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Tag: Technical Project Management

Narrowing the Talent Gap

How to be a front-runner in the race for talent

The talent crisis is real. Projects are at risk. It’s time to make talent a strategic priority.


As a result of economic growth and increasing projectization, the demand for project managers is expected to soar in the coming decade. At the same time, the collective impact of demographic trends, retirements, and cultural shifts in the workplace, will create a shrinking talent pool that is insufficient to meet demand. The Project Management Institute (PMI) and PwC’s latest global research indicates there is a lack of awareness, or perhaps some complacency, among project-based organizations of the risks that lie ahead, and the potential detrimental impact that the talent crisis will have on projects and their ability to meet strategic goals in the future.

Successful projects are a key driver of global economic growth. As more and more industries become projectized, the demand for skilled project managers is expected to soar in the coming decade. But at the same time, aging populations and declining birth rates in many countries are shrinking the size of their workforces. According to PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap: Ten-Year Employment Trends, Costs and Global Implications report, the global economy will need a total of 25 million new project professionals by 2030. To close this gap, 2.3 million people will need to enter project management-oriented employment (PMOE) every year just to keep up with demand.


The talent gap is being exacerbated by the post-pandemic ‘Great Resignation,’1 which has seen workers quitting their jobs in droves all over the world, and it seems that the situation will only get tougher. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index2 report estimates that over 40% of workers globally are considering quitting or changing professions in the coming year.

At the same time, PMI and PwC’s latest global research indicates that talent strategies haven’t changed much. There’s a widespread lack of focus on developing and retaining existing project managers, and a lack of variety and innovation in attracting and recruiting new talent. The core problem, we believe, is that there isn’t a business case for investment in talent—one that explicitly aligns capabilities to organizational strategy and competitive advantage. The business case should describe how hiring, training, performance, and retention strategies will be aligned to those capabilities; and critically, it should use a data-driven approach to assess capabilities, measure progress, and link that to organizational performance.

Without a systematic approach and a focus on hard numbers, personal traits and behaviors will continue to be viewed as “soft” and risk being undervalued. And unless capabilities-building is recognized and treated as the central enabler of successful strategy execution, organizations will be unable to meet their goals, projects will falter, and the profession as a whole will be unable to avoid the impact of a global talent crisis. Most organizations seem unaware of the crisis, however some, albeit a minority, have begun to take action.



The Talent Gap: Facts and Figures

Project management-oriented employment (PMOE)—which includes skilled project managers and those in less formal project management roles, that encompass project management skills—makes up 3% of all global employment, equating to 90 million jobs. This is expected to grow to 3.2% or 102 million jobs by 2030. By 2030, at least 13 million project managers are expected to have retired creating additional challenges for recruitment. To close the gap, 25 million new project professionals are needed by 2030.3


A Call to Action

The message is clear: talent, projects, and strategic goals are at risk unless organizations invest now in building winning capabilities to gain a competitive advantage.

  • Take it to the top: Make talent management a C-suite priority, with clear alignment of capabilities and strategic priorities.
  • Follow the numbers: Use a systematic, data-driven approach to assessing key capabilities, identifying gaps. and measuring progress.
  • Reinvent recruitment: Get smarter at attracting talent to plug capabilities gaps.
  • Elevate your L&D: Invest in fostering critical capabilities, using diverse learning methods.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and monitor again: Review and evolve talent strategies in line with feedback, progress, and the changing priorities of the business.

Click to learn more about what organizations can do to minimize the impact of the crisis.
Our research points to actions that make it easier to attract, develop and retain talent, as evidenced by the strategies taken by ‘high-performing’ organizations.


About Project Management Institute (PMI)

PMI is the world’s leading professional association for a growing community of millions of project professionals and changemakers worldwide. As the world’s leading authority on project management, PMI empowers people to make ideas a reality. Through global advocacy, networking, collaboration, research, and education, PMI prepares organizations and individuals to work smarter so they can drive success in a world of change. Building on a proud legacy dating to 1969, PMI is a “for-purpose” organization working in nearly every country around the world to advance careers, strengthen organizational success, and enable changemakers with new skills and ways of working to maximize their impact. PMI offerings include globally recognized standards, certifications, online courses, thought leadership, tools, digital publications, and communities.

Visit us at,, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.


1 The term “Great Resignation” was coined by professor Anthony Klotz to describe the worldwide increase in people voluntarily leaving their jobs from April 2021 onward, supposedly as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and workplace conditions.

2 Microsoft Work Trend Index. 2021. The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Microsoft.

3 Project Management Institute. 2021. Talent Gap: Ten-Year Employment Trends, Costs, and Global Implications.

From Waterfall Walls to Agile Architecture: The New Era of Construction

This is a collaborative article cowritten by Lucas Marshall and Jason Braun.


Productivity is hard to measure. It differs depending on industry, for one. What’s more, the construction sector is what the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago considers “strange and awful,” representative of raw BEA data suggesting “that the value added per worker in the construction sector was about 40 percent lower in 2020 than in 1970.” For instance, the construction of the One World Trade Center in New York faced numerous delays and budget overruns, highlighting the challenges the industry faces. Labor shortages—whose “impacts on labor wages, cost overruns, and scheduling concerns in construction projects”—could be the driving factor here as companies struggle to fill positions while unemployment remains low. In other words, “few construction workers [are] seeking jobs, and therefore the pool to fill demand is shallow,” while onsite workers face the unique challenge of executing projects with limited resources—adding to these impacts and slowing growth.


At first glance, the worlds of software development and construction may seem poles apart. However, both industries grapple with the complexities of managing large-scale projects, ensuring timely delivery, and adapting to unforeseen challenges. For example, the development of the Windows 95 operating system was a monumental task for Microsoft, much like constructing a skyscraper is for a construction firm. Just as software developers transitioned from the rigid Waterfall methodology to the more adaptive Agile approach to address these challenges, the construction industry stands at a similar crossroads.


While it may seem alien to the construction sector, the software industry has subbed one framework (i.e., waterfall) for another (agile), resulting in success ratios two times greater, 37% faster delivery, and greater impact on improving product quality, a 2023 scholarly study found. Popular apps like Spotify and Airbnb have notably benefited from Agile methodologies, iterating rapidly based on user feedback.


In this article, we propose applying similar agile and lean construction methodologies illustrative of industrialized construction. Like software—which replaces a rigid, monolithic release cycle with a more agile framework—we explain that industrialized construction looks to replace the old-school, one-off “project” mindset with a fast and dependable productization framework. Consider the construction of modular homes, which are built offsite in controlled environments and then assembled on-site, mirroring the iterative development and deployment in software.


Software Project Management: From Waterfall to Agile

Companies in the software industry generally use one of two frameworks when building software products:



Waterfall is a more traditional approach to software development where production takes place in a linear, sequential manner (i.e., every task needs to be finished before the next one begins). This means new software solutions begin by defining requirements, then shifting into the software design phase, then shifting to the software developers building what has been proposed, then verifying the release is stable, and finally shifting into maintenance (i.e., finding and squashing bugs). For instance, the early development of Microsoft Office followed a Waterfall approach, with distinct phases and milestones.


Key point: Like construction projects that oftentimes involve a considerable deal of back-and-forth with approvals before breaking ground, then contend with unpredictable access to onsite labor and materials as well as rapidly changing weather conditions, we’ll argue later that construction is due for breaking from the waterfall-like processes through industrialization.



Agile is an iterative, team-based approach to software development where rapid delivery of functional products over a short period of time (known as sprints) is used (similar to lean manufacturing methods applied to construction). Continuous improvement is adopted, and subsequent batches are planned in cyclical schedules. Tech giants like Google and Facebook have adopted Agile methodologies for many of their projects, allowing for rapid iteration and improvement based on user feedback.


Agile methodology is more collaborative and customer-focused. Oftentimes, customers have the opportunity to offer their feedback through the software development process (e.g., beta releases). Through this approach, developers can improve the overall functionality of the software for the target end user and establish a 1-1 relationship based in trust and mutual respect. It also offers a fixed, predictable schedule and delivery, improved quality for customers through their hands-on participation, as well as adaptability through change.


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From One-Off Projects to Finished Goods through Industrialized Construction

Industrialized construction (IC) refers to “the process through which construction aims to improve productivity through increased mechanization and automation,” similar to how Ford’s early assembly line offered the mechanized approach necessary to meet the demands of customers for the Model-T while ensuring product consistency and quality through mechanized orchestration.


The mention of Ford’s Model-T isn’t merely a nostalgic nod to the past but a pivotal example of industrial transformation. In the early 20th century, the automobile industry faced challenges similar to today’s construction sector: Inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and a demand that outpaced supply. Ford’s introduction of the assembly line for the Model-T revolutionized production, offering a standardized, efficient, and scalable solution.


At a high-level, industrialized construction as a concept moves beyond approaching each build as one-off projects. Instead, practitioners apply a foundational framework where building deliverables are treated as building products and the same attention to build quality, customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement seen from manufacturers of marketable finished goods (e.g., automobiles, electronic devices, perishable goods, etc.) is applied to construction. A real-world example can be seen in the rise of prefabricated homes, which are built in factories and then assembled onsite, ensuring consistent quality and faster construction times.


The traditional approach to construction, as we highlighted earlier, comes with its set of challenges. For instance, 45% of all construction projects face disruptions due to inclement weather. A staggering 93% of construction firms grapple with material shortages. Furthermore, the limited access to skilled workers, a point we touched upon earlier, restricts the efficiency of an onsite workforce, especially under tight deadlines. This can jeopardize schedules, budgets, and even the quality of work.


For instance, the construction of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport faced numerous delays due to planning and execution challenges, showcasing the need for a more streamlined approach.


The transition towards Industrialized Construction isn’t just a theoretical proposition; it has tangible, real-world implications that can redefine the construction landscape. For starters, IC can lead to significant cost savings. By shifting much of the construction process to controlled environments, we can mitigate the risks and uncertainties of on-site construction, from weather disruptions to labor shortages. This not only ensures projects stay on budget but also can lead to faster completion times. For example, the Broad Sustainable Building company in China constructed a 57-story skyscraper in just 19 days using prefabricated modules, showcasing the potential of IC.


Industrialized construction, meanwhile, looks to improve quality by affecting factors within a business’s control:

  • Third-party prefabrication and offsite construction partners or building out your own infrastructure to support offsite preassembly can improve schedule certainty by 90%, while cutting down on construction costs by 10% and improving quality by mechanizing the preassembly process in a temperature-controlled factory setting where stringent quality measures can be enforced.
  • Robotics and additive manufacturing technology to increase output, capabilities, and design freedom of human installers; smart tools and IoT solutions in the hands of these installers, meanwhile, can further assist in performing installations more safely with reporting/quality verifiability. For instance, the use of drones in construction sites for surveying and monitoring has become increasingly common, providing real-time data and insights.
  • Building information modeling (BIM) can help construction professionals and stakeholders (e.g., customers, inspectors) collaborate virtually, envisioning finished products in their natural environment while improving the 1-1 relationship and trust through construction projects similar to how earlier discussed software teams run beta tests. The construction of the Shanghai Tower, for example, heavily relied on BIM for its design and execution.
  • A wealth of data via digital twins (e.g., real-time inventory data, predictive analytics, data synchronization to remove information silos, etc.) can help professionals manage projects with more certainty and deliver data-driven insights to drive proactive decision-making and quality.


In the broader discourse on project management methodologies, Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez’s article, “It’s Time to End the Battle Between Waterfall and Agile,” offers a compelling perspective. Nieto-Rodriguez critiques the rigid dichotomy many project leaders maintain between Waterfall and Agile, suggesting that such binary thinking has fostered tribalism within the project community, stifling innovation and potential. This tribal mindset has even led entire organizations to “go agile,” often at the expense of sidelining the foundational principles of traditional methodologies that certain projects might still benefit from. The real-world implications of this divisive approach can result in tangible losses for organizations. Nieto-Rodriguez advocates for a more nuanced approach: hybrid project management methodologies. By merging the meticulous planning of Waterfall with the adaptability of Agile, these hybrid methods can address the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all strategy. Such an approach not only bridges the divide between the two methodologies but also paves the way for more effective and innovative project outcomes.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form


Bottom Line

The construction industry and its fragmented ecosystem is in desperate need of industry-governing interoperability where critical project data is shared in real-time, enabling collaboration and a nimble building process adaptive to change.


As project managers in our industry look to the software industry for ways to improve quality, one conclusion they may come to is breaking away from the monolithic, waterfall delivery methods. Instead, they may implement an agile framework and industrialization of processes that facilitate the same increased output and uncompromised product quality that allowed the iconic Model-T to roll off the production line and meet customer demands.


About Authors

Jason Braun is the author of Designing Context-Rich Learning by Extending Reality and an educator with over a decade of producing, delivering, and promoting critically acclaimed multimedia learning experiences. Recognized for collaborating effectively with programmers to create educational software featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education and with subject matter experts like New York Times best-selling authors and FBI cybersecurity agents.

Best of PMTimes: 7 Tips on How to be a Great Project Manager

Project management may sound easy, but taking up the role of a Project manager requires sword play with the right wit.


Many a times, when the Project Manager is at fault or does not abide to an employee’s needs, the company is bound to lose a valuable resource. A good Project Manager is hard to find, but a great Project Manager? It is harder. Understanding the goals of the company, project deadlines, managing time effectively and being a good boss to employees can be easy if these seven tips are followed:


Project managers tend to get extremely observant and controlling when a project is assigned to their team. It might be because of irrational deadlines, lack of time, underestimating the power of their resource and panicking about proving their position. This leads to constant micromanagement where Project Managers constantly nag or monitor employees and their work, breathing down their shoulders through the entire day or week, until the project is done and dusted. Sometimes, employees are never given an off and might be asked to work during the weekends which would eventually drain them out. A great Project Manager understands that every employee is human enough to have their own time and space to figure out how much they can deliver and how fast they can. Employees should be given their own freedom to work around schedules and plan out how they can deliver before deadlines. Micromanagement only demotivates employees and puts them in a position where they are rendered as incapable of deliveries unless monitored. A great manager avoids micromanagement like the plague and uses it when and wherever necessary.


Many project managers follow agile methodology where different parts of the project that have various dependencies are mapped out and listed in the beginning. With time, priorities change. Re-evaluating priorities in a periodic manner and changing work deliveries is important. Priorities are never the same throughout a project and it takes a great manager to find the loops and holes of it, to deliver projects on time.


Time management is a great manager’s number one priority. Maintaining a balance between being productive during the productive hours at work and allowing employees to have their free time is important. Project managers must make sure that employees get the work done on time, without stressing them out by pressurizing them. Any good resource would work efficiently when the work is handed over to them, without the need of a push. Figuring out the good and the bad egg from the team is crucial. Laying out tasks and targets for employees to meet during each day is a good way to start.


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Good communication is good project management any day. The ability to communicate to the stakeholders as well as the team effectively can drive a project to be delivered on time. Giving out broken promises to stakeholders and urging employees to complete their tasks as promised would cause huge problems to the team as well as to the clients. Being an effective communicator between the team and the clients is important.


They say that great project managers understand their employees. Keeping track of how much an employee is able to deliver, how fast they can and what fields and skills they are good at is important. The ability to drive employees to complete tasks they love accomplishing and are good at. Knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses and allotting tasks similar to what they can and cannot do is vital.


Technology is an ever-evolving stream of today and to be knowledgeable in all kinds of software and technology is a challenging task. Being up-to-date on technology and exposing your team to the existence of such, is important. Project management training for employees to be knowledgeable on various fields that are emerging in the current technology-driven world can bring the company a lot of projects and profit.


When there’s a project assigned to you, there will be problems assigned to you as well. These problems can arise at any time of the project. Problems can vary from being related to the employees within the team, health-issues or emergencies that occur mid-way or at the time of delivery, misinterpreting requirements, missing out on SLDC processes, bug issues and problems that are completely unexpected. Being a great problem-solver by understanding what is to be done at such situations is the best trait of a great project manager. A great project manager works towards the success of the company and its products and it is vital to know how to handle unexpected situations in a witty way.


Being a good project manager takes time while being a great project manager takes experience. Using the right kind of skill at the right time and handling organizational problems takes time in understanding what each member of the team is capable of. Believing that your team can perform better at every step of the project is crucial. Preparations for the worst can improve problem-solving abilities.


Understanding the project strategy vision, bringing out the best out of your team, timely delivery of projects, being an effective communicator, solving problems, preparing, disclosing, bargaining and closing projects can go a long way in tuning your project management skills. Looking into administrative details of projects is also an area that can’t be missed out. Project management takes planning, leading, implementing and collaborating.

Any good project manager can become a great project manager any day. Taking a keen interest in your development, the team’s as well as individual development is an added asset. Keep your doors open for employees to put in their thoughts and worries that serve as barriers to meeting deliverables or taking up projects. Delegate tasks and sub-tasks to get work done in a simple and easy way. Finally, a great project manager works with the team and accomplishes their mission.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great someday”.


Published: 2017/12/25

Dealing with Failure and Setback as a Program Manager

As a program manager, it is inevitable that you will face setbacks and failures along the way. While failure can be difficult to cope with, it is a natural part of the process of innovation and progress. By understanding how to handle failure effectively, you can turn setbacks into opportunities for learning and growth. Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work on multiple programs of varying degree of scope, budget and schedule and have seen my fair share of setbacks, and I wanted to share some tips and tricks from my experience to help develop and hone your program management skills:


Understand how to handle failure: As a program manager, it is important to understand that failure is a natural part of the process of innovation and progress. When failure occurs, it is important to identify the root causes, learn from the experience, and take corrective action to prevent future failures. To handle failure effectively, it is important to have a proactive approach and be willing to take risks and try new things. It is also important to have a culture of continuous learning and improvement, and to encourage team members to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

When I had suffered a failure on a project early in my career, I questioned if I was meant for this career. However, my mentor at the time encouraged me to reflect on the experience and consider how I could have approached things differently. They then had me apply this learning to my next project – which resulted in a much more successful outcome. Now, following each major milestone in a program, I conduct a postmortem to evaluate if I need to alter my execution method for continuous learning.


Report out openly and honestly: As a program manager, it is important to regularly report on the progress and status of your program to stakeholders, including team members, upper management, and clients. This helps to keep everyone informed and ensures that the program is on track to meet its goals and objectives. There are a variety of tools and techniques that can be used to report status, including project management software, status reports, and presentation software – the tool itself is not that important, what is important is that the stakeholders of your program are aware of progress. When failure occurs, it is important to communicate openly and honestly with team members about the challenges and setbacks that the team is facing. This can help to build trust and maintain team morale, even in the face of setbacks.


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Understand how to hold team members accountable: As a program manager, it is also important to hold team members accountable for their work and ensure that they are meeting their commitments and deadlines. This could involve setting clear expectations and goals, tracking progress and performance, and providing feedback and support as needed. There are a variety of tools and techniques that can be used to hold team members accountable, including performance management software, regular check-ins, and performance reviews. It is important to understand how to use these tools effectively to ensure that team members are meeting their commitments and contributing to the success of the program.


Take corrective action: Once you have identified the root causes of failure and learned from experience, it is important to take corrective action to prevent similar failures in the future. This may involve implementing new processes, procedures, or tools, or providing additional training or support to team members. By taking corrective action, you can help to reduce the risk of future failures and improve the chances of success for your program.


Communicate effectively with technical team members: As a program manager, you may often be working with technical team members who have specialized knowledge and expertise. To effectively communicate with these team members, you need to be able to understand and speak their language. This may involve learning technical jargon and concepts, or working with technical experts to translate technical information into terms that are easier for non-technical team members to understand. In the event of setback or failure this skill helps speed up the root cause process.


Understand how to maintain team morale: When setbacks and failures occur, it is important to maintain team morale and ensure that team members remain motivated and engaged. This can be challenging, but there are a variety of strategies that can help to maintain team morale, including:

  1. Communicating openly and honestly with team members about the challenges and setbacks that the team is facing
  2. Providing support and resources to help team members overcome these challenges
  3. Encouraging team members to take ownership of their work and to take risks and try new things
  4. Providing opportunities for team members to learn and grow
  5. Recognizing and celebrating successes and accomplishments, no matter how small

By following these tips and tricks and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, you can effectively deal with failure as a program manager and turn setbacks into opportunities for growth and success.

Top Business Trends to Watch for in 2023

This past year has been a bit of a respite from the chaos of the last couple of years as many people have settled into working from home, in the office, or some combination. We seem to have arrived at a new normal, at least as it relates to where we’re physically working.

Fortunately, much of what we’re working on and observing from our business training is as dynamic as ever. As members of the Educate 360 family have been doing for the last 30 years, we try to keep our finger on the pulse of what we see happening that suggests trends in various areas of our business world. This year, we are organizing our trends a little differently to better reflect the interplay between the areas we are watching, such as traditional disciplines like project management and business analysis. Further, as our Educate 360 family of specialized training brands continues to grow, we can include more topics to accommodate our broadening range of knowledge and expertise that more comprehensively reflect what’s happening in the business world.


With that in mind, our 2023 Trends Watchlist includes trends in:

Project Work and Product Delivery

  • PM Skills and PM Processes
  • Use Cases are Back!
  • Business Relationship Management is a Hot Certification for Everyone
  • Wither “Transformation”?
  • From “Projects” to “Products” Continues
  • Refocusing on Value
  • PMO – “Pretty Much Over”?


Data Science

  • Text-to-Anything Models


Cloud and Information Security

  • Serverless Architecture
  • The Security Risks of Digital Nomads
  • Shifting the Surface Area of Attacks in a Remote World


Power Skills and Leadership

  • Staying Disciplined to Priorities – Adding Less to Do More.
  • The 45-minute Meeting
  • Attracting & Retaining Talent…Continued


We’d love to hear your thoughts about our observations and prognostications. Join our webinar on January 5, 2023 to hear our contributors talk about these trends, get your thoughts, and answer questions. (Date has passed.)


Project Work and Product Delivery


PM Skills and PM Processes

In the world of project management, we are noticing more awareness of separating project management skills and project management processes. Organizational leaders know when projects are not producing the results expected; the challenge is understanding whether that is a consequence of the knowledge and competencies of the people working on projects, how projects are managed in the organization, or both. Of course, good processes can contribute to better skills and good skills can help develop good processes, but they are two different things. In our discussions with clients, they are paying more attention to whether they need to work on developing the skills of their practitioners or improve their project management processes. As with any good problem-solving, understanding the cause of the problem makes for a more strategic and ultimately successful investment of resources to fix it.


Use Cases are Back!

Use cases became widely adopted in the 1990s as a core model in Rational Unified Process (RUP). They are technology independent so there are no constraints as to how they can be used. Use cases were to be written from a business perspective, in business terminology for the end users to tell a story about their expectations of the system, that is, “If I do this, this is how I expect the solution to respond.” Unfortunately, over time, use cases were co-opted by technical designers who added technical design elements to them, so they ceased to be understood by the business. Eventually, they fell out of favor except by technologists.

However, there has been a resurgence of use cases being used in agile environments and using them as they were meant to be. For example, use case diagrams are again being used to diagram conversations about which “actors” (people or other systems) will interact with the system. They are also being used to provide contextual detail to make sure everyone is on the same page about what the system will or will not do and provide a conversation holder about how the user will interact with the solution. They ensure all questions about possible alternative or exception paths are answered at the outset before these questions bog down work or slow down an agile team’s progress. They also feed nicely into test cases. All of these benefits are again being recognized – in a new type of environment.


Business Relationship Management is a hot certification for everyone.

Organizations are built on relationships. Thus, every organization needs a business relationship management (BRM) capability. Many certified project managers and business analysts are recognizing the value of expanding their capability in this power skill and even pursuing certification. It does not take away from other roles or drive the individual in a different direction, but rather empowers them to thrive with a mission to evolve culture, build partnerships, drive value, and satisfy purpose. As a project manager, BRM capabilities can optimize the value of ideation, and value management. They help link projects to organizational strategy and purpose across functions. As a business analyst, BRM capabilities focus on building partnerships and recognizing, measuring, and communicating value through effective relationship management. As an organizational change manager, BRM capabilities help build strong partnerships with people to help them move from the current state to the future state. Even executives can use this certification to support and communicate organizational factors and value to support strategy and satisfy organizational purpose.


Wither “Transformation”?

While the word, “transformation” continues to be popular both within the Agile community and within organizations pursuing a more adaptive way of working, an emerging trend within both is a growing realization that the word actually underplays the fundamental change needed to realize the desired result. Becoming agile (note the lowercase reference to adaptability versus the uppercase reference to the Agile movement) is starting to be viewed, not as an event that can be defined, planned, executed, and closed; but instead as an evolution, a fundamental shift toward becoming an organization that values learning, along with continuous small improvements, above all else in delivery of customer value. This development will come as no surprise to the founders of the movement, but it represents a significant shift for those organizations who are just beginning to understand what being “agile” truly means.


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From “Projects” to “Products” Continues

While this trend began a few years back, the shift from “project-based” thinking to “product-based” thinking will continue and accelerate in the new year. The implications associated with this trend are profound. Organizations will continue to define their “products” (this is often not as easy as it sounds) and be challenged to alter how these products are staffed, funded, developed, deployed and evaluated. One specific aspect of this shift will be the continued emphasis on outcomes – the impact that a product delivery effort has on its intended users and/ or customers. This emphasis will specifically challenge organizations to truly understand who these users and customers are and identify ways to measure the value that they provide from their perspective instead of focusing on legacy measures of success such as “on-time, on-budget”.


Refocusing on Value

With economic tightening underway worldwide there will be increased pressure to define and deliver true value in 2023. “Value” is a word that remains misused and abused in many organizations. Who among us hasn’t been told, “that’s not value-add!” with no definition of the word accompanying that exclamation? With funding plentiful due to governmental subsidies during the pandemic and organizations dealing with the multitude of changes forced on them by COVID, it was easy to relax the definition of what was truly valuable. As the economic cycle trends downward and funding becomes more scarce, organizational discipline around defining and delivering “value” will only increase.


PMO – “Pretty Much Over”?

This title is a re-run of a joke that has circulated for a number of years in the Project Management and Information Technology communities. While 2023 will not see Project Management Offices (PMOs) go away, it will see a shift in both their purpose and structure.  Organizations will continue to realize that a centrally controlled office responsible for policing how individual projects are executed is not adaptive enough to accommodate the change that is ever present in today’s workplace. Instead, PMOs will shift to being smaller organizational units dedicated to laying out and fulfilling the minimum structure necessary for reporting results while, at the same time, becoming a resource that individual efforts can call upon for training and instruction in methods that speed the delivery of value (e.g., removing organizational impediments).


Data Science


Text-to-Anything Models

Recent advances in Machine Learning and GPU Cloud Computing have allowed for the creation of models that can take in text input and generate output in a completely different modality. Consumers may already be familiar with services like DALLE-2, which allows for the generation of images from a text description (text-to-image), but that is only one use case for text input generation. Recent publications have shown work in text-to-video, text-to-3dmodel, and text-to-audio. Text-to-video models allow for the generation of videos (several minutes in length) from just a text description, for example “Video of biking during a sunset” and then viewing an .mp4 output displaying the video. Text-to-3DModel has allowed for the quick creation of 3D digital assets from a simple text description and text-to-audio can generate background MP3 audio files from a simple text description, such as “audio of car alarm in background noise”. We expect to see more use of these technologies in an increasingly wider variety of applications into and beyond 2023.


Cloud and Information Security


Serverless Architecture

Most organizations that have migrated to the cloud did so by simply building out their applications in the cloud the same way they always did on-premises starting with creating virtual machines. As the cloud deployments have matured, we are seeing a shift to the serverless architecture. Instead of worrying about the size and quantity of virtual machines needed to run a given application stack, serverless allows companies to concentrate on the application itself. No longer needing to worry about the underlying instances their applications are running on (operating system and runtime updates and security patches as well as scale) developers can now focus solely on the application and its code. Services such as AWS Fargate, Azure Functions and Google Cloud Run are all examples of this serverless architecture. The move to serverless is being driven in part by cost savings. But serverless is also increasing agility and time to market of solutions.


The Security Risks of Digital Nomads 

The pandemic caught many companies off guard when employees needed to start working from home. It was a challenge for those organizations that must comply with regulatory requirements to make sure their staff was able to access personally identifiable information (PII), protected healthcare information (PHI), and financial information in a secure manner. Many have succeeded in creating a secure environment for those that gain access to sensitive information from home by implementing Administrative, Physical, and Technical controls. As companies continue to allow employees to work from home, a new trend will emerge to compromise the assets that support the critical business processes.


Shifting the Surface Area of Attacks in a Remote World

Hackers will no longer focus on directly attacking a company’s network; a new emphasis will be placed on compromising the end user’s personal accounts and applications used on the same computers gaining access to corporate data. Security professionals will need to focus their attention on the increase in social engineering attacks and phishing emails designed to gather information from the computers being used for remote access. The cached information in memory, temporary files and on the local hard drives on a compromised machine will be a treasure trove for hackers.




Staying Disciplined to Priorities – Adding Less to Do More

As 2023 brings in another year of unprecedented access to data, leaders continue to be inundated with inputs to inform decision-making and prioritization. This access to information is generally positive for leadership but it elevates the need for more disciplined prioritization. Prioritization allows individuals, teams, and organizations to ensure that they are spending time, money, and other resources on the most important initiatives. Priorities can be defined by helpful frameworks to assess the nearly unlimited options a leader has to steer a team forward.

While it may be tempting to take immediate action with the new information presented and regularly add priorities to pursue new opportunities, the best leaders will remain disciplined to ensure that new information enhances ongoing priorities and that new initiatives are not considered for addition until progress is beyond a certain point. When a leader declares something a priority, it should have a strong and clear rationale for pursuit but also have clear checkpoints of progress along the way. This allows the team to stay focused on the end vision of that priority, while also allowing for pivots and tactical changes as necessary with the infusion of new data and information. Too many priorities with too little progress can have a detrimental impact on team productivity and morale.

Priorities can also serve as a fantastic filter for a team’s time allocation – does what I’m about to work on relate to our organization’s priorities? If not, I’m going to limit my time dedicated to it so I can get back to the things that will drive the progress against our organization’s priorities! The pressure will continue to increase for leaders to help their organizations stay disciplined in their priorities, despite temptations to chase after new opportunities with continuous cycles of new data and information in order to accomplish more against their stated priorities and keep their team members engaged and energized.


The 45-Minute Meeting

A tactical leadership trend starting to emerge and likely to increase in popularity in the coming year is the notion of the 45-minute meeting (…or the 25-minute meeting). Three years into the remote / hybrid work environment because of the global pandemic and let’s face it: it is not uncommon to have long stretches of your day in back-to-back virtual meeting environments barely leaving room for a bio-break or scrap of food. We’re all tired!

A simple way to improve productivity and employees’ mental health in the current virtual communication environment is to reduce the duration of meetings. Just because calendar invite preferences default to 30-minute increments, does not mean that they cannot be adjusted. And as meeting durations get customized, people are being more intentional about the time spent virtually collaborating – like sending agendas in advance to help cut down on the awkward silences and gaps to figure out where to take the discussion next or sending relevant materials before the call to provide additional time for digestion and contextualization. The lack of complaints from the recipients of invitations to shorter meetings is also likely to continue. It turns out that the vast majority of people appreciate a few minutes to refill their coffee!


Attracting & Retaining Talent…Continued

This will sound repetitive from last year, but the key leadership issue we are still hearing about is attracting and retaining talent. While the underlying drivers are slightly different, this theme is still the same. A year ago, there was a lot of talk about returning to the office and a hot labor market making people more prone to leaving. While these issues are still there, as a return to office has happened in all sorts of grey ways, and some rumblings of the labor market getting just slightly less hot, these have become just two of multiple factors and not so much THE factors driving the attracting and retaining talent challenge.

What has become the driver is broadly making the workplace one that people want to join and at which they want to remain. This is clearly stating the obvious. However, it seems like the obvious has too many factors to consider: pay, benefits, work-life balance, mission, advancement, fulfillment, feeling welcome, and enjoyment, just to name a few. (As you can see, last year’s prominent topics of COVID-related items and hot labor market are subfactors in this list).

Balancing all of these items seems impossible considering that they are of unique and varying degrees of importance and priority to every individual. It is becoming clear that the simplest answer to hitting the mark on those factors might be the only answer and that is to focus one level up: Is this a place at which people want to work? That simpler question is easier than constantly thinking the next level down to the tens if not hundreds of levers and dials that one tries to get right. Are people happy with what they are doing, do they feel welcome, do they feel they are well-compensated at work?

We can’t get every dial perfectly right and by no means are we saying we can get things right for everyone, but in aggregate, using common sense and basic human empathy can really be the only formula – all the dial-turning is more art than science if you use your common sense and empathy as a leader. Unlike last year when leaders tried to get the exact right formula for inspiring people to return to the office, now with no one item being the most important to everyone, leaders just need to look, listen, and act wholistically to make their company a place at which people want to work.




Educate 360 Professional Training Partners upskills individuals with the Management & Leadership, Data Science, and IT skills needed by technology-led and innovation-driven organizations. Educate 360 is comprised of specialized training brands with footprint throughout the U.S. and Europe including Pierian Training, Project Management Academy, Six Sigma Online, United Training, Velopi, and Watermark Learning.

Jason Cassidy, PMP, is CEO of Educate 360.

Andrea Brockmeier, PMP, is Director of Project Management at Watermark Learning.

Ken Crawshaw is Senior Principal Technical Instructor for United Training.

Amy Farber is Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, driving growth initiatives across Educate 360.

Dr. Susan Heidorn, PMP, CBAP, BRMP, is Director of Business Solutions at Watermark Learning.

Norman Kennedy, MCT, AAI, is a Cloud and Security focused Senior Technical Trainer at United Training.

Jose Marcel Portilla is Head of Data Science at Pierian Training.

Mike Stuedemann, PMP, CST, is a Scrum-Focused, Agile Agnostic Coach and Trainer at AgilityIRL and partners with Educate 360 for Scrum Alliance courses.