Five Things to Watch for in 2016 for Project Managers

1.     Risk Management Will Become A Buzzword Of 2016

With the increase in globalization in the project management industry, we are seeing projects impacted by the likes of industrialization, weather, and even terrorism on our day-to-day lives. With the growth of Agile, project managers can begin to leverage risk analysis and become more proactive in their responses.  There are many tools to choose from in the market place, but the skilled professional will constantly sharpen their skills in order to prevent or leverage risk.

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2.     Agile Will Continue To Gain Popularity in IT Projects

Agile has been in the development market place for some time now, but we will see some increased growth in 2016, as many more companies will want faster releases, quicker updates, and rapid to market deployments. Agile was developed by the software industry and valued quick, iterative releases that were expected to have some defects. A newer trend will maintain the quick iterative releases, but focusing on higher quality turnout.

Agile can be done cost effectively, the team is self-managed, and it leverages the developer’s tendency to be autonomous. It also allows the project manager to provide a more constant, guided pathway to completion, thus creating flexibility in the release. We don’t worry about scope creep, or changing requirements.

We like to use it as a general tool at KTL. Though it is useful for our development team, many of our projects on the consulting side of the house may need a more traditional approach for implementation. Like any business, we want to have multiple tools at our disposal to fit the client need.

3.     Compressed Project Management Life Cycles

The time to market has become increasingly short in recent years. Delivery time on significant releases has shrunk from years to months. Project teams and managers are now looking for new and creative ways to meet this trend.

Techniques, such as iterative prototyping, agile principles and rolling wave planning, will play an increasingly important part in reducing the time to market with new products and services.

This is in direct correlation to trend #2. It creates the need for the PMO to adopt a rapid development cycle. This also creates the need with the project management profession to be responsive, and agile, meeting this business need. The Project office that act on these trends will have a competitive advantage over those that ignore them.

4.     End of Email

The COO of Facebook has declared it to be dying, many teenagers are refusing to use it, and most of our inboxes are stuffed with more Spam than useful information. Why bother? Email is probably the oldest of the Internet applications, predating the website by almost a decade. Its technology hasn’t grown with the internet, (ask anybody that has accidentally hit “send all”), and we manage it less and less. Instant messaging applications have started to become a communication trend in companies more and more.

Project managers are starting to recognize collaborative workspaces such as Slack (, and Yammer ( are better for their teams to combine desktops and work in a shared space better suited for their needs. I have seen that much of my inbox is filled with internal communications that are better shared in a workspace. Once two or three people are attached to an email it becomes cumbersome.

Our team uses a product called Axosoft for collaboration and task management. It allows for incoming support emails to be viewed and triaged by the team, conversion to defects or tasks as needed, and in general allows for a team development environment. We are even beginning to integrate it with our time keeping software to better automate our day.

Instead of constant email chains being sent back and forth, we use the Skype messaging service for rapid response to quick questions or invites to meetings. In general, email seems to be a tool that has not grown with the typical IT organization.

5.     Big Data Becomes Part of Project Management

Recent years have put a new type of project in our laps. In 2015 we saw many projects along the line of hardware implementations or upgrades, as well as software development. 2016 will bring us a bigger set of projects involving big data. That email piling up in trend #4? Big Data. Increased use of smart phones (pictures, texts, etc.)? Big Data. And of course, digital media in general. The world’s technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s*. According to IBM, as of 2012, every day 2.5 exabytes (2.5×1018) of data were created.

Project managers in the past relied on informed decisions to validate that projects stayed on time, within budget and were properly scoped. Now there are a significant amount of data analytics available to help with project forecasting; many of these can and will be incorporated into the Project Management Suite.

* Hilbert, M., & López, P. (2011). The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information. Science

JEFF L. CHAMBERLAIN | Project Manager

Jeff comes to KTL Solutions with an extensive background in healthcare IT, technical consulting, and telecommunications. He has been a project manager for almost 20 years holding certifications from the Project Management Institute as a Project

Management Professional, from the Management and Strategy Institute as a Six Sigma Lean Professional, and he holds a Scrum Master Certification from the Scrum Alliance. He has managed both hardware and software implementations for both the government and private sectors, in industries such as healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, staff augmentation, supply chain and shipping.

Jeff has provided training for clients globally, working in Europe, Russia, North and South America on various topics from system optimization to wireless theory and design. He possesses a bachelor’s degree in technical writing from the University of Baltimore.


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