Project Management in 2013

Paul Naybour

One of the aspects of project management that I enjoy is the fact that it changes over time – new approaches, changes to existing methodologies, a growing reliance on project management within organisations of all sizes and simply more projects. This all means that more is expected of project managers but it also means we won’t get bored with a humdrum role. Of course, there are those who might be satisfied with doing the same old type of project using the same old processes over and over again but if you like a challenge and want to progress your career in the project management profession then you should embrace change with open arms.

There will always be the need for consistently good project managers even in the tough economic times in which we now live; indeed the need for good project management is even greater now as budgets are being squeezed and projects are becoming larger and more complex. An awareness of project management is also creeping into many aspects of business and many different roles not conventionally associated with project management so it is becoming important that even those peripherally involved understand the basics of managing a project as organisations strive to improve the success rate of their projects.

And project managers themselves will need to continue to develop their professional skills to keep pace with the changes and be able to demonstrate their knowledge of project management principles, techniques and tools; particularly those working as consultants who want to showcase their skills and continue to secure the best jobs.
Organisations are increasingly seeking certified project managers in their bid to manage projects more successfully. But, of course, there will always need to be a balance between experience and qualifications – no amount of certification will make up for real-world project experience and a PM with many years of experience on paper may not have kept up with new developments and improvements in PM methods.

Take, for example, the fact that an agile approach to project management has been rising substantially over the past few years. In 2010 Gartner predicted that by the end of 2012, agile development methods would be used on 80% of all software development projects. Whether that has happened in reality or not the very fact that the PMI (a bastion of more traditional methods of managing projects) have introduced Agile certification shows that Agile has gained recognition as a valid approach to project management not only for IT projects but increasingly for projects in other fields.

An Agile approach has been shown to reduce product defects and improve team productivity when used in a well-controlled working environment so all project managers should have their eye on how much further Agile becomes integrated into project management lore in 2013 and beyond. Agile project management allows for rapid staged delivery and is highly flexible to change so there seems to be no reason why it will not continue growing in popularity.
Another area to watch if you want to improve your project management capabilities is stakeholder management. In the PMI’s updated PMBoK Guide – Fifth Edition (published January 2013) a new knowledge area has been created on just this topic to focus on engaging stakeholders more in project decisions.

Lynda Bourne gives some good tips on achieving effective stakeholder management on the PMI blog:

1. Know who really matters.
2. Know why those stakeholders matter and what they need or want.
3. One size fits no one.
4. Attitudes change constantly.
5. Everyone is biased (including you).

Why not share what you will be doing in 2013 to improve your project management skills? Will you be getting up to speed on Agile or improving your stakeholder management or something else entirely?

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