Project Management

Project management trends to watch in 2014

Read Andy Makar's predictions about what will be the hottest project management trends in the coming year, and then let us know if you'd make changes to his list.

 

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With the new year just weeks away, it is fun to play Nostradamus and make predictions about project management trends for 2014. These are five trends I think you should watch for in the project management domain.

1. Project management roles continue to develop in the business function.

The concept of a project manager is no longer restricted to IT. Several years ago, system implementations were staffed with IT project managers and a business resource who had project and operational responsibilities. Business organizations are getting smarter as they begin to mirror the IT project management role to ensure successful implementations. 

The concept of establishing a business owner to represent the department's IT priorities will continue to grow. This business/IT lead will take on business-related project management tasks (including project portfolio prioritization) and work directly with the IT project management staff to ensure project success.  HR, finance, legal, and other business functions will invest in project management training to help implement organizational changes that were once expected to be completed as part of business operations.

2. More project schedules will move to the cloud.

In 2014, more firms will move to cloud-based project management tools to support scheduling and collaboration. Innovative tools like LiquidPlanner, AtTask, ProjectManager.com, Wrike, and Gantter have useful project scheduling tools that are direct competitors with Microsoft Project. In 2013, Microsoft's Project Online with Office 365 also introduced improved web-based scheduling with its flagship product. LiquidPlanner (Figure A) and AtTask have improved their project scheduling features to provide different ways to develop and manage a project schedule collaboratively.

Figure A (click the image to see a larger view)

 

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These solution providers will continue to innovate the project scheduling domain, and more firms will take advantage of web-based scheduling tools that are platform independent and work in mobile environments. Individual scheduling on a single client machine will eventually be replaced by these innovative scheduling solutions.

As collaborative scheduling increases, you'll wonder how could we do it any other way.

3. Online collaboration tool adoption will increase.

Web-based document sharing solutions have been around for more than 10 years, yet these tools are being replaced by seamless collaboration platforms that move teams out of their inbox and into the collaboration platform.

In 2014, more firms will adopt collaboration tools like tibbr, Asana, Trello, and Siasto to manage tasks and provide lite project management support. We've already seen a lot of these tools integrated with Dropbox, SharePoint, Google Docs, and Box in 2013. As the collaboration space improves, platforms will provide an integrated collaboration suite instead of disparate instant messaging, document management, and desktop sharing tools.

4. There will be more of a reliance on resource management.

With scheduling and project data centralized, resource management becomes a feasible option. PMOs will develop a better view into the work pipeline and in determining existing capacity. By integrating project schedules with collaborative task tracking and time keeping, real-time resource curves can be developed to obtain a top-down view of the project pipeline.

Using the platform, data-driven decisions will improve resource and project portfolio decisions instead of subjective guessing over who has capacity to take on additional work.

5. Distributed teams will continue to grow.

As firms leverage collaboration solutions and have better visibility into project and portfolio progress, the reliance on distributed teams will grow. Collaboration tools help flatten the obstacles to communication, enabling organizations to access talent across the state, country, and world without relying entirely on co-location.

Seven years ago, conference calls and text messaging were the predominant means to collaborate as a distributed group. In 2014, better collaboration tools will improve the way teams work and support greater distances.

Trends are nice, but delivery is better

Emerging trends may seem like shiny objects that can distract project managers from their agreed goals.  Regardless of new trends, effective project managers should continue to focus on the technical and leadership skills that help deliver projects. Customers will value delivery over the latest collaboration tool. However, I'm convinced that these trends will only help improve delivery in 2014.

 

 

About

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of How To Use Microsoft Project and Project Management Interview Questions Made Easy. For more project management advice visit http://www.tacticalprojectmanagement.com.

16 comments
geraldvonberger2002
geraldvonberger2002

It's really good to see these types of trends. I own a small business and we're planning on expanding quite a bit this next year and adding a lot of employees to keep up with our clients' needs. That will definitely require some hefty team task management. I particularly liked the section in the article on cloud management software. That seems like it would be a good fit for my company. http://www.teamfocus.me

Melissa James
Melissa James

Excellent article about <a href="https://www.greycampus.com/">Project Management</a>. Thanks for sharing.

Bakist
Bakist

Very interesting article. The Cloud is THE trend of these last years in project management. With the increasing mobility of workers, the cloud seems to be the solution to keep a project team together even remotely. In my company we use Beesy that has a Web and iPAd version, which makes my team more productive both at work and out of office. I think this kind of PM software that are cross-platform are the future.

davidrogers22
davidrogers22

A really helpful article. As an team lead, i had been having issues with viewing gantt charts in quite of few apps. Only 5pmweb gives me quite a lot of flexibility. It would be great if you review trends in pm apps as well. Thanks 

vitaver
vitaver

Thank you for such a complete list of project management trends. As you are yourself an IT Program Manager I am sure this is a very dear topic for you. I work for an IT staffing company Vitaver, which is based in Florida.  Our  recruiters wonder which of these trends can help the potential Project Managers to succeed during their job interviews?  Should they already provide a proof of their competence in all those spheres?

Thank you.
Tobes64
Tobes64

Yes I agree with most of this, such as : online tool collaboration will continue to increase.  We had a look at Asana and some of the others not too long ago and a colleague mentioned they were using Dooster which we tried (Dooster.net) and are finding it enhances productivity and that we're less exhausted.

prush
prush

I'm surprise Zoho didn't make the list. 

Kyosti Kallio
Kyosti Kallio

Someone pointed me here. I assume that these trends concerns SAP or similar one-off, internal IT integration assignments, not software business or product development. The trends that will continue to strengthen are:

1) no more project managers or PMOs (teams working directly with customers or business)

2) no more projects (continous development, lifecycle optimization, devops)

3) distributed teams will dismiss (co-located teams adds minimum 200% increase in performance, makes work much more fun and human)

4) as real, co-located teams has become the de-facto setup, visual management will take over any digital tools and management software (real data always at hand)

dieter_w
dieter_w

Thank you Andrew for this short and complete summary.

Only your favour for the cloud I can't follow. A project based company never will store its basic company's value into the cloud. Immediately it will be known by NSA and then - maybe? for sure? -  by competitors.

Cloud: You never know where your data is - and if there is any privacy regulation.

Gents, be careful with your and your employer's data.

SteveK22
SteveK22

The first item on your list is hardly a new trend. Project management has been an important skill set in non-IT sectors for a long time. The university I attended more than 20 years ago had a semester long project management course in the civil engineering department.

sanket.pai
sanket.pai

Very interesting and valuable. 

A more integrated solution seems to be the way ahead. To sum it up in 3 words Project Management would be Manage, Collaborate, Share. The web is the way ahead coupled with effective and talented leadership.

casey
casey

I would add a three trends to this list:


1. Significance of a PMP certification will diminish as failed projects from "paper" PMPs continue to proliferate.

2. Adoption of "Agile" practices will continue to impact "classic" pm approaches.

3. Use of labor-based budgeting will increase over task-based planning.

Danroot
Danroot

I think Trello will move to the front in this space. They've got features, a generous free tier, and a budding integration ecosystem, thanks to rich API. I like the product so much, I'm working on a book about the tool ( http://leanpub.com/trellodojo ) that describes how various markets, such as legal, sales, real estate, etc can put it to use. Whether or not 2014 sees people get on board with driving business value with lean managent tools like this is another question :)

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