that, there is something to be said for hanging out with your colleagues. You can get more creative and solve problems more quickly. I just don’t think the technology is there to enable the sort of creativity that you get with the whole project team in a room together.
There will always be a need to work apart, especially as we draw on expertise wherever it is based in the world, but I think there will be a drive towards getting people back together as much as possible.
This is, apparently, where the conversation is at. Waterfall is dead, long live Agile. Actually, I don’t think it is that extreme. There are thousands of companies who haven’t adopted Agile but plenty more that have opted for an agile-light approach, with just enough process and just enough release management to get changes and features into projects without being able to say that they are truly Agile with a capital A.
I think we’ll see more of this hybrid agile taking off as companies need to move more quickly and get products to market even faster. And ‘proper’ Agile will also grow in adoption.
Metric-driven project management
This year it’s been all about reframing stakeholders as customers. Next year (while that customer focus will continue) it’s all about metrics. KPIs and dashboards aren’t new tools but at the ‘professional’ end of project management (in comparison to the ‘accidental’ end), we’ll be managing by metrics more and more.
Leadership and beyond
Career paths at the top will take you out of project management.
Sustainability has been on agenda for a while but it’s now linked to profitability. Businesses have previously been able to pick and choose green projects because they helped improve their local reputation or because they satisfied some audit requirement. But now, with budgets being even more squeezed, sustainability supports profitability.
For project managers, this means more projects with a green focus and more weight being given to sustainability on other types of projects too – look out for green project metrics and business cases with green benefits.
OK, so that’s what I think is going to be important. How about you? What trends have you seen and where do you think project management is going? Let us know in the comments below.