Top Nine Project Management Trends in 2012 – Just a Heads Up for You

While it’s not possible to predict what’s going to happen in the future, it’s pretty easy to predict the trends in the field of project management. How? Here’s the secret. We can forecast the project management trends with a moderate level of confidence based on what has happened in the previous year and based on recent survey results. Let’s see that now.

The following trends are the high level summary of the recent trends based on recent management study reports and a few survey reports.

Customer Trends – Middle class people are increasingly making use of the Internet to buy products and services and they expect best of the best in every purchase.

Economics Trends – China’s GDP is growing at an average of 9% this year; India’s GDP is growing at an average of 7.5% and both the Europe’s & US GDP are growing at an average of 3%. Both China and India progress have been remarkable in this year.

Business Trends – Great business practices are emerging. To name a few, cloud computing and virtualization are gaining momentum. Outsourcing is growing and E-commerce has gone social now. Also, businesses want to sit next to the customer when developing products and services for better feedback.

Social Trends – The number of Social Networking Sites (SNS) have nearly doubled since 2008. People all around the world are started to use social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter to share their experience.

Now, let us look at few recent survey results.

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986 and found that Sales remain the largest problem for small firms. The BNI Business Index was created by BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. It was created to gauge the economic state of business worldwide based on global survey results of retailers, service companies, and manufacturing companies all around the world. According to the BNI survey participants, 70.4% of the respondents believe that business is growing (58.1%) or growing substantially (12.3%) compared to this time last year. Only 5.4% felt that business was declining (4.6%) or declining substantially (.8%) compared to this time last year.

The Gartner 2011 CIO Survey reveals that almost half of all CIOs expect to operate their applications and infrastructures via cloud technologies within the next five years. The Harvey Nash CIO 2011 Survey result shows that Cyber Security is a growing concern for CIOs. The 2011 IBM Global CIO study results uncover that both CEOs and CIOs focuses over the next 5 years are in Insight and Intelligence, Client intimacy, people skills, Risk Management, Enterprise model changes, Industry model changes and Revenue model changes. Also, the survey result reveals that Business intelligence and analytics is of utmost importance as CIOs’ top visionary plan to increase competitiveness over the next three to five years.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 13 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations between 2004 and 2014 are related to health care. Home health aides, medical assistants and physician assistants are in the top five. The 14TH Annual Global CEO survey results show that CEOs plan to shift their sourcing to China, India, Germany and Brazil and want to partner on projects with other firms to be significant on a global scale. Also, the survey reveals that Risk Management is increasingly high on their agenda. Besides, the CEOs think that Cloud computing can enable companies to manage their business processes more efficiently.

A survey by IT staffing company, Robert Half Technology of 1400 CIOs across the United States found that more than half are predicting that real-time collaboration technologies such as Jive and SharePoint will surpass email as the chief form of internal communications in the next 5 years. The 2011 Global Retail CIO Survey results show that the companies prioritize technologies that enable them to get closer to their customers across channels over promotions. The CIO Magazine IT Economic Impact results shows that IT investments remain stable despite the recent events affecting the economic recovery; however, participants are being cautious when making these decisions.

The CIO Tech Poll in July 2011 shows that Top areas for investments include cloud computing services (62%), BI & analytics (57%), hardware infrastructure: tablets (55%) and mobile/wireless (54%). The top technologies that are actively being researched are cloud computing services, business process management, desktop PC virtualization and enterprise data management.

The 2011 second quarter Deloitte Chief Financial Officer Survey shows that corporate revenues are likely to slow over the next 12 months. The CFO Survey 2011 3rd quarter results shows that capital & Technology spending will increase; Outsourced employment will increase in all places including Europe, United States, Asia and China. The Association of Government Accountants’ Annual CFO Survey by Grant Thornton founds that the Risk Management is getting more attention.

Now, let us try to forecast the trends based on the above mentioned survey results and trends. The 14TH Annual Global CEO survey results show that Risk Management is increasingly high on their agenda. The 2011 IBM Global CIO study shows that one of the key areas the CIOs concentrate more on for next five years is Risk Management. Similar findings reported in CFO survey by Grant Thornton. This shows that greater emphasis on Risk Management will take place in 2012. I’m sure you know how to co-relate survey results with future trends. Let’s try to predict one more trend now. If we look at the 14TH Annual Global CEO survey results, the CEOs plan to shift their sourcing to China, India, Germany and Brazil and it is similar to the CFO Survey finding. If that is true, as a project manager you will be managing more virtual multi-cultural teams in 2012. In this way, one can predict future trends of management. Based on the survey results, I would think that the following project management trends would take place in 2012:

Curb on “nice to have” requirements and processes
Cloud will be seen more
Great emphasis on supplier Management
Managing more virtual multi-cultural teams
More utilization of collaboration tools
Greater emphasis on leadership and good people management practices
Greater emphasis on Risk Management
Greater emphasis Client Management
More use of free-wares, open source software and collaboration tools

Predicting the future is not an easy task because it has lot of complex uncertainty components and these predictions are based what happened in the previous year and recent survey results.

If you think I have missed out on any trends which you think might happen in 2012, please share your views.

Do NFL Teams Draft Players Randomly?

I don’t usually need to put a spoiler alert at the top of this column, but be warned: If you plan to see the film “Draft Day” and don’t want the ending ruined for you, skip down to paragraph five.

For the rest of you, “Draft Day,” which stars Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, struck me as a better movie than its box office numbers might indicate. In the film, a quarterback who is surefire top pick in the NFL draft does not end up getting taken first. Or second. Or third, for that matter. Once the team with the first pick decides to use it on somebody else, other teams start thinking they might have overlooked something negative about the golden boy with the golden arm. Or they began to think that maybe they just didn’t need a rookie quarterback as much as they needed help at another position.

Was there really anything wrong with the no-longer-number-one quarterback, or was it all a matter of unfair and mistaken impression? You’ll have to see the film; my spoilers don’t extend as far as telling you the final score.

Of course I am talking about fiction, film and football. For most of us, real life bears little resemblance to any of these things. But being passed over by prospective employers who, you are certain, ought to desire your services is very real and can happen to anyone.

Nearly five years of economic expansion has still left millions of Americans among the long-term unemployed. Not all of them show up in the official statistics. Some have managed to qualify for disability benefits, even though they are in pretty much the same condition as when they were working. Others have gone back to school, or they have just dropped out of the labor market. But they are out there, and the economists who are studying the causes and consequences of long-term unemployment seem to suffer from a striking lack of familiarity with the way employers go about choosing which workers to hire, which ones to keep and which to lay off.

A case in point: research cited in a recent article in The Washington Post. (1) The article and the research upon which it was based treat employment as almost a statistically random event, like the probability of snow falling on the National Mall on Christmas Day. Someone who is out of work for an extended period of time faces daunting odds of getting a new job, as economists have long understood. The newly examined data shows, however, that a worker who actually gets a new job after a long period of unemployment has a significant likelihood of losing that new job as well, typically not too long after getting it.

Bad luck? Bad skills induced by the extended period of unemployment? Bad behavior on the part of employers?

It could be any of those things. In some cases, inevitably, it will be one of them. But the article in the Post, and the economists themselves, seem to give short shrift to the idea that employment decisions are typically not random events.

In the government and some unionized private sector workplaces – a tiny share of the private sector these days – layoffs frequently occur in reverse order of seniority. This practice probably boosts the re-employment prospects of the group who are cut loose, since those workers will tend to skew younger, lower-paid and, unless the employer’s hiring standards have recently slipped, at least as well-qualified as the employer’s average employee.

In academia, home to a disproportionate share of economists conducting ill-informed research, layoffs generally occur first among part-time adjunct instructors, then among non-tenured faculty, and finally among tenured professors, who sometimes cannot be laid off unless entire departments are downgraded or eliminated. Again, not a terrible harbinger for those who are let go. Being part-time anyway, the adjuncts will often have other employment to fall back on, not to mention marketable skills. Non-tenured faculty at least have a chance of finding employment at another institution, with their age and lower salaries again working in their favor. It’s the tenured faculty who truly have reason to dread the loss of a job. In an era of shrinking enrollments and increasingly price- and debt-conscious students, faculty in many disciplines have good reason to worry that they’ll never get such a good gig again.

But the majority of workers are employed by enterprises seeking to make a profit. When such businesses need to lay off staff, they don’t cut randomly, and they don’t cut their best people. All else being equal, they try to let their least productive employees go. These workers are not necessarily the ones who generate the least output; they are the ones who generate the least output relative to what they cost in salary or to what it would cost to replace what they do by other means. They can have stellar histories and excellent work habits, but their skills and training may have become outmoded. Picture an experienced marketing executive who has only a thin understanding of social media. This type of executive is easy to cut. Once cut, that executive is also liable to have a tough time finding a similar job elsewhere.

Sometimes, of course, first-rate workers lose their jobs because of company downsizing, bankruptcies, mergers and other events that are completely outside their control. These people, who can communicate their skills to prospective employers – and who often have professional acquaintances who know how good they are – are the ones most likely to land a new job quickly. It isn’t the stars who tend to stay unemployed. It’s the bench-riders and journeymen.

Workers older than 40 also carry the handicap of a law that was intended to help them, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. It is illegal to discriminate against most workers ages 40 to 70 in hiring, promotion, firing and other decisions. That’s the law’s language and its theory. In practice, the ADEA makes it harder for protected workers to get hired in the first place, because nobody has to give a reason for not hiring someone. Once hired, however, a protected worker is a lawsuit waiting to happen if the new employer decides, for whatever reason, to let the worker go. Some employers will take the chance, but many others won’t.

Some workers keep getting fired for the same reason that some drivers keep getting into accidents and some quarterbacks keep getting intercepted: They just aren’t terribly good at what they do.

Yes, unemployment carries its own stigma among prospective employers, made worse when the unemployment is extended and the worker begins to be seen as damaged goods, fairly or not. On average, however, the long-term unemployed are not the cream of the crop. As a group, they probably are not even average. They are more likely to be inferior workers, a fact that does not escape the attention of people who, unlike most economists, actually make hiring decisions and have to live with them. They might lose a good worker who is unfairly passed by, a golden boy who simply wasn’t snatched up for one reason or another – but those are long odds for an employer to play in a process already filled with uncertainty.

Employers want the best workers they can get. That’s a fact, not a criticism. Treating unemployment as a random event that just happens to people mischaracterizes the condition. We should not be surprised when it leads us to misunderstand the consequences.

Source:

1) The Washington Post, “Long-term unemployed struggle to find – and keep – jobs”

Online Marketing Trends For 2014

As the internet is constantly changing, what are the online marketing trends for 2014? Digital technology and online business trends are areas that are showing real growth. ComScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, reported that U.S. online spending in November and December 2013 was over $42 billion, an increase of 10% over last year. Also, considerably more purchases were from mobile devices. So what are the online marketing trends for 2014?

Here Comes Mobile.

The online marketing trends towards mobile in 2014 is undeniable and there will be significantly more purchases coming from mobile devices. People are becoming more comfortable when researching, shopping and generally using the internet via mobiles and tablets. The rise of smartphones and popularity of tablets combined with better connectivity means that people can surf online whenever and where ever they want.

For your online business to keep up with these internet and online marketing trends, make sure that your website has a responsive design so it does not matter if people view your website from a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer monitor, it will always provide a suitable viewing experience. This means that no matter how your customers find you, they can still easily browse and buy from your website.

Is Your Content Good Enough?

Producing valuable and engaging content designed for a specific audience has always been one of those online marketing trends that will never go away and 2014 is no exception. The search engine giant Google is focusing its results on websites that provide quality content. This means that good results from organic search engine optimisation will generated by strong content.

The marketing trends selling online products and services in 2014 will be driven more by establishing online authority and gaining trust from customers. This is will be achieved by regularly providing valuable content through a variety of channels, such as your website, social media, eNewsletters, videos and articles on other websites.

Social Media Will Become More Relevant.

Online marketing trends for sharing information via social media will increase in 2014. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are still the major social media players and content shared via these networks will add value to your search engine rankings. This is because the more people choose to share a piece of content, the higher its perceived quality.

Keep an eye out too for the likes of Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. Their rising popularity will play a significant role in the online marketing trends in 2014. Different social networks will need to be tested by businesses to see which ones help them to reach the maximum amount of consumers.

The Use Of Images.

Another of the online marketing trends for 2014 is the use of images. Your content will stand out more with well-placed pictures in blog posts and social media updates. Social media sites like Pinterest and Buzzfeed which are image based will become more relevant. The popularity of infographics will continue to rise, where images and text are mixed together to explain subject matter and provide research data.