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View from the Top: 2013 Trends and 2014 Outlooks

Project Assistants CEO Gus Cicala will write semi-monthly contributions for the blog that provide his view of what is going on in the world of project management and what it might mean for your organization.

January is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the realities of the past year and plan to apply those lessons to the upcoming year.  And 2014 looks to be a transitionary year.  With the dizzying rate of change in this IT age, we can no longer track business culture in terms of generations or even decades, but half decades.  As such, 2014 marks the last year of the first half of the 2010s, and in many ways, it will usher in the next era.

So let’s take this opportunity to look at several of the biggest trends of 2013 and determine what it will mean for project management moving forward.

2013 Trend: The global economy has seen an uptick, returning us a bit closer to the mean.

Global Economy

Looking Ahead: This trend will continue.  While this isn’t a controversial observation, it is a crucial one. Project budgets will continue to thaw, which will lend to important decisions on how to apply the added resources.  This makes everything that is to follow in this post all the more important.  Resist the temptation to rest on your heels; while there is more room for error, more spending power also means more control for your organization over its own destiny.  This is not a time to get fat and happy.

2013 Trend: Agile methodologies have become increasingly popular and added to their track record for success.

Agile Development

Looking Ahead: This trend will also continue.  There’s a natural sense of uneasiness among project managers in regard to Agile, but as our upcoming webinar will demonstrate, project management and Agile do not need to be viewed as mortal enemies.  The fear of the beast that is Agile will diminish as practical methods are applied to tame it and as the approach piles onto its increasingly impressive track record.

2013 Trend: Tablet computing has become increasingly prevalent and has been implemented into business environments.


Looking Ahead: This trend will sputter.  Tablets aren’t going away, but for the foreseeable future, tablets will remain their status as business toy or gimmick as opposed to powerful tool.    They simply aren’t able to support the web-based applications that’s at the crux of traditional components.  There certainly are advantages to tables, and the technology will improve with integrations ongoing, so they may very well be taking over more serious business functions by the time 2020 rolls around.  But for now, you’ll only be hurting yourself if you try to force tablets into your operations.

2013 Trend: Leaders have moved toward the cloud and grown confidence that it is a safe technology.


Looking Ahead: My prediction here is that there will be consolidation around the project management and project portfolio management software leaders.  As more and more companies move to multiple tenancy servers, the differences in price and functionality will blur, leaving a smaller marketplace for more niche tools.  As such, the 2013 trend will continue, and this will cause a new phenomenon in the coming years: a consolidation of hundreds of project management software tools into just a handful.

2013 Trend: Project management methodologies have become the norm, which has improved the success rates of projects.

Holistic Project Management

Looking Ahead: While the importance of project management has just about become a given, there are still deficiencies in holistic approaches to a well-defined process to improving project management.  In other words, while the last wave was project management, the next wave will be project management done right.