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Top 4 Project Management Trends in 2018

The future.

It will soon be here…or at least 2018 is just about ready to burst into life.

What’s in store for us in the project management world? I’ve borrowed the DeLorean from FuturePMO to take a sneak peek.

Here are my top 4 PPM trends for 2018:

Embracing project management

It might sound obvious to you as you might assume everyone is already ‘doing’ project management. But they’re actually not, or if so, they;’re doing it at a very low level of maturity.

One of the joys of my work is that I spend time with a wide range of clients across many industries helping them make a step change in their PPM maturity. Many organisations have yet to really benefit from the PPM basics.

What are the basics? I’d include some approval & oversight governance, project stage gates, a consistent scalable methodology and benefits tracking. Even the establishment or development of a PMO.

It never ceases to surprise, or perhaps disappoint me, how much of the industry has yet to benefit from best practice PPM.

I often start conversations with prospective clients (often household names) with simple questions such as “How many projects have you got?” and “What document templates do you use to scope, track and report on project?” There is much to be done when the answers are worrying frequently “No idea” and “Nothing” respectively.

The State of Project Management Annual Report 2017 shows that 50% of respondents are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their current level of project management maturity.

Let’s work with the Association for Project Management, the Chartered body of our profession to keep pushing the PPM message.

A step change in PPM maturity would be a serious tonic to those stagnant productivity figures swirling around UK business since flatlining back in 2009.

Portfolio Prioritisation & Work Management

Possibly on the same train as trend #1, Portfolio Prioritisation is essential for all organisations. Let’s actually align the amount of work we want to do, with how many people we actually have.

Most organisations are trying to do too much with limited resource. The State of Project Management Report 2017 shows that 37% of projects were delivered on time with a similar 35% delivering the desired benefits.

Rather than doing lots of things badly, let’s do fewer projects well. This required Portfolio Prioritisation, and ideally alignment of projects against corporate strategy (if you have one).

But I’d go one further. Mental health & wellbeing has been a topic for 2017. We know we should work less hours. Indeed, the UK leads Europe in long work hours.

The average EU worker put in 41.4 hours a week in 2016 (Eurostat) whereas the average Briton hit 42.8. The more productive Germans and French worked 41.3 and 40.5 hours respectively.

So maybe in 2018 the conversation will move forward to combine these two paradigms. Agree the most important projects, focus on those and work smarter. Let’s not just put in very long hours attempting to juggle all projects at the same time.

Clarity on what we should prioritise and then resource accordingly has to be a trend for 2018, building on the mental health & wellbeing conversation in 2017.

Agile

First of all, it’s not a methodology. It’s a set of 12 principles that methods such as Scrum align with. That aside, it is without doubt the project management topic de jour.

In 2017 we even started talking about Agile PMOs. The force for Agile continues so it will continue to be a key trend for 2018.

Non-software project teams are now using Agile principles. The Agile business management model will also grow in interest & popularity. Although some critics suggest painting everything Agile is a management fad there are those who have taken this even further and used it for managing family life.

Bruce Feiler claimed that the basic agile development paradigms can be applied to household management and raising children. I recommend his TED Talk Agile Programming – for your family.

Closer to our interests however, Agile reached a special ‘coming of age’ milestone rather recently in November 2017. Microsoft launched completely new Agile functionality for Microsoft Project.

Yes, the ubiquitous project planning software now has Agile features. Watch our latest webinar ‘Microsoft Project Gets Agile‘ from Wellingtone’s Senior Microsoft Consultant, Baz Khinda, to learn about this significant change for yourself.

Professionalism of the Industry

An obvious one perhaps, but it cannot be underplayed. The Association for Project Management is now officially ‘The Chartered Body for the Project Profession’.

“For nearly 800 years Royal Charters have been awarded to professional bodies, learned societies and world-class institutions that represent the values of trust, respect and reliability. In April 2017 the award-winning Association for Project Management (APM) joined this unique group of organisations by becoming the Chartered body for the project profession.

It is a significant milestone in the history of the profession enhancing the status and recognition of project management as a means of delivering effective change that improves our economy and society. Working with government, the private sector and professional bodies, APM will use its Chartered status to raise the profile, awareness and understanding of project management.”

APM Project Management

Exciting times indeed and the final key milestone will be Spring 2018 where applications will open for the Register of Chartered Project Professionals.

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