2013 Top 10 Trends in Project Management

“Leadership skills are lacking within the project community, and until project managers learn how to properly lead teams and their projects, project execution will continue to be a problem.”

Most projects being contemplated can fit broadly into the innovative spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is the most mundane, repetitive project a project manager might be asked to undertake, such as a desktop migration to a new application revision. Across this spectrum are projects with various degrees of novelty and challenges for management, particularly in the leadership department.

Assessing the degree of originality, and the associated risk and complexity, is one of the key analytical skills of mature project managers. Once the determination of innovation is made by the project manager, the prescription can vary greatly, especially if poor leadership and coordination is at the core.

Experienced project managers know better than to attempt writing a project plan for creativity. This is because they know that Innovation can be methodical. From new drugs to new consumer products like the iPad, innovation can be systematized, run as a project, and foster the creative freedom required while consistently delivering innovative results.

Project managers who are also leaders will always walk the fine line between creativity and routine and between control and chaos.

As the project environment grows in complexity, project management will require greater team, stakeholder and executive collaboration in 2013 like never before. On-the-job application of training, custom-made project approaches, innovative project tools and smarter resource management will be essential for driving the greatest business impact.  The 2013 trends reveal that expert leadership is lacking in all areas of project management, portfolio management and program management , which were determined by a global panel of ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts.

This year’s trends bring a murky problem into specific light,” said J. LeRoy Ward, Executive Vice President, ESI International. “Leadership skills are lacking within the project community, and until project managers learn how to properly lead teams and their projects, project execution will continue to be a problem.”

ESI’s top 10 trends for project management include:

1. Organizations will continue to call for strong project leaders but will focus on investments in hard skills

2. Agile implementation will be viewed in some organizations as a failure, but for the wrong reasons

3. Project management is not just for project managers anymore

4. Large projects pose unique challenges that are increasingly tough to overcome

5. PMOs will focus on proving their worth and driving innovation

6. The U.S. government will upgrade its PM certification in the face of rising criticism

7. Improving vendor management practices will top the list of skills for project managers

8. Continued poor project performance in many organizations will result in more PMOs being terminated

9. Portfolio management will take on a greater role as funding continues to tighten and the number of projects grows

10. Organizations will adopt Agile to accelerate time to market but what they ultimately achieve may be a different story

“Many of this year’s trends focus on the need to improve project skills, process and the overall management of our initiatives,” said Ward. “It is clear that it is no longer possible to hire project managers and expect results. We need our PMs to be experts, and take control of our projects to get maximum results.