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The 5 Biggest Project Management Trends Shaping 2018

You want strong tech, but you must have this balanced out through other strategies. Tech makes life easy, but it also comes with its own complications. Technology is always on the march. While it’s important to use the latest effective innovations, it’s also important to remember that the tech world isn’t everything.

How you manage a given project will depend on the tools available, as well as the personnel with whom you work. But competition will additionally play a role, as will localized political shifts impacting operations. Five trends worth keeping an eye on, and developing responses to, will be listed in this writing. They include technological and non-technological considerations.

1. Political Strong-Arming

Have you ever heard the term “diversity quota”? Well, it’s a term that is counter-intuitive to efficient, qualitative operations. The hiring of an employee should be based on that employee’s skill, not the political niche they fill. PM is an area of many organizations that has yet to be conquered by the diversity quota putsch, but things are heating up.

You’ve got to run a cost-benefit analysis, and you must look at things over the long-term. Consider candidates. If one is qualified who happens to fit a political niche, then perhaps they’re a good fit—but even in this instance, you have got to be careful to monitor attitudes.

Someone hired for reasons of political expediency, and in the running professionally to be part of a PM team, has possibly gone down similar roads of employment before. It is conceivable this PC-exploitation could have an effect on their personal perspective as pertains to politics, and this could end up being their primary focus over productivity for your operation. What happens when some politically-active PM team lead decides to deliberately sabotage some aspect of business because they find it against their personal moral compass?

The collateral cost of either a less-than-competent employee, or one with a bad attitude, can be quite high. Operational efficiency lags, reducing competitive viability. Mistakes are made and delays manifest. Over time, any incentives in terms of taxes or avoided penalties could very well be overcome by negative collateral fallout. In a time where the political pressures have begun to heat, keeping from bowing to them and absorbing the negative cost now will likely make your business stronger, and help you retain sustainability in the future, when the winds shift.

2. AI, ML, and IoT Expand Automation And Data Collection

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) are making the collection of data, operational automation, and optimal efficiency more achievable than ever. These things combine to produce terabytes of information which can be processed in real time through cloud solutions. Big Data can consolidate all these streams of information, allowing you to apply that knowledge. Cloud-hosted logging will also help you store large volumes of log data.

In terms of PM, these tech tools are absolutely invaluable. They’re getting more effective every day, avoiding their use will very likely reduce competitive viability while increasing unnecessary costs.

3. Millennial Considerations

Not all millennial employees are bad, not all millennial management is less effective than previous generations; but there is the human nature component to consider. In terms of life, people learn and develop on a curve of intellectual accretion. Basically, you get smarter as you get older—provided you learn from your mistakes, and work to better yourself.

Even if your brain and body don’t work as well as they did, experience informs decisions, and helps you avoid operationally shooting yourself in the foot. Technology and politics notwithstanding, there are aspects of PM which benefit more from experience than the skill of youth.

Coupled with this is the reality that many millennials have climbed the ladder, and have a collective reputation for being ineffective operators in the workplace. You’ve got to be very careful when promoting in this area. There are always diamonds in the rough; but by definition, the rough is more substantial.

While tech-savvy outreach and cutting-edge PM operational development solutions will likely benefit, there will be areas of ineffectiveness owing both to the generational aspects of millennials, and the basic human nature accompanying them. 2018 is seeing them increasingly involved in PM capacities, and that’s something your business needs to consider, for good or ill.

4. Remote PM Teams

IoT and cloud computing are making it easier to outsource infrastructure operational needs. Instead of everyone located in a single building like an ant-hill with your corporate logo, now they can be stratified across a broad region like stars in the sky.

Remote employees don’t have to pay as much to commute, they work to some degree on their own terms, and so solutions like BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, are actually known to increase productivity.

With PM, many operational needs don’t require centrality of location. Especially with tenured staff, offering remote options can be key to retention and productivity expansion. When you can work from home, that’s a very good situation; oftentimes those operating in such a capacity are careful to ensure they’re able to keep working that way. You’ll usually get better work from them—but of course, be careful to whom you grant this luxury. If you have a millennial with a flaky history, allowing them to operate in a remote capacity could cost you. Be strategic.

5. Incorporating Agile Project Management Protocols

Using a scala application performance monitoring tool within an Agile framework has become an increasingly common solution for many businesses managing projects of varying size in 2018; and it makes sense—Scala offers things like application performance in real time both within individual service tiers and across entire distributed applications.

Finding and incorporating tools of this kind can be an essential part of keeping your PM protocols contemporary, at highest available optimization, and competitive. When there are automation solutions available, and that which has been developed in response to known issues, using those solutions helps you save time in trial-and-error management.

Additionally, tools like these can help you get the most out of employees who may or not be as qualified as you’d prefer. With political pressures and millennial workforce expansion, these advantages are quite considerable.

Keeping PM Protocols Contemporary

A rhythm of changes will define PM. Some things will stay the same, some won’t—this is how life is generally. It’s wise to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry, adopting changes on an annual basis, or quicker if that’s operationally feasible.

Ensure you have ranking personnel with experience, and a secondary individual to take their place playing second in command. This will ensure the latest tech and political solutions will always be considered before action is taken. Ideally, it will also help your operation remain properly contemporary in a market that refuses to keep from changing.