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?


Blackberry: A Globally Local Phenomenon?

I use my Blackberry more than I would like to admit (thanks to the curse of BBM); most Blackberry users do! Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) has been producing the Blackberry since 1999. Today, Blackberry accounts for 3% of the total mobile sales in the world. Though this may seem to account for a small number, the Blackberry has had significant social implications in the region in the past few years. The Blackberry has redefined the way people interact not only with their phones, but also with one another. Thanks to their instant messaging platform Blackberry Messenger (BBM), RIM was able to make messaging, sharing photos and broadcasting information so easy and so accessible. In doing so, RIM was able to penetrate markets, such as ours in the Gulf, to meet market demand for easy exchange of information and media. Keeping in mind objectives and strategy in a global environment, I will explain this blackberry phenomenon in the context of operations management.

Having this in mind, it is important to understand the RIM, while initially aimed for a business customer base in North America and Europe, was able to diversify into Middle East markets, particularly in the Gulf where mobile phone usage is very high. This issue of globalizing the business explains that RIM was not only able to understand the market at hand, but also learned to improve their operations abroad to attract and retain global clients and talent. In seeing this shift in global markets and adapting to this new commercialized leisure customer base, RIM began providing better goods and services that keep in mind the cultural mindset and markets. They introduced the “display pictures”, for example, to their popular BBM application and made photo sharing instantaneous and easy. Both these features show that this interaction between foreign customers and the supplier (RIM) can lead to new opportunities and extension of the life cycle. This clearly coincides with the fact that blackberries have shown an extended growth in life cycle across Middle East markets in particular, and in doing so, they are also able to improve operations by allowing for the free flow of ideas and creation of an improved product fit for both consumer and producer.

With this new market in mind, RIM needs to think of perhaps hiring more local talent based in the Middle East, in a way to further ensure success in the region. In doing so, RIM can make its mission explicit by allowing for an employee base that understands cultural implications and habits. This could help solidify the strategy for the company and make it more concrete and attainable. By doing that, RIM can continue to produce the Blackberry, ensuring a loyal client base in the Middle East and other global markets that are consistent with its reputation, values, and its ability to generate profits by capitalizing on market and cultural trends.

With new market trends on the way, most notably Instagram which only works on the iPhone (and more recently on Android), how do you think RIM needs to respond to ensure growth, profitability and loyalty by its client base in the Gulf?