2010 Trends in Project Management

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Summary:
2010 brings with it multiple trends for project management. It is not surprising that many of these trends will help mature the world of project management as we know it today. Just as businesses must be flexible with market conditions, project management professionals and organizations must also adapt accordingly.

2010 brings with it multiple trends for project management. It is not surprising that many of these trends will help mature the world of project management as we know it today.  Just as businesses must be flexible with market conditions, project management professionals and organizations must also adapt accordingly.

In talking to industry leaders in project management - several trends stand out.

Economic conditions have changed - Companies are changing - and project managers must understand these changes to be the leaders needed in 2010.

Trend 1 - Enterprises continue to look for Efficiencies in Process & Technology
Companies will continue to look for ways to become more efficient and save money in both the short & long run.  They will do this by re-evaluating their processes and technology.   Lean Thinking will take precedence in influencing how this happens.

"Clients are asking themselves a few key questions:

Are we doing things the most efficient way possible?

How can we improve our utilization of people, process and technology?"

said Michele Frank at Tryton Solutions (a consulting company that specializes in optimizing technology solutions).

We will see Lean-Kanban approaches emerge in management processes and projects as companies take a look at "where they are today" and determine where it makes sense to optimize work flows and limit the amount of work in process to achieve the improvement results desired.

Richard Leavitt, EVP of worldwide marketing at Rally Software adds to this by saying, "Emerging IT management practices will incorporate and be measured on Lean Principles such as:

  • Smaller batch sizes of work,
  • Watching queue sizes of work,
  • Limiting actual work in process (WIP), and a
  • More continuous "flow of value" to customers."

From a technology standpoint, organizations are taking a step back to look at their IT portfolio (hardware & applications). "Data warehouses, architectures and infrastructure upgrades are just not happening like a few years ago," said Michelle Frank from Tryton Solutions. Instead they are incrementally improving the technology they already have.

Enterprises will be in search of PMs that have a broad range of technology and process improvement experience. Especially PMs with knowledge in tuning and making legacy technology perform to its highest ability for customer satisfaction and to meet customer SLAs. As well as PMs that understand business processes well enough to apply Lean Thinking to them - making them more efficient and effective for quicker results.

Trend 2 - Agile and Lean Processes are overtaking Waterfall
With the need to do more with less, the demand by executives for "predictability" in projects and customers needing valuable deliverables produced quicker - Agile and Lean processes will become much more the norm rather than the exception in projects during 2010.

Rally's founder and CTO, Ryan Martens, said that "2010 continues the evolution from traditional phased, stage gates to iterative & incremental program reviews."

"Agile and Lean processes passed the tipping point in 2009 and Waterfall/RUP is in decline. In 2010, project and portfolio management (PPM) must bridge the gap between Agile planning and progress metrics (e.g.  velocity, points, etc) and traditional financial measures of hours and dollars," adds Richard Leavitt, EVP of worldwide marketing at Rally Software.

“In 2009, PMI and SEI recognized the appropriateness of agile PMs within their space. In 2010, both of those communities will experience a dramatic change.  I’m in a unique position to see what people are planning, and I can say with certainty that 'agile' will be talked about by people who have never heard of it before. There will be droves of newcomers finding it awkward to discuss a modern approach to management. But, there will also be experts who have to confront the trend of their niche becoming commonplace," adds Jesse Fewell, co-Founder of PMI'sagile  Community of Practice.

TRAINING will be needed...
Companies are already trying to transition to agile, but when we look under the covers we see they are really just doing waterfall in short iterations.  So without proper training on how to do this transition, a concern will continue to grow regarding project managers' ability to deal with a new Agile world.

"Unfortunately there are still many project managers who are far more comfortable with a traditional world of command and control that will struggle in this transition to more of an Agile world," said James Christie,  a Chartered IT Professional from IBM.

"Larger companies have a mandate to go to Scrum, but they're not adding the engineering practices, they're not getting training (especially product owners), so they're having trouble," said Johanna Rothman, CEO and Agile Consultant/Trainer from Rothman Consulting Group)

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