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Project management experts sound off: Trends for 2016

Ahhh Project Management, the 100+ year old (no, really!) technique of getting stuff done. But as techniques and technology continue to evolve, we figured it’d be a great time to catch up with project management (PM) experts and ask them to look into their crystal ball and predict what trends they see coming in 2016.

PM will come to also stand for “People Management”

Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner

Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner, says that project management in 2016 isn’t going to be focused on the project itself, but rather on the people that are involved.

“People make projects go, and are typically the largest expense on a project. When a team is overwhelmed or over-allocated, failure is inevitable,” she says. “Great project managers are really great people managers; they’re religious about knowing where time has been spent, and they rely on resource allocation forecasts to make sure the entire team has just the right amount of work. More and more, we think the role of the project manager will become that of a people manager in 2016.”

Pearce also says that Agile, a popular style of project management that’s often used by developers, won’t be limited to the tech side anymore.

“Agile is not just for software developers any longer – in fact, many departments and business leaders have implemented agile methodologies in an effort to accelerate business and product development. Project Managers are key to this evolution and those that practice agile methodologies will not only deliver value faster, but will be sought after to teach others within the business how to harness the power of customer feedback and continual planning.”

Project Management Portfolio software is going to become more important

Michael Dubakov, Founder and CEO of TargetProcess

Michael Dubakov, Targetprocess Founder & CEO, sees project management merging or absorbing with another software category.

“There is a clear trend for the merging of Application Lifecycle Management [ALM] software and Project Portfolio Management [PPM] software. This trend began in 2014 and will dominate in 2016. Most ALM vendors are implementing PPM capabilities while PPM vendors try to acquire ALM companies (CA bought Rally Software) or provide tight integrations with ALM tools.”

Like Liz Pearce said above, Dubakov also sees Agile project management being applied to and implemented by other departments. “Agile and Kanban project management practices became mainstream in software development in recent years and now they spread to other areas, like marketing, support, HR, etc. In 2016 we will see company-wide agile adoption for all departments,” he says.

Project Management will be used and applied as early as possible

Bill Mabry, PMO Director at Salesforce

PMO Director at Salesforce, Bill Mabry, also sees PM methods being used in other parts of companies, reaching all the way to the top. He uses a hypothetical acquisition as an example of the changing nature of project management.

“Project Management will continue to increase its scope and be seen as a discipline used by trusted business advisors to the C-Suite,” he says. “As an example, in many cases where one business acquires another business, the primary set of activities that become projectized are the post-acquisition activities, usually the IT related activities. The project/program is complete when the business processes and IT systems are integrated.”

“In 2016 and in years forward, the program will actually begin prior to the acquisition, in the corporate strategy phase,” he continues. “Activities in this stage may include assessing alternatives to achieving a certain corporate goal, such as increasing market share, preparing the business for the possibility of an acquisition, and the valuation and due diligence of target companies.”

“Further, the program will not end after the systems and processes are integrated, but will continue until the business benefits have been measured and realized.  These types of large programs will be lead by seasoned internal or external trusted business advisors who have strong program management skill sets.”

Stay ahead of the curve

It can be easy to avoid new techniques and stick to tried-and-true methods, but you should be open to new tips and strategies. What do you see as upcoming trends for project management? Do you agree with what our experts said? Let us know in the comments!



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Matt Mullarkey-Toner :Matt is a writer at GetApp covering security, BYOD, and IoT. Prior to GetApp, he spent five years working for various news organizations in the United States and UK, before spending a year writing about mobile applications. His interests include cooking, the NBA, and rattling off trivial factoids.