Change agent: Top 10 project management trends for 2009

 Whether you’re building new IT infrastructure, coordinating remote employee teams, or delivering a new product line, project management and business analysis are the competencies for success—especially in today’s volatile economy. Here we present 10 ways to promote the essential skills development in change management, leadership, and other areas of project management and business analysis.<br/>


Business management consultancy ESI International has issued its 2009 Top 10 project management trends that will impact both private and public sector organizations this year. These trends actually point to organizational need for expertise while coping with tighter budgets, fewer financial and human resources, and change. The forecast suggests where project management will focus in 2009 to drive project and organizational success.
1) The Sandwich Generation: Middle managers’ emerging role in change
Seventy-five percent of all change management programs fail because of a lack of employee support. Today’s economy will force organizations to confront the important roles middle managers play in the success of change efforts. Middle managers’ roles will shift from simple messenger of directives “from above” to creating a positive environment to enable change, accountability, and ownership of change initiatives—achieving the full benefits of change and ensuring ROI.
2) Navigating virtual teams through change
As budgets tighten, the role of virtual teams will grow along with the demand for the skill sets to manage them—especially through change. Powerful communication, key management strategies, and new rules of engagement will be required to manage virtual teams as organizations seek to effectively shift with the turbulent global economy.
3) Sharper distinctions between project and program management
Many global organizations have managed programs with the same methods used to oversee projects—with predictably disappointing results. Programs are not merely “bigger” projects, and program managers aren’t simply professionals who are one step up on the organizational ladder. This year will see an increase in the understanding of the cardinal differences between projects and programs, and the utilization of strategies to boost program managers’ effectiveness and increase program success.
4) Leveraging communities of practice to hone skills
The number and importance of project management communities of practice will increase significantly in 2009. These informal communities will be highly prized for the lack of bureaucracy that increase the sharing and use of best practices, enabling increased dialogue to overcome challenges and growing future leaders.
5) Strategic selling of the project management office (PMO)
Although the project management office has gained wide acceptance, it still needs buy-in at the senior executive level. 2009 will see an increase in the importance of quantifying the PMO’s value, and how to present that data to the CFO to ensure funding in what promises to be highly competitive arena for organizational resources.
6) Back to basics for successful project portfolio management
More than any year in recent history, 2009 will be a critical time frame for ensuring project success. Project managers will increase their emphasis on the basics, taking a first-things-first approach and address fundamentals such as gaining and sustaining executive commitment; addressing gaps in the alignment of organizational strategy and projects; project selection; and efficient measurement process while leveraging existing resources to increase project success.
7) Rightsizing staff with demand-driven resource management
The adoption of demand-driven resource management will increase significantly in 2009. Its ability to rightsize internal staff and draw on outside contractors when demand requires will be viewed as an essential cost containment approach leading to greater organizational performance and efficiency.
8) Improved requirements metrics
The economic need to accurately assess and evaluate the organizational and cost impact of project requirements will bring a greater role for requirements management and development (RMD). Also known as business analysis, RMD’s ability to provide quality metrics that project and portfolio managers can use to assess the economic, performance, and feasibility value of each project component will become essential to organizations successfully maximizing the ROI of their projects.
9) People come before technology
Organizations will increase their demands for smart third-party guidance that ensures technology investments deliver enhanced performance. This will result in greater recognition of the critical role people play, leading to increased recognition that employees need the right skills and knowledge before applying processes for consistency and adding technology to deliver increased efficiencies.
10) Risk management for governance
In 2009, many organizations will say goodbye to the “one number” method for project outcomes and embrace a quantifiable range of potential results on which to base decisions. Recognizing that best governance hinges on the availability of quality information at the project level, education and leadership in risk management and best practices permeate organizations wanting to optimize project forecasting to deliver more effective governance.
“While these trends are about doing more with less, they all speak to the concept of less is more,” says J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, executive VP, ESI International. “In 2009, more than any time in recent history, empowering people with the right skills, knowledge, and tools to pick the right projects, ensure support for change and effectively track progress for smart governance will be key to project success—saving time and money while driving organizational success.”

Next week in Mid-Day Report: The Top 10 Requirements Management & Development Trends for 2009

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