Mega Trends in Project Management:
Ions to Keep Your Eye On: Is Your Organization Positioned For Success?

by Doug DeCarlo, Principal
The Doug DeCarlo Group

At the dawn of the New Year I like to look a head � to open my eyes and open my mouth (in that order). As the year 2003 yawns its way in, here are the Mega Trends I see: a set of 14 "Ions" in Project Management. ("Ions" because these Mega Trends all just happen to end in "ion.")

The Ions are happing NOW. They are upon us today. They are not predications. They are powerful, like ocean waves that sweep you off your feet. Bucking or ignoring Mega Trends can cause drowning. Over the years I have learned that it's a lot easier to ride waves in the direction they are going and benefit by their forward momentum.

Have You Had Your Ions Examined Lately?

How well is your organization doing in responding to these 14 Ions? I don't mean just talking about them, but actively putting resources behind them. Take a moment to find out.
  • Print out this document
  • Answer this question: How adequate is your organization's current level of spending (on people, processes, tools, etc.) in support of these project management Ions?
1 = very inadequate; 5 = very adequate

More and more projects are characterized by a combination of high speed, high change, high uncertainty, while at the same time requiring integration of numerous subprojects.

One project management shoe no longer fits all feet. New methodologies and templates are proliferating to meet requirements for specific types of projects: by industry, by application, by both.

There is heightened interest in Project Management as a discipline deserving its own career path. Certification is seen as a means to improve job performance, upward mobility and hireability.

Project Management is spreading to the great unwashed. It is no longer limited to professional project managers or would-be professionals. Many thousands who will never want to become "certified" are now taking up the discipline as a way of getting work done.

Project management web sites (both internal and external to the organization) are proliferating enabling team members to have easy access to PM tools and get instant help from peers and experts.

The Fast Company crowd is here. These movers shun the traditional approach to Project Management. "Established" methodologies are quickly giving way to new, adaptive methods suited for complex, fast-paced, change-intensive projects. eXtreme project management is taking root.

The movement continues from co-located to geographically distributed teams and to culturally diverse teams.

There is a growing need for autonomy in managing projects at multiple local levels in order to be fluid and flexible by quickly responding to fast-breaking changes.

Globalization and complexification continue to place a high premium on being able to manage and distribute project information instantly among all project stakeholders. The new collaboration tools take root.

The volume and complexity of projects beg to have a focal point that sets Project Management standards, provides tools and centralized reporting across multiple projects and deploys experienced PMs to run mission critical endeavors with the goal of gaining control.

The continued proliferation of software tools in all shapes and sizes for use across all stages of projects from initiation to closeout � from individual projects to the project portfolio.

Management looks to hard-dollar evidence that project management pays off. Traditional classroom training gives way to real-time training on live projects with their ability to demonstrate immediate and repeatable results.

A healthy debate continues between the die-hard project management methodologists and the project management anarchists. The debate centers around the questions: "To increase the likelihood of project success should we be increasing or decreasing the use project management processes, tools, rules, policies and procedures? Are people working for the process, or is the process working for the people?"

The continued recognition that soft skills in managing projects and project teams are of equal or greater importance than technical project management skills and subject matter expertise.

Project managers and team members are finally getting it. Quality of life takes root: there is a heightened desire for a balanced lifestyle and a refusal to pay the price of sweatshop hours and unrealistic demands.

What have you found out? Is your organization putting its money where my mouth is?

eXtremely yours,


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