Jon Swain, President of Ten Six Consulting, predicts that BYOD, cost savings, project entrepreneurship, sponsorship and a business focus will be the trending topics for project management during 2013.
Building on the success of a number of global projects last year, 2013 will continue to see project management hold fast as a profession to watch, predicts Jon Swain, President of Virginia Beach enterprise project management consultancy Ten Six Consulting. He shared his predictions for the project management profession this week. Swain is forecasting that the Bring Your Own Device trend, continued economic challenges, a focus on project sponsorship and on making portfolio management business wide, combined with a more entrepreneurial approach to managing projects even in large companies will all shape projects this year.
1. Project management software will embrace mobile
The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend continues and companies are realizing that they have to allow employees to use their own tablets and phones for work purposes. “This year we’ll see more project managers using their own devices at work,” said Swain. “This will give them access to cloud-based project management software as well as other applications.” Employees often prefer to use their own devices for work as the familiarity makes them faster at completing tasks and they don’t have to carry around several devices.
“Companies will be looking at how all employees can work more effectively and enabling project managers to work remotely via their own devices is one way of ensuring project work can continue even if the project manager is not at his or her desk,” Swain added.
2. Cost saving will still be a priority
“Last year we saw companies stripping out costs through internal process reviews,” said Swain, “but as the economy is still fragile, managers will be looking for additional cost savings and cost stabilization.” This year will see companies continuing to review project prioritization with a view to investing in the projects with the best return.
3. Project managers will become more entrepreneurial
“Company culture is changing, and while cost saving is still a priority, calculated risk through project entrepreneurship will rise,” said Swain. “Not all projects are suitable to be run like a start-up, but many projects will benefit from allowing project managers more flexibility.” Project methodologies and processes will still be important, but Project Management Offices (PMOs) will start to take a more entrepreneurial approach to planning and management.
“We’re starting to see more PMOs apply methods and enterprise project management tools in a flexible way to suit the needs of the individual project and team,” said Swain.
4. Project sponsorship will be taken more seriously
In the past many project sponsors have led the project in name only. “That’s changing,” said Swain. “Now our engagement with companies starts with a strong commitment from senior leadership and in the majority of cases the executive project sponsor is keenly interested in the project throughout its lifecycle.”
Project sponsors are getting their own literature and certification schemes. There is a growing acknowledgement that the sponsorship role is a key factor for the success of projects, and as companies cannot afford for projects to fail, sponsors are stepping up into their leadership roles.
5. Project management will become more business driven
“Up until now portfolio office management has been mostly the domain of IT,” said Swain. “It’s now adopting much more of a business focus.” Portfolio offices are typically responsible for the prioritization and management of projects and programs within an organization. This approach has now been successfully proven in the IT arena and will be more widely adopted through other business areas as well.
Portfolio management in this way will ensure that C-suite executives can effectively manage and monitor the return on investment for projects across the whole business, not just those managed by the IT department.
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