2017 Predictions for Project Management

How was 2016?   If you are similar to me, then 2016 did not go as expected.  However, this is the season that we take out the crystal ball and look to 2017.   Here are my predictions for how the project management discipline will change in the next 12 months.

1# Hybrid Project Management will gain greater acceptance

Hybrid Project Management will become a more recognized methodology for project management.   Hybrid includes both elements of Agile and traditional processes.   Hybrid uses Work Breakdown Structure or WBS to break down each project component into manageable elements.   Once the work-streams are scoped and defined, then certain development processes can be managed by a Scrum Master using Agile methodologies.  Combining Agile and WBS creates the best of both worlds – the flexibility and speed-to-market of Agile and the discipline and planning of traditional.   Based on my experience speaking to project managers that use the Binfire Online Project Management software, there has been an uptick in interest and utilization of Hybrid.

 #2 Economic uncertainty in 2017 may impact projects

We are yet to see the impact of global political changes from 2016 such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.   How does this impact the project management discipline?   Economists are predicting more uncertainty.  There is a range of economic scenarios possible in this new environment:  stagflation, trade wars, fluctuations in commodity prices and a deterioration of consumer confidence and spending.  Project managers will need to re-think some of their assumptions for costs, market growth and competitive forces domestically and internationally.   This could impact the timing of product launches, costs and marketing plans.

3# Project teams will become more fractured and divisive

The results from the US presidential election are in.  Just because the winner was declared does not mean that things will go back to the way they were before.   The residual ill-will and resentment between supporters and opponents of Hillary Clinton and Donald trump will likely carry over into 2017.   As a project manager, your responsibility is to your project and also to the management of your team.   Project managers will need to find a way to bring fractured groups to collaborate and work together.   This will require kindness, empathy and a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.   We strongly suggest you research the topic of Emotional Intelligence.  Understanding Emotional Intelligence is a useful tool for a navigating through this difficult period.

#4 Microsoft Project will continue to add functionalities

In June 2016, Microsoft released Planner in response to the popularity of online task management tools such as Trello and Asana.  Microsoft also plans to introduce an application dubbed slack killer to compete with communication apps. Although the reaction has been muted, we expect that Microsoft will continue to add features that have been traditionally associated with online project management software.   At this point in time, Planner is still a lightweight offering, but we expect that Microsoft will continue to add Project.

#5 Project Management Software and Collaboration Software will continue to merge

As Microsoft expands its footprint, other online project management software solutions will continue to add collaboration features.    We expect to see more tools for brainstorming, team collaboration and video conferencing added to online project management suites.   The need for collaboration features is driven by more project team members working via remote.  These employees often rely on third-party chat such as Facebook and Google Hangouts.  By bringing these features into the project management solution, it reduces non-productive use of social media for personal purposes.

David Robins


David Robins is the founder and CEO of Binfire. David studied at both Cornell and MIT, and was the Director of Software Engineering at Polaroid for 11 years.

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