As we come to the end of a big year in project management, it seemed appropriate to look back and revisit some of the major trends we’ve been reporting on and revisit them as they’re sure to have an impact on the year ahead.
Project management is having a moment. It’s become a descriptive for not only the certified professionals, but increasingly being used to define anyone tasked with managing anything from planning to completion, regardless of size, scale and scope. Over the course of the past year we’ve seen more chatter on what is termed the “accidental project manager,” though that doesn’t mean we’ve been silent on the more technical workings of project management. We’ve published countless articles on a range of topics for the project leader and the project manager, from stakeholder management to time-tracking tips to trends in PMOs. See what have been our biggest trends throughout the year.
Leading a project is all about managing the resources, but your stakeholders, as Clayton wisely notes, demand a different type of relationship, especially if you hope to have a productive project.
By engaging with your stakeholders you’re going to earn their respect and facilitate the processes you though could be controlled solely through managerial skills. Of course, first you must identify the stakeholders , then you have to in a sense analyze them in order to know how best to engage with them.
Don’t forget the importance of message and tone, each of which must be specifically tailored to the individual stakeholder. This includes figuring out what medium is best when communicating with your stakeholder, what approach can motivate the changes in the project you want from your stakeholder and creating a mechanism for feedback.
Elizabeth Harrin, who owns and operates the blog A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, spend the year explaining the importance of timesheets. She wrote about how timesheets can curb the bleeding lose of billable revenue if we focus on making them more accurate. She explored why timesheets are often inaccurate and how to get the right data.
Timesheets may not be sexy, but Harrin loves them, as she explicitly stated in another article. First she debunks the commonly held myths about timesheet, such as it being authoritarian, micromanaging and a waste of time, among other things, and then shows how in fact it supports enterprise, foster return on investment and supports your team.
Timesheets can also help you get better estimates. The resurgence in timesheets is hand in glove with the current craze for data. Timesheets provide great data and that data can assist in giving you better results when estimating. Past projects can provide facts which then can be applied to future endeavors. You can assess performance and better understand how your team works. Tracking hours is also helpful, if you’re going to bill for them.
You should go back and read all of Harrin’s insightful writings on timesheets, and if you’re convinced on how helpful they can be then read ProjectManger.com CEO Jason Westland’s article on How to Get Your Team to Start Using Timesheets. It further explains why timesheets matter and shows how easy it can be to use them as well as train and support for them.
If ever there’s been a topic that has been beaten to death, it’s leadership. But we took a few swings at the subject and thanks to contributor and project leadership coach, trainer and consultant Susanne Madsen, we managed to breath new life into the subject.
Through a series of short tutorial videos, Madsen showed how to build trust with your team on the four pillars of competence, connection, communication and honesty. She furthered that discussion in the video on influencing different people on your team, by separating them into four groups — driver, expressive, amiable and analytical — and offering practical advice for dealing with each.
A leader has to deal not only with resources but stakeholders, and Madsen provide a pragmatic approach for dealing with difficult stakeholders. And she knows that a true leader doesn’t do it all by themselves. Being able to delegate is crucial to getting a project done on schedule. Madsen knows how to delegate elegantly and shares her approach, as well as noting what to and what not to delegate.
Another contributor, Lindsay Scott, a former project office manager for Hewlett Packard, who remains active in the field with her monthly meet up group PMO Flashmob and the PMO Conference, wrote an educating post on the evolution of PMO tools and offered her thoughts on future trends.
Beyond an informative history lesson, Scott provide more practical advice on how to set up a PMO. She discussed what the four different types of PMO are as well as how most organizations set up a PMO. Once a PMO has increased its activity, Scott wrote about the Center of Excellence model of PMO, which creates and maintains the standards of project management within the business, and then how to advance the PMO.
There’s a hidden role of the PMO in that it fosters collaboration, which Scott also addressed in a post. A PMO can help team collaboration through the creation of a project room, daily standup meetings and a visual overview of the project’s progress. On remote teams, Scott said the se of a virtual water cooler conversation and virtual project wall are both good ways to build bonds over distances.
Nuts and Bolts
When it comes to the nitty-gritty of project management, our resident expert and video host, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, took us into the weeds and then held our hands to help us find our way out. She produced tutorials on everything from an introduction to project planning to advanced project planning. She spoke to some of the topics above, such as showing how to make timesheets fun for your team and when to push back with stakeholders.
Finally, if you’re looking into some deeper reading over the holidays, then you should take a look at our roundup of the best management and leadership books of all time. From new releases, such as Daniel Goleman’s bestseller Focus to more technical works on agile and scrum, there’s something for everyone interested in upping their game for the new year.
What else may come up in 2016 is anybody’s guess, but one thing is certain: project management will continue to grow in scope and influence. We’re thrilled you’ve joined us for the ride.
If you haven’t already, take time before the hustle and bustle of 2016 starts to check out ProjectManger.com, our collaborative online project management software. This suite of tools that helps project leaders, managers and team members more efficiently do their work. From planning, monitoring to reporting, it’s all here, and you can see for yourself with this free 30-day trial offer.