An Inside Look at the Latest Project Portfolio Management Trends


It’s one thing to have a project portfolio management system in place that works for you and your organization. It’s a completely different scenario to have a solution and mindset in place that supports flexibility, change with the times, and the ability to optimize the latest technologies and thinking about project portfolio management.

This second scenario epitomizes what it takes to be an effective project manager: open to suggestions, ready and able to introduce change, and focused on the ultimate goals of the entire organization. So how to do this – stay on-task while making time to embrace change?

It all comes down to knowing which trends, ideas, and technologies are right for your organization. While we don’t have an inside-view of your organization, we do know what is grabbing headlines and making waves in project portfolio management.

Be Ready for Anything

You know how quickly a project can go astray. The project is rolling along smoothly, people are getting their tasks done, everyone is communicating well, the project is on budget, and then there’s a two-day power outage. Now, you’re behind schedule, people are scrambling and stressed – you’re trying to figure out how to recover and your management team wants instant answers.

If we’ve learned anything from 2017, it’s that disasters and interruptions do happen. Choose a location in North America (or internationally) and you’ll find a weather system, natural disaster, or other threat that prevented people from working.

Of course, you know effective project portfolio management depends on being ready for anything. However, this is often easier-said-than-done. You cannot guess or hypothesize on how big of an impact a hurricane or power failure will have on you and your team.

This is why you need to take advantage of the new wave of real-time scenario simulators. These simulators allow you to see how your portfolio and organization will be impacted by slow-downs and work stoppages. With the right data, you can ensure that team members can easily work remotely or see areas for risk and make adjustments before this risk becomes a reality. Be ready and have plans in place that ensure your viability in the face on any threat or disaster.

Real Collaboration

The way we work is changing at a rapid pace with more companies supporting remote employees and offices. As the cost demands for operating a traditional office space continue to grow along with technologies that allow constant connectedness, it’s becoming hard to make a case for offices packed with cubicles and board rooms.

To make this new way of working effective, project portfolio managers have to look to tools that support real-time collaboration and integration. Tools that enable easy sharing of data, real-time updates, chat and messaging, along with the traditional functionality you want in a project portfolio management tool are the way to go.

While you may not have remote team members today, think about the next time you travel to a tradeshow or are on the road visiting clients – these two very real scenarios highlight the need for software that allow for real collaboration and integration with your entire team.

Real-Time Data Visualization

There is nothing worse than receiving a 10-page report detailing everything that is happening (or not happening) within your portfolio. The details and numbers seem to get lost and frankly after the first few pages of reading, you’re frustrated. Yes, there are times when words just don’t cut it – enter data visualization.

There is a big reason Google has an Images tab on its search results page. There is an even bigger reason why videos, infographics, and slideshows are so popular. People are busy and they want instant data gratification. This means taking that long-form report and condensing it down to the vital data in clear, colorful, precise pieces of data.

Now, more and more project portfolio management tools are using data visualization to lift the data off the screen. What is going to work better during your presentation to management: a crowded slide with lots of text or colorful images that clearly show progress, successes, and future projects?

Looking Deep into the Future of Project Portfolio Management

But what about the latest trends in technology and shifts in project portfolio management that you’re reading about? Why didn’t we highlight these as key trends? Well, to be honest, we wanted to focus on the trends that are actionable for you and your organization today, right now.

From artificial intelligence to wearables to a shift on the skills project managers need – there is lots of change still around the corner. We’re excited to see how artificial intelligence impacts the way we receive and respond to data. Wearables are going beyond fitness trackers to data collection tools that can be used to better understand how productivity, stress, and overall health are interconnected. We’re also seeing a rise for new skills, with less of a focus on certifications and a new emphasis on real-hands on project management experience.

The hard part for you is in knowing which trends and technologies are right for your organization. This takes a real understanding of your organization’s goals, your team members, and how change can be implemented. Take the time to learn about these trends and have real conversations within your organization on how you want to move forward.