The business world is no stranger to changes, as industry regulations, federal laws, technological innovation and economic turmoil all impact the daily operations of an enterprise. Sometimes these shifts cause organizations to drastically restructure programs and processes, while smaller evolutions, such as the introduction of smartphones, enable companies to do more in less time. In regard to project management, those strategies change too much to keep pace with business.
Whether it is with new software or better talent management best practices, project managers must stay ahead of the curve if they want their initiatives to pan out and their goals to be met. But what is so different about project management in 2015? Let's take a look.
Amazon Web Services is almost a decade old, and in those past 10 years, cloud computing has dramatically increased in popularity. Cloud security no longer hold enterprises back from adopting these services hosted from a variety of tech vendors, and as a result, there isn't much of an argument against the use of cloud computing in corporate settings.
So, in an era when 93 percent of businesses take advantage of cloud technology - according to RightScale - it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that cloud-based project management solutions has stolen the limelight away from Microsoft Project and other on-premise, unscalable and difficult-to-deploy software.
Project managers used come in all shapes and sizes since enterprises started to apply IT project management techniques to all department-specific projects. However, given the increased prevalence of creating initiatives for a variety of business tasks, many organizations have hired individuals whose sole responsibility is managing projects.
Business 2 Community contributor Alexandra Levit explained a Gartner webinar on the future of project management in which Gartner Vice President Michael Hanford asserted enterprises are most successful when project managers possess these four traits:
- Versatility: Those that oversee many tasks and employees must be able to handle quick transitions. Furthermore, a little bit of knowledge in a variety of sectors goes a long way.
- Leadership skills: Project managers than cannot expertly lead a group to certain project landmarks will often fail to deliver quality results. In that regard, there is such a thing as over management, but the best PMs understand that.
- The ability to forge "strong relationships": Leaders and their teams must have faith in one another. Project managers that can relate to all staff members and help guide them to task completion are made, not born.
- Access to the best people: A project manager with a game plan is often an individual who knows how to complete that strategy. Often, this means having capable and willing team members, and if a project manager has the right type of Rolodex, finding those employees is easy.
"Collaborative tools are a requirement for all projects and initiatives."
Collaboration is still king, but tools are required
Project management is all about getting individuals to contribute to a single goal, making collaborative tools a requirement for all projects and initiatives. As mentioned, the cloud is a great place for this software to live, but if it doesn't enable easy communication and offer a central repository for everything project related, it's all but worthless.
Nowadays, this means that project management software must connect team members with messaging systems such as message boards, calendars and project details such as phases, tasks and completion dates. Complete and utter visibility into progress makes collaboration easier than ever, as individuals can be held accountable for not pulling their own weight.
At the end of the day, project management isn't even done evolving yet. So while this sector might seem fairly straightforward today, tomorrow everything could change if new technologies and ideas flourish faster than expected.