University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Project Management Monthly: December 2013: Tips and Tricks
  Six Project Trends That Will Change Your Job
Recent articles and webinars on project management and business analysis are projecting all sorts of upcoming trends in the world of projects. The UWM School of Continuing Education has culled six of the most realistic and relevant changes that may impact you and your organization.
  1. Projects Are Becoming More Customer Centric
    Project Management theory is focused on the triangle of costs/resources, schedule/time and quality. Reducing a project to these three components suggests the project is a mechanical system. But in practice, projects do not work like mechanical systems. Today, project management academics and practitioners are moving toward defining project success as the delivery of perceived customer value. This is called customer-centric project management and it is about continuously engaging stakeholders. No matter how you optimize time, cost or quality, the customer service you provide every day will increase the perceived value of the project.

  2. Technology Is Changing – Again
    Technology is changing how project teams work and the projects they
    work on.  

    The profusion of social media, collaboration, and communication tools continues. We are seeing that team members, particularly virtual, are making use of more and varied applications than ever, and not always in a coordinated way. 

    In addition, the emergence of new projects in social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC), means organizations must make sure their project management approach includes new or refined project lifecycles, templates, checklists, best practices, lessons learned, estimation techniques, risk registers, etc. Organizations must train project managers effectively to prepare them for managing SMAC projects – educating them on trends, and the effects of those trends.


  3. Organizations Are Focusing on Program and Portfolio Management.
    The combined power of project portfolio, program and project management enables Project Management Offices to deliver business results, and these offices are being held more accountable to prove their worth. As such, it behooves project managers to expand their career growth and acquire new skills and experience in the areas of program management and portfolio management.

  4. Lean and Agile Are Here to Stay – But They Are Evolving
    Organizations value lean and agile approaches for their ability to connect with what the customer wants and to empower the people working on the project to plan the project. Organizations, however, have had mixed success with these methodologies and are learning when to use them. Some organizations are using agile approaches on new types of projects. Others are recognizing that each person in a team needs to be able to influence stakeholders.

  5. Hard Skills Are Not Enough
    With the focus on customer-centric projects and the changing roles of team members, developing so-called “hard” skills, isn’t enough. Organizations are now seeing the need to improve their workers’ behavior-oriented competency skills. Relating to stakeholders and demonstrating the value of the project are just two of the roles that require soft skills. Project professionals should consider becoming trusted advisors to their stakeholders, and pursue training to help them perform this role.


  6. Project Teams Are Changing
    The roles of project team members are changing and so are some of the projects themselves. 

    As the role of the business analyst evolves to include more involvement in defining business requirements and ensuring customer satisfaction, the way that project teams – including BAs and PMs – interact changes, too. Organizations need training to understand the ways to align their human resources with the new project needs. Also, more projects are being initiated in functional business areas such as marketing, sales and human resources. This requires organizations to refine their project lifecycles for new types of projects.
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