Each year we review and reflect on some of the industry specific Project Portfolio Management trends of the past year and consider trends for the coming year that might have an impact on the business. Here are our six project portfolio management predictions heading into 2016:
If you’re not managing your applications, they’re managing you.
Applications are powering business. Application ecosystems are everywhere, and steadily increasing. Paradoxically the continued reliance on applications isn’t being managed or tracked proportionally to the level of importance we feel they deserve. Applications are changing the way businesses operate and optimize, yet in so many firms, they are being tracked on spreadsheets. This is the age of application software, or as I call “the post PC era,” where nobody cares about the operating system or hardware. We believe the consumerization of IT will continue.
We don’t discount the importance of application maintenance and repair, and this includes application configurations and customizations that make business process incrementally better for all your team members. This takes time, both in development and training, but worth the investment.
Anything that can be automated will be.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, predictive analytics changes the game. Predictive analytics is gaining popularity in sales, marketing, security, consumer, financial, and more. We’ve seen so much progress in PMOs adopting predictive analytics and success from their ability to re-plan the portfolio along the way. The ability to get an accurate view of the portfolio will provide the right metrics and data for better decisions, and with predictive capabilities, you can identify where the business needs to stay the course or pivot in real-time. Innovate or disappear, and with predictive analytics, innovation is apparent.
Agile isn’t everything.
While agile continues to gain popularity in organizations, especially for product development, (there is value in the principles and methodology) organizations have found some challenges and will continue to experience visibility gaps. Some of the items that will impact development efforts in 2016 are:
- Delivery in smaller increments: projects won’t have to go from start to finish before a team realizes there may be risk. The focus will be on intermittent milestones while incorporating feedback at regular intervals. Agile will be a conduit for better communication between stakeholders and the delivery teams.
- Increased focus on outcomes: what is delivered is ultimately what matters. Agile is about consistently making things better, and in order to deliver the best product, you’ll need to keep your team centered and concentrated on the desired outcome. Our view is that development is a marathon not a sprint.
- Repetitive testing is on the rise: it may seem trivial but can often be overlooked in favor of bringing new products to the market quicker than the competition. We believe outsourced QA testing will continue to thrive in 2016 regardless of agile or waterfall work.
- Collaboration: feedback, opinions and suggestions will continue to advance with the plethora of collaboration tools on the market and become more important as the workforce continues to be distributed. Products like Slack, Hipchat and Skype will continue to facilitate collaboration ancillary to both agile and waterfall project management.
Get smarter with your resources.
IT budgets have been on the rise over the last few years according to the Spiceworks 2015 IT Budget Report but will almost surely level off in 2016. Spiceworks State of IT Report records flat budget for IT, as well as flat staffing budget. In 2016 IT will continue to be required to do more with less and gain efficiencies with managing their resources.
Source: Spiceworks State of IT Report
IoT is driving PMO specialization.
The “Internet of Things” is pervasive which impels the desire for more data. This is fantastic for the business and for decision making, but what does it mean for PMOs and ePMOs?
- We believe that in 2016 PMOs will become more specialized. We understand that project management is a critical component that touches each line of business. This creates focus areas for the PMO:
- IT / Corporate Governance
- Strategy and Planning
- Business Excellence / Digital Services (Operations)
- Execution PMO
- Agile PMO
- Collaboration and data sharing will become critical for the PMO to ensure alignment and make informed, data-driven decisions. The PMO continues to become effective as a centralized unit directing strategic advice to stakeholders and partners.
- IT data mining projects will make up a larger percentage of what the PMO works on. A large portion of these projects will include maintaining the applications and support for the growing number of devices.
- The need for better IT Governance and controls will continue as users add new applications and systems with line of business procurements. In recent years, application adoption has outpaced governance controls and processes for these applications. 2016 is the time to create a process for serious IT governance.
- Security concerns as a result of proliferating apps and devices are also falling on the PMO to manage.
Cloud Computing will shape the future.
- In 2016’s environment, software providers have to think beyond their development efforts and give more thought to change management and execution models. The cloud environment enables this approach to not only comply with security concerns, but also facilitate the ease of use for better adoption and compliance among users.
- Changes in thinking regarding pricing, customer engagement, sales models and market approach will be important considerations.
- Companies that adhere to this thought process and these practices by measuring, managing, tracking and tracing all execution metrics to drive continuous improvements will be the winners.
As we see it, IT is in a prime position to contribute immensely within their organizations. We believe that software is the only truly appreciating IT asset, and companies will invest accordingly – demands for project management and application management will continue to tax IT on delivery and optimized resource management. We look forward to addressing the challenges of 2016.
A version of this post appeared on projectmanagement.com.