Is Project Management “Over”?

In praise of agile

In Columbus, Ohio, There’s a growing sentiment in the information technology community that the noble profession of Project Management has become passe. New and innovative approaches to planning and executing IT work are on the rise, and we’ve seen shifts in market demand to support their popularity. As the agile mindset has swept this town, and far beyond, we’ve seen increased influence of DevOPs, Scrum, Kanban, etc. as well as huge popularity of agile friendly software like Trello, Slack, Bitbucket and Jira.

These are just a few examples of a whole universe of agile-focused activity that is increasing team collaboration, and facilitating a faster feedback cycle, greater adaptability to change, earlier detection of defects, increased flexibility with prioritization of features, and overall greater customer satisfaction. See Forbes.

Project management - fading relevance?

The practice of project management within information technology, and specifically software development, has been around for many decades. A quick search on google trends leads me to believe that way more people in Ohio are using “project management” as a search term than, say, “devops”, or “agile software development”, so it’s definitely still “a thing”. I’ll bounce my findings of of some of my more data savvy friends, but I’m pretty sure that project management is still popular. It’s just going through a reset.

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I get it. Classic project management methodology has been maligned for being too plodding, lacking flexibility to change, etc. I’m not sure if there is a higher rate of failure with a so called “waterfall” approach to delivery, but those that fail often do so in spectacular fashion. Think healthcare.gov

Some of the more adventurous agile evangelists have gone so far as to say that project managers are no longer needed in the realm of software development. I disagree.

I have noticed several areas where project managers can help agile teams be more successful.

  • Organization Change Management

  • Risk Management

  • Dependency Management

  • Financial Management

I want to explore each of these individually in future blog posts.