Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2010… believe them if you can

ESI International has revealed its 2010 Top Global Project Management Trends and the key theme for 2010 is metrics, metrics and more metrics.

As organisations switch their focus from surviving to demonstrating business value, metrics will play an increasingly important role in keeping management informed about project performance and its impact on the bottom line and customer service.

A global panel of consultants and senior executives assembled by ESI in November identified the following trends.

Programme and project managers, under pressure from senior management to demonstrate project portfolio performance and its impact on the enterprise, will make the pitch for – and win – resources to implement project portfolio management solutions. This will provide the fact-based decision-making senior management needs.

In 2009 our experts predicted a greater role for requirements management and development, also known as business analysis. Reliance on RMD to determine metrics to track project performance will increase in 2010, helping to quantify organisational performance improvement for management.

1. Senior Executives Will Embrace the Value of Project and Programme Governance

To facilitate improved organisational performance, project and programme governance will be embraced from executive management to the project managers. This will help performance by ensuring the portfolio, programmes and projects align with organisational resources and goals across the enterprise.

2. PMOs Will Go to the Next Level with Centres of Excellence

During the previous decade we saw the number of PMOs and their positive business impact increase significantly. PMOs will use this position of strength as a jumping off point to establish business analysis centers of excellence either within the PMO or alongside it to further improve project outcomes.

3. Demand for Agile Project Metrics Will Increase

With the increased use of Agile project management approaches, including the various implementations of Agile methods (e.g., Scrum), senior management will demand quality metrics that clearly demonstrate the value of Agile over other PM approaches for specific projects as well as Agile’s impact on the achievement of organisational objectives.

4. Vendor Management and Programme Outsourcing Will Move Front and Centre

The trend of outsourcing will leap forward in 2010 as organisations continue to look to do more without permanent increases in staffing and other resources. Thought leading organisations will use project management principles to guide their contracting and outsourcing processes, leveraging project managers’ skills and knowledge in schedule, risk, requirements and quality management to remove gray areas and hold the contractor’s “feet to the fire.”

5. Risk Management will Become an Obsession

The greater emphasis on financial risk management will trickle through to other parts of the enterprise where risk assessment principles can be used to drive performance. This will lead to an increased focus on PM risk assessment with an emphasis at the programme as well as the portfolio level.

Organisations will seek a clear delineation between systemic and non-systemic risks; the determination and management of risk factors that could jeopardise success; and dependencies between programme and portfolio components.

6. Crisis Environments will Leverage Project Portfolio Principles for Better Outcomes

War zones, global pandemics and natural disasters will continue to present new challenges for non-governmental organisations and governments worldwide as they seek to do more with limited resources. Project portfolio management principles will help ensure that the right projects are selected and achieve the desired outcome. PPM will serve double duty in helping to effectively measure and communicate progress to donors and taxpayers.

7. Learning Measurement will No Longer be a “Nice to Have”

In 2009, many organisations implemented first-time learning initiatives focused on project management maturity as a way to jump ahead of the competition. These forward-looking organisations required programmes be based on insightful pre-assessments that drove the design of learning programs, along with ways to assess progress and demonstrate performance improvement. 2010 will see an unprecedented increase in organisations using assessments to pinpoint their PM learning needs, track progress and identify the ROI senior management is looking for in this critical investment.

8. Learning will Push out of the Classroom

To improve PM learning retention rates, and keep employees on-the-job as they learn, organisations will seek to leverage recent technological advances that help adults learn outside of the traditional classroom. This will be achieved via a range of learning modalities such as “burst” learning that focuses on a particular skill area for two to four hours, on-demand reference tools, electronic performance systems, job-aids and increases in formal coaching.

“While 2008 and 2009 wasn’t easy, it gave PM professionals a rare opportunity to demonstrate their value, and the value of a systematic project management approach, under extreme pressure,” said LeRoy Ward, executive vice president, ESI.

“This is why wise senior managers continue to invest in increasing their organisation’s PM skills and capacity. They want to ensure success of projects essential to producing great products, improving customer satisfaction and driving revenue and profit growth.”

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