Tendencies in project management in 2016

This article tries to show some of the current tendencies in approaching working in the spearhead companies of the industries they are part of.
Our demands as clients of products and services, are very high, we ask that they are renewed constantly, and companies are forced to adapt the deals they offer all the time. The way companies try to satisfy materializes in a few tendencies of approaching project management. Our work consists of implementing projects even if we’re not used to approach it as such. Projects are now adopted by big and small innovative companies in all departments as a procedure.

These companies understand the importance of this approach and significantly invest, making sure that employees, teams and their different departments have the necessary resources to produce the desired impact.

In a previous article, I have succinctly presented a comparison between traditional methodologies of approaching projects and those called Agile, meaning those that adapt to changes that take place during the implementation of projects.

The way we work changes permanently and we are forced to adapt to the changes in environment, technology and objectives. Smart companies equip their employees with abilities to make them capable to think creatively, strategically, to manage change in a flexible, but structured way while keeping an eye on the big picture.

Project management as a science has evolved during recent years from a technical approach to one that leads to having results in a flexible way. In January of this year, TwentyEight Strategy have published the tendencies in project management for the current year.

I will talk about some of them presently.

The Agile approach to project management is gaining ground. The Agile approach in project management goes deeper and deeper in other industries than informational technology, where it grew roots already. Innovative companies recognize the need to provide employees with flexible thinking abilities, trying to create a balance between traditional methodologies and the Agile ones, to get to their intended goals in an extremely competitive environment.

The expansion of the strategic roles of project managers. Project management focuses more and more often on implementing solutions more rapidly with a great impact on the business. Therefore, managers are asked to think strategically and to be responsible for the financial performance of the company. Smart companies train their employees to manage this different role compared to the classical one, where they were responsible for conforming to an allotted budget.

Change, change, change – the principles of change management. Change is intrinsic in everything we do. Every project is the source of change, therefore the necessary instruments for managing change need to be known by project managers. Change management focuses on relationship and critical thinking skills. Companies have learned that in order to manage change, employees need more than technical knowledge and abilities, as these are insufficient for implementing it. Without an efficient change, projects don’t reach the desired organizational impact. Smart companies provide the ones responsible for projects, the necessary resources and training to manage change rapidly and with impact.

Managing the complexity of current activities. The current business environment is more and more complex, displaying a lot of interdependencies between information and relationships. Understanding and interpreting information regarding a project, people involved and the existing links, are essential abilities to break down a project in fragments that can be understood by everyone. Long term vision companies have understood that the project based work is the one that will lead the company to stability. The most favored employees are those that can simply explain complex situations, and for them to develop, they need both technical and relationship skills and knowledge.

The expansion of project management in support sectors. Project management isn’t addressed anymore strictly to professionals in the field, but has found its way in domains like marketing, sales or logistics. The benefits are measured in increased efficiency, strategic alignment and increased customer satisfaction that in turn lead to bettering the performance of companies. Companies that embrace the principles of flexible project management ensure that employees develop their skills and know the instruments to reach the intended goals.

The need for design thinking. Design thinking, innovative thinking, is a major tendency in approaching problem solving. This way of thinking encourages finding atypical solutions to face challenges. Progressive companies encourage employees to find approaches that maintain an equilibrium between adaptability, flexibility and discipline, with the purpose of accelerating innovation.

The significance of portfolio and program management (PPM). Portfolio and program management has become an integral part of general management and what today we call leadership. In fact, PPM has become a key element in implementing company strategies, because any effort for development requires work being organized into projects. Therefore, monitoring the way that projects and programmes fall within the general strategy of the company has become essential for all managers within a company. This is why companies focused on future development encourage the individuals responsible for projects to report dysfunctionalities in the alignment of project results to the general strategy. For the purpose of success, employees are encouraged to develop analysis skills.

Sorana Rotta

Consultant