A trend that has staying power for one organization might be a fad that will
fizzle for another. To be able to spot winning potential, project managers must
have a clear understanding of their organization’s strategy—and how a new
trend can help deliver on strategic goals. Keeping projects in line is central to
success, according to PMI’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession: The High Cost of Low
Performance. High-performing organizations (those that achieve 80 percent
or more of projects on time, on budget and meeting original goals) are twice
as likely to have high alignment of projects to organizational strategy when
compared to low performers (organizations that achieve 60 percent or fewer of
projects on time, on budget and meeting original goals).
A trend can lead to a winning project if it addresses a core weakness in how
the organization does business, says Julien Pollack, PhD, senior lecturer, faculty
of design, architecture and building, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. If not, a project based on a trend could be a costly distraction from the
organization’s primary objectives.
“It’s hard to say whether something is inherently good or bad, useful or useless, without context,” Dr. Pollack says.
To provide the necessary context for analyzing trends, Meri Vikstrom, PMP,
project/program manager, Sequel Business Ltd., London, England, starts by
identifying problems or goals within an organization. She then determines if
any up-and-coming industry trends can help her address those issues. This
approach increases the likelihood that incorporating a new trend will support
the organization’s strategy.
“It’s hard to say
is inherently good or
bad, useful or useless,
—Julien Pollack, PhD, University of
Technology, Sydney, Australia
rom cutting-edge technologies to creative
organizational processes, hot new trends
offer exciting and possibly lucrative
alternatives to the status quo. But project
managers hoping the next big thing will
produce real project results must choose
their paths wisely.