9 Current Trends (and more) in Project Management

Looking to further your knowledge of project management? There are nine current trends to know (and a few extra for good measure) that could make you a more informed project manager.

According to the Las Vegas Informer, “In maintaining a virtual workforce, a project manager should always be informed with the latest trend; and in today’s age, new trends pop out every minute.” Written by Ana Rodriguez, who describes herself as having a background in “real estate brokerage, investing, online marketing,” the piece works well as a blueprint for staying on top of the latest trends.

Agile being used more globally: Rodriguez cites an article that states, “In a nutshell, it’s a successful combination of some of the best software development practices over the years, some of which are as old as programming itself, under one umbrella while reinforcing and compensating each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Virtual learning is key: As Rodriguez points out, “To save on expenses and time as well, project managers are now expected to learn through virtual means.” Here’s a good resource for online project management learning.

Project management in the cloud: OK, maybe that’s not a recent trend but it is worth remembering.

New collaboration tools: Trello and Asana are two tools mentioned. Asana was developed by one of Facebook’s less-famous founders Dustin Moskovitz. Trello, according to NJ.com, is “gaining popularity for project management, especially when working with teams looking to coordinate discussions and tasks.”

More scrutiny: Rodriguez says, “Best practices for creating a virtual workforce will now begin in ensuring that the first few, small steps of any projects are free from flaws or any mishaps.”

Less IT, more business: Project management will continue to evolve from information technology use to other areas of business like sales and marketing the article predicts.

Aggressive benchmarks: Project management teams will have to demonstrate not only their own progress but how much better they are than the competition.

Leadership, not management: That’s a trend validated by Robert Kelley, a managing partner at KPS, a project management consultancy and co-founder of #PMChat, a global community of project managers and business leaders that discuss best practices and lessons learned via Twitter. He says, “If you want to be a value-added (another business term shifting to overuse) member of your organization, then you need to become a leader that manages projects well – a Project Leader.”

Stay Ahead, Not on Pace: Rodriguez says, “These trends are not the goal; they are the means to arriving at the very goal of the team. Ensure success for the project by keeping up with the trends and tools and all the while keeping focused on the goals and the success of the project.”

There are some other trends in project management worth adding, including a move to elevate project management, software potentially making project managers obsolete, and time management.

The latter may seem obvious, but as Bain & Co. partners Michael Mankins, Chris Brahm, and Gregory Caimi write, “Some forward-thinking companies have taken a different approach entirely. They expect their leaders to treat time as a scarce resource and to invest it prudently. They bring as much discipline to their time budgets as to their capital budgets.

Software like Smartsheet could push a trend towards making project managers obsolete – at least at Netflix. Nancy Gohring, writing in CITEWorld.com’s blog, “Tales from the Cloud,” says, “[It] might come as a surprise that a couple hundred Netflix employees use Smartsheet to manage projects.” Those aren’t project managers using Smartsheet. Netflix apparently has no project managers.

With regards to the elevation of project management, Harold Kerzner, a globally recognized expert on project management, says changes are coming in the wake of the future definitions of both projects and project success evolving.


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Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.