ESI: New Priorities for Project Managers

Kachina Shaw
Slide Show

Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2014

The top 10 trends identified in project management by a panel of ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts point to big changes in the coming year. If you don’t even have time for a list of 10 today, I suggest focusing on number 10 on the list: “Project and program managers will be asked to spend more time ‘leading’ rather than ‘managing’ their teams.”

It’s a subtle change for some organizations, and the title Project Manager won’t be going away any time soon, but the emphasis is growing on leadership ability, also known as “mojo, secret sauce, and X-factor.” The trick is that “these organizations are not interested in training project leaders on generic leadership skills; they need them to have very specific project and program leadership skills.”

Which leads us to a scarcity trend:

“Even with high unemployment globally, key project management jobs will remain hard to fill.”  The fact that project management is seen as a “force multiplier” by many organizations makes it a growth industry, and that isn’t changing, according to ESI. The current number of positions open is “staggering,” and key project management roles at the highest levels will be difficult to staff.

That being said, those project management leaders will need to be ready to face these hefty challenges:

“Organizations, dissatisfied with their project management performance, will radically change their approaches to get back on track.” Project management has been booming, but studies repeatedly show its performance is beyond poor in many cases. Get ready for drastic action, predicts ESI, including but not limited to better leadership programs, lean methodologies and better sponsors.

“Servant leadership makes a comeback, and not just in Agile.” This is another take on the need for improved leadership skills, in which “servant leaders place the needs of their teams above their own by sharing power and serving others.” Agile users are likely familiar with the term. If you’re not, find out what it’s all about; you’ll be hearing more on it.


“Think implementing one PPM tool was hard? Companies now need two!” Agile strikes again. Existing project portfolio management tools based on the Waterfall method aren’t compatible with Agile methods, which are quickly spreading. If your organization is implementing Agile, beware the need for duplicative tools, and/or a painful transition period. Be ready to lead.

For more trends, some of which get pretty specific, click on the box in the upper right to see the entire list.



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