We have more than 20 projects running in Stefanini’s project management office (PMO) at any given time, and often considerably more. But it’s not the number of projects that’s the biggest challenge. Instead, the real challenge is in their diversity. All of these projects cover various industries from various geographical locations and are based on different software technologies, creating a huge amount of variety for project managers to deal with.
The benefit of this challenge is that we have a very broad experience of the industry. Drawing on this, here are some of the key trends that we’ve seen in software development that we believe will continue to prove significant over the years ahead:
1. Project scope is shifting to project objectives
It’s very rare now that during the earliest planning stages we see pages of clear, documented requirements for the project manager to implement with the team. Agile has shifted the process into a much more dynamic approach in which the requirements are refined with the client as the project progresses. Project squads have taken this one step further: the scope is now co-created by the provider and the client in order to realize the best results. As a result, the project manager needs to focus more on truly understanding and realizing the business benefits the client is aiming for, rather than simply delivering against predefined requirements.
2. Client/project-specific methodology
Most project managers are familiar with the common project management methodologies, such as Project Management Framework from PMI, Prince 2, Agile (Scrum). While these are still the building blocks of any project approach, we increasingly find it necessary to customize the approach to the specifics of the client/project. Being able to tailor the processes based on the specific situation, borrowing and mixing parts of agile and parts of waterfall, has become key to a successful project. While standardization across projects can take place at a higher level, the project manager should be empowered to choose the approach that fits best.
3. Remote management skills
In the Stefanini PMO, our team delivers projects while based in various locations. As a result of COVID-19, this has been taken to the extreme – most team members and stakeholders work from home and physical meetings are impossible. Over an extended period, this way of working could make it difficult to synchronize tasks and keep the team engaged and motivated. This is where the project manager’s soft skills can make a huge difference: being able to keep the meetings focused and interesting, getting team members to feel part of a group, even though remote, keeping communication channels open and providing transparency into the big picture is key to building an effective and engaged remote team and as a result, crucial to the project management role.
These are some of the key trends we believe will shape the future over the years ahead. Maybe you’ve encountered these trends yourself, or perhaps your experience differs. Either way, we’d be keen to hear your thoughts.