Project Management Not Getting Any Easier

Project Management Not Getting Any Easier

Project management skills can pay off handsomely if you’re a contractor, but also require frequent refreshing. A top 10 list of project management trends for 2013 compiled by project management training company ESI International suggests that companies will adopt a more ruthless attitude in 2013 and terminate project management offices (PMOs) that don’t deliver measurable results.

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Of all the ESI predictions, two jumped out at me: the need for project managers to effectively manage vendors and the claim that “Continued poor project performance in many organisations will result in more PMOs being terminated”. Vendor management skills can only really be developed on the job; sticking to providers simply out of habit won’t work, and assessing whether a contractor or supplier will actually deliver requires experience. A non-functional PMO doesn’t help a business, but simply abandoning a project is rarely a helpful strategy, even if the short-term result is a reduction in costs.

Here’s the full top 10 list:

1. Organisations will continue to call for strong project leaders but will focus on investments in hard skills
2. Agile implementation will be viewed in some organisations as a failure, but for the wrong reasons
3. Project management is not just for project managers anymore
4. Large projects pose unique challenges that are increasingly tough to overcome
5. PMOs will focus on proving their worth and driving innovation
6. Governments will upgrade their PM certification in the face of rising criticism
7. Improving vendor management practices will top the list of skills for project managers
8. Continued poor project performance in many organisations will result in more PMOs being terminated
9. Portfolio management will take on a greater role as funding continues to tighten and the number of projects grows
10. Organisations will adopt Agile to accelerate time to market but what they ultimately achieve may be a different story

Any trends you’d add? Tell us in the comments.


  • Just to be clear – a PMO is not a Project Manager. The article doesn’t clearly differentiate that.
    Also, many government departments outsource their projects, so they’re not technically Project Managers – they tend to provide governance.
    FYI – yes, I’m speaking from first hand experience.

  • Due to contractual obligations I cannot say which government project I’m working on, but I can reveal that although they suppose to use Prince 2 principles, it is NOT happening.
    I’ll be damned if any of the PM’s even have a Prince 2 qualification. Then the leaders which has never done a project of this scale before wants to dictate how things should be done and my 13 years solid project experience get snuffed. Go figure why the 3 year project is now in year 5, with budget overspend and still nothing can be delivered.

    I have not seen any of the projects I worked on in the last 3 years even half decently managed. And yes, I am qualified PM, so I think I know what I’m talking about. As they are all multi million dollar type projects, one would think they could afford to make sure they have credible PM’s?

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