The Future of Project Management

As digital transformation initiatives take priority, many businesses and organizations are rethinking the role of project management. According to a recent article from Harvard Business Review, Gartner research has found that businesses are increasingly adopting agile development and project management models. They state that 44 percent of work is delivered through agile methods and 39 percent is delivered through product models.

In addition, traditional project management activities (validating requirements, maintaining scope, measuring benefits, etc.) are now in the domain of scrum and fusion teams. And recent technological advancements (think generative AI) mean many project manager-type tasks can be automated.

So what does this all mean? The article states that popular agile reference models – the Scrum Guide and SAFe Reference Guide specifically – omit the role of project manager completely. Yet, Gartner predicts that the project manager role is expected to be one of the fastest-growing project management office (PMO) roles across the next two to three years.

Much like the shifts happening within IT to address digital transformation – project management is starting its transformation. To stay ahead, Harvard Business Review recommends that project managers develop these 10 essential skills:

  • Organizational awareness
  • Data acumen
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Decision making
  • Willingness to explore and adopt new technology
  • Financial acumen
  • Process and framework expertise (i.e., business process improvement, agile, organizational change management, risk)
  • Customer centricity
  • Growth mindset
  • The ability to coach and motivate their teams

The New Project Management Frontier

In addition to the essential skills, the article highlights three critical roles (as identified by Gartner research) that project managers can play in order to meet their business or organization’s future needs. Those roles are:

  • The Teacher – This role is for organizations that are early in their digital journey. The article states, “A teacher project manager helps bolster the competencies distributed delivery teams need to succeed. They’re particularly skilled in coaching and motivating individuals and teams; project management processes and frameworks; and adopting new technologies. They also have strong communication skills that enable them to effectively coach stakeholders on a wide variety of complex concepts, for example, regulatory and compliance activities.”
  • The Fixer – This role is for organizations that want to boost their delivery efficiency. The article states, “Organizations that need support identifying, resolving, and mitigating challenges in workflows and complex portfolios can benefit from the fixer project manager role. Fixer project managers are adept at cross-functional collaboration, decision-making, and financial acumen. The fixer can creatively address complex problems, identify and manage risks at both a project and a cross-portfolio level, and operate in complex portfolios.”
  • The Orchestrator – This role is for organizations that want to improve cross-functional coordination. The article states, “Enterprise digital transformation initiatives need project managers who can manage high levels of complexity and support delivery teams in a resource-constrained environment. Orchestrator project managers are true stewards of the organization’s resources and insights, ensuring that delivery of work is aligned and correctly prioritized. Orchestrator project managers are expertly skilled at data acumen, customer centricity and organizational awareness. They collate diverse information and insights, align it with strategic imperatives, and translate into executable actions. The orchestrator also has strong organizational awareness and cross-functional stakeholder management skills, with specific experience operating in significantly complex portfolios, especially those with dispersed stakeholders.”

Amplifying the Power of Project Management with PPM

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is a strategic framework that allows organizations to analyze and collectively manage a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics. The primary goal of PPM is to determine the optimal mix and sequencing of proposed projects to best achieve the organization’s overall goals. When you use PPM (along with these trending project manager roles) you have a big impact on the success of project management and delivery.

This is especially true when you use a PPM tool that’s natively built into your critical IT infrastructure with your IT Service Management (ITSM) tool.

There are dozens or more project management tools out there, but only a select few tools bring service management and PPM together in one tool. There are many benefits to using an ITSM tool with PPM.

For example, sometimes service requests need to become projects – and projects often kick off a series of small IT service requests. This is why a single-platform approach to PPM and ITSM can be beneficial. With ITSM and PPM together on one platform, you can:

  • Manage proposed, planned and current projects with approval tracking.
  • Prioritize projects and optimize the project portfolio.
  • Track and manage the execution with time, resource and expense tracking.
  • Perform what-if analysis and engage in resource capacity planning.

Combining ITSM and PPM allows users to have all relevant information in one place. Instead of switching between different pages or programs, everything you need can be right in front of you in a comprehensive, custom dashboard. This allows for a great amount of information to be at your fingertips, like:

  • Amount of, and type of, work that needs to be completed
  • Estimated length of project or task
  • Which areas need more resources
  • Who is assigned to do what
  • Who has the availability to help fulfill certain needs
  • When that person can do the work

Having this list of information readily available to aid in decision-making speeds up a variety of processes. For example, someone would be able to quickly identify where a bottleneck is occurring, or where excess capacity exists within the resource pool.

At Festival Foods they use TeamDynamix for ITSM and PPM with enterprise integration and automation (iPaaS). Having just one platform for both ITSM and PPM has greatly improved the lives of their IT technicians, “Before, they couldn’t customize what their desktop looked like,” Alex Turek, IT service desk manager, said. “They couldn’t get their own reporting or metrics. Now, the technicians make their own dashboards showing what they need to see. They can run their own reports. Metrics and key performance indicators are very easily set up, and these go to our leadership team automatically so leaders can see what we’re working on and what our pain points are.”

And now, there’s a process in place for projects too.

“Before, we had no project governance process,” Turek said. “It was very ad-hoc. Whoever could scream the loudest got the most IT resources. Finding a tool that also included PPM was huge.”

Managing projects and IT services within the same platform has brought significant benefits, leading to improved efficiency and accountability.

“Technicians can see their project work and their IT work in one space,” Turek says. “This means it’s easier to communicate and ensure follow-through. Project managers can assign tasks to my service desk team within the same dashboard they’re using to resolve tickets. Those pop right up, helping them be aware of all their tasks and priorities so they can easily meet their deadlines.”

Project Portfolio Management is an effective strategy for minimizing project delivery bottlenecks and enhancing business efficiency. By implementing PPM and future-proofing your project management roles, you can gain a competitive edge and drive growth.

To learn more about Project Portfolio Management, click here

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