5 latest trends in project management

There are many new technologies and trends in the realm of project management that companies are turning to as a way to achieve greater efficiencies. The link below is an article written by Mattias Hallstrom that outlines five project management trends that companies can’t ignore. These five trends are rolling-wave planning, becoming more lean and agile, becoming more customer-centric, improving activity streams, and becoming more social.

Rolling-wave planning involves planning out a project in various phases while the project is already underway rather than compiling an extremely detailed project plan before the project starts. I think rolling-wave planning is a concept that more companies should embrace – including my own. Mattias notes that “too much detailed planning at the outset of a project is wasteful”. Trying to plan every detail of an entire project before it even starts is difficult and is almost guaranteed to change as the project gets underway. With rolling-wave planning the project plan is more flexible and can more easily be adjust on the fly in response to any obstacles or challenges. We also have the opportunity to see rolling-wave planning in class as part of our fundraising projects. After submitting our initial proposals a lot of teams had the option to alter their project, and even as the projects move along things are certain to change.

Becoming more lean and agile is a common theme for many companies and involves maximizing efficiency. Mattias writes that the two key components of lean and agile are the last planner rule, which is when those who execute the work should plan it, and control through transparency, which is making work and workflows more visible. At my company I see a lot of control through transparency as a way to get as much project related information out to everyone involved with the project. SharePoint is the primary tool used to help achieve this and allows the project manager to more efficiently relay information to the team. This helps to make sure that everyone is in the loop throughout the duration of the project and is kept up to date with the progress.

A more rigid customer-centric approach is a trend that moves away from the standard framework of project management and looks to perceived customer value as a way to measure success. I feel that this is one of the more important trends because it provides more involvement from the stakeholders. By having the stakeholders more engaged with the team there will be greater communication and greater chance of success. I think it’s also important to have this type of visibility with the stakeholders because the team will be more motivated to complete a successful project if they are more engaged with the stakeholders.

The final two trends are improving activity streams and creating a social environment. Activity streams involve the use of technology to harness any information or knowledge related to a project and sharing it. This is an effective trend that can be used to complete deliverables more quickly and efficiently and also to help relay any important project related information or experiences. The social aspect of project management is a trend that continues to grow and involves the use of technology and management to better understand social behaviors as a way to motivate people and improve their use of technology to improve efficiency. In particular, the studies of human behavior and technology are crucial to the organization of a project because one of the tasks of project managers is to motivate and shape the behavior of those on the team as a way to achieve success.

What are some other project management trends that you have seen taking place?


BYOD to Work

Many of us probably already practice this at our current workplace or know of individuals that do. This phenomenon is known as BYOD (bring your own device) and has many implications for project management, especially IT project management.

BYOD is a recent trend that a lot of companies are witnessing. As the number of smartphones, tablets, and personal devices grow at an extraordinary pace on the market, more and more consumers are bringing these devices into the workplace and utilizing them for various work functions. IT project managers are now tasked with devising plans to combat BYOD as companies debate on whether they should fight or embrace it since BYOD comes with its fair share of benefits and risks.

Organizations that embrace BYOD have the opportunity to see their workforce productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction dramatically increase. If employees are allowed to use their personal devices for work related functions they’ll feel more satisfied about work and more drawn into their work by having the ability to use their own device rather than one owned by the company. Additionally, a particular company can gain momentum in terms of efficiency since its workforce would be more inclined to put in extra work outside the office such as reading and responding to emails. While these all sound like great reasons as to why more companies should embrace BYOD, there are also some challenges that come with it.

The biggest risk of BYOD is security. As companies open up their internal networks for personal devices to connect to they’re exposing themselves to unknown risks carried with these devices. Personal devices that do not have the latest patches or security updates carry a great risk when allowed to connect to a company’s internal network.  Also, the integrity of vital corporate information and data would be at stake. How is a company supposed to keep track of all the devices connecting to its network and accessing critical information? How do they implement measures to ensure that this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands? There are many ways that project management can help address these challenges by helping to lay the foundation for a fully integrated BYOD policy and project plan.

The link below is an article written by Will Kelly in which he outlines some of the important project management steps that should be taken in order to address the BYOD dilemma. The first few steps involve forming the project team and developing a fluid BYOD policy that can be altered throughout the project. Will notes that the policy can be adjusted “based on business conditions, technological changes, and other mitigating factors.”

The next few steps involve selecting a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution and looping in information security and legal departments to outline the data ownership policies in the project plan. One of the final steps, and most challenging, is adapting the help desk to provide support for personal devices. Companies may choose to implement a multitude of solutions as a way to support employees’ personal devices. For example, they could provide loaner devices as a temporary fix when a user experiences an issue. Or the BYOD policy can specifically outline which features or portions of personal devices the help desk will support and which areas will become the device owner’s responsibility. This step is crucial because the help desk will have added responsibility and pressure on them to provide adequate support for personal devices.

So while BYOD comes with its fair share of benefits and risks, with a sound project plan and concrete BYOD policy in place, organizations should have no problem embracing personal devices. In doing so, they’ll potentially be able to enjoy a more satisfied and productive workforce.