Archive | March, 2014

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.

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How to Manage Your Boss

Do you love your job but hate your boss?

You are not alone. Many people face this dilemma at some point during their working lives. They either quit their job or do nothing except stay and cope with the misery. The last option can be dangerous to your health.

Whether your boss is perceived as unreasonable, an ego maniac, micromanager, indecisive, takes all the credit, or is clueless don’t lose hope – you can manage this person.

Observe their behaviour and communication style. Are they fast paced, slow thinkers or do they prefer to reflect on an idea before making a decision? Compliment your communication style to theirs. Also make the effort to know how your boss is received in the organisation. Are they well liked, respected or not taken seriously?

Communicate effectively – Do not assume your manager knows as much as you. Accept the fact that your manager may not have the same knowledge or skills. Remember you have the technical expertise!. Is your boss a “big picture or details” kinda guy? How does your manager prefer to interact? Do they prefer emails, face to face communication or written reports? How often do they expect updates or information? Note that most managers like to know what is going on – no one likes surprises. Do you flood/inundate your manager with technical jargon or do you educate by simplifying and using easy to understand language. By creating understanding you avoid tension and the need to repeat information. Remember that trust leads to better decision making. By taking the initiative to communicate effectively you also demonstrate the level of your emotional intelligence.

We all have a weakness. Is your boss disorganised, frazzled, late, forgetful?… Help them! They could be experiencing stress or dealing with an underlying issue. Find out his/her objectives and priorities. Do you know what keeps your Manager up at night? How often does he/she stay back after work? By supporting and helping them succeed – you will succeed also. In the long run your efforts will be recognised and appreciated

Attitude adjustment – At some point we all go home and complain to our family and friends about our boss, this can be a healthy way to vent and release tension. But when you are at work focus on being positive and engaged. Walls have ears and you never know who is listening or informing the manager of your opinions and feelings.

Decision making – Remember you are not the only person your boss manages. You may represent a small percentage of his/her accountabilities When you need to present a solution or idea consider that timing is of the essence. Avoid rushing for a decision, as you may be disappointed with a quick “no”. Be prepared with facts and data. Stick to the objectives and summarize all options. Finally accept your bosses decision, right or wrong it is your responsibility to promote it and work toward making it happen.

Information is not just data. Overloading your boss with a document full of statistics serves no purpose other than creating frustration, indecision and possible rejection. It is your responsibility to analyse the information and provide feedback. Present key objectives, outline the pro’s and con’s. Be prepared for your boss’ questions, consider presenting solutions or recommendations.

Help your manager be successful. Criticising your boss or going above them to resolve issues is not a positive move in your career. Don’t confuse difficult behaviour with your boss’ personality. If your boss displays abuse or hostility consider seeking advice from a counsellor or human resource professional

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A Bulwark Against Another Financial Panic

Some six years later, we are reaching a consensus on the financial crisis of 2008.

The most important thing to understand about the panic in 2008 was that it was, at its core, a crisis of confidence. All of a sudden, financial institutions were afraid to transact business with one another. It wasn’t that the assets they held were valueless; it was that, in the absence of a market, no one could tell what their value was.

To its lasting credit, and to the incessant complaints of its ill-advised critics, the Federal Reserve stepped in to backstop the money markets where big companies, financial and otherwise, borrow money from one another for very short periods. Some of those powers have since been restricted, due to misguided policy created against the eventuality of another so-called bailout – even though the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) ultimately cost taxpayers nothing and its alternative, the collapse of the financial system, would have been disastrous.

Now a group of large Wall Street firms, with the government’s support, are nearing agreement on a plan to guarantee the most-liquid types of collateral used to borrow money in repurchase agreements, Bloomberg recently reported. (1) The market for such agreements, sometimes known as the repo market, accelerated the fall of both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, largely due to the perception among investors that the firms might not be able to post enough collateral for the loans due to their exposure to the crashing subprime mortgage market.

Whether or not that perception was true, the belief that it was led to a funding squeeze that forced both firms to unload assets at fire-sale prices.

In a statement issued this February, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warned that the repo market remains vulnerable to such crises of confidence. To address the Fed’s concern, firms that participate in the repo market are developing a plan that would have the Fixed Income Clearing Corp. (FICC) guarantee some of the assets used as collateral on such loans, such as Treasuries and mortgage securities backed by the federal government. The organization, which processes repurchase agreements between dealers, would relieve investors of the need to rely solely on a dealer’s creditworthiness by providing a safety net with the support of the industry.

For riskier collateral, such as structured notes and mortgage securities not backed by the government, the industry is developing best practices that would allow investors to dispose of assets in an orderly way if a dealer defaults.

While some academic economists have suggested that the changes are not enough to completely mitigate the risk of a fire-sale situation, like the ones that undid Lehman and Bear Stearns, a guarantor system like the one under discussion would still be a large step toward steadying the ground under investors’ feet.

Regulators have not always done well with allowing markets to self-regulate. Money market funds, often a party to the repurchase agreements currently at issue, have served as a target for misguided efforts by the staffs of both the Fed and the Securities and Exchange Commission. But between the Fed’s warning to stabilize the repo market and the SEC’s decision to grant approval to let DTCC, which owns FICC, allow registered investment firms to become members of its government securities division, it seems that the financial watchdogs are willing to actually stand back and watch as firms work out their own solution.

In the long run, a more stable, less vulnerable repo market benefits everyone. But the public sometimes has a short memory, and scapegoat-seeking politicians are still fond of stirring up ire over events, such as the bailout, that may not merit it.

The creation of a new backstop means the crisis of confidence is less likely to repeat itself, regardless of which way the political winds happen to blow.


1) Bloomberg, “Repo Fire-Sale Plan Said Within Reach After Fed Sounds Alarm”

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