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PM Trends for 2017

Posted by Deborah Bigelow Crawford

Deborah Bigelow Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in business management and handles the operational and administrative functions of PM Solutions. Ms. Bigelow Crawford also serves as Co-CEO of the PM College®, PM Solutions' training division, where she is responsible for the fiscal management and quality assurance of all training and professional development programs. Prior to joining PM Solutions, she served as the Executive Director of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and was instrumental in providing the foundation and infrastructure for the exponential growth that the Institute has maintained over the last 10 years. In addition, she served as the Executive Director of the PMI Educational Foundation. Over the last decade, she has authored numerous articles in PM Network, Chief Project Officer, and Optimize magazines. Ms. Bigelow Crawford is also co-author of the book Project Management Essentials. She has presented a variety of papers as a speaker at international symposia and conferences, and is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the Project Management Institute.

I love looking at what organizations predict what the new business trends will be.  It is actually something I view to be critical to sustain and grow our project management services company, PM Solutions.  I just read a white paper that Daptiv published, which was really pretty insightful.  Daptiv listed the top 10 trends for 2017.  My interest is in particular to how these trends affect PMOs…and project management professionals, in general.  But I’ll list them all and will be anxious to hear your thoughts on these predictions!

  1. The Employee obsession is the new Customer Obsession.  Millenniums change employment every 2 years, as opposed to the boomers, who stayed an average of 7.  Gallup says this costs organizations up to $30 Billion/year. They like transparency and knowing where they stand.  They welcome new opportunities. Knowing this may make you deal with your PMO resources a little differently. You might need to build a higher employee turnover into your resource planning and make sure you have strong processes in place.  Despite the revolving door, good processes invite order rather than chaos.
  2. Portfolio Managers are the next Chief Strategy Officers.  Portfolio Managers role will use real time information to assess portfolio health, recognize opportunity, align execution and strategy and communicate insights and recommendations to the executive team. The PMO will shift from process management to strategy management.
  3. Success will be measured in Outcomes.  Tracking project success has always been a function of the PMO, but the measures of success have changed!  New measures include outcomes such as quality, impact, and realized benefits.
  4. Business capabilities will take center stage. The coming year will throw a spotlight on improving the capabilities that enable teams to work smarter.  In 2017, the “adapt to thrive” mentality shaping business is expected to find US companies increasingly turning to M&A to drive business growth.  For those navigating M&A activity, consolidating assets means a full pipeline for the PMO! And finally….
  5. Businesses will become IoT (Internet of Things) This isn’t actually new, just expanding.  The pervasiveness of the Internet of Things is changing how we work, live, and interact. There will be a boom in connected devices- from 10 billion in 2015 to 34 billion, an estimated spend of $6 trillion!

2017 will be a year of change.  The evolution of technology is not going to slow down.  This collision of disruption and innovation is where change and adaptation will be born.  Organizations will need to embrace change and evolve with technology.  What do you think?  Are these the trends you are seeing??


Great insights Debbie! I LOVE the inclusion of the Daptiv paper.  I remember years ago that Dr. W. Edwards Deming stated “Man does not have need for automobiles, planes, trains or busses, but man will always have need for mobility. In essence he was asking, What is the outcome that you need to be achieving?  Because focusing on todays need and neglecting the changing needs of the customers is a prescription for failure.  The “adapt or thrive” approach must be based on a solid understanding of where businesses are going, NOT on where we want them to go. I love the work PM Solutions and PM College has done in helping PMO’s and other key groups define where they should be going, to be effective. I remember a quote in Sam Walton’s “Made in America” (the story of Walmart) He said something to the effect of; “If you are not continuing to improve, then you are making a mistake because believe me; your competitors are not stopping. The harder question is; “What do I need to be in order to achieve the outcomes (#1 in the marketplace, Recognized as the most reliable brand,  The best PMO, etc.) that our stakeholders and/or customers need us to be?

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

Debbie Bigelow Crawford says:

Paul, thanks so much for your comments…and you are spot on!  I always love how you quote other forces in the market to emphasize the points you make!  I challenge others reading this blog to help us understand the trends your organizations are adopting, so we can confirm we are growing in the same direction…and are ultimately what “you need us to be”!

Posted on March 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

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