PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRENDS
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT REPORTS
AND OPEN APIS
Customizability will be at the center of enterprise project management software now and into the future. The level of granularity and detail in project reports varies greatly depending on whom
you are reporting to. Traditionally, project management reporting was carried out following strict“Chinese whisper” protocols.
You reported to your boss who reported to their boss and so on
up. No down-wind news was good news. Thankfully this type of
siloed reporting is almost gone.
Nonetheless, the information the CIO requires on technical
progress juxtaposed against the project budgetary data requested
by the dreaded CFO function are just different—the data lives in
different tools, the layout and format of the requested reports are
so varied. We all know the junior project managers that immediately after their weekly project status meeting start preparing
next week’s project report. How much time do you spend getting reports together? Obviously, different parts of the organization need different aspects of the project status information.
Some managers want the report in slide format; others can only
work with spreadsheets. Of course, there is a solution—invest in
a project management system that harvests data from different
data sources into customizable reports. Once again, don’t forget
the investors, as mentioned earlier in this paper, they want to see
the project progress and expenditure profiling;“he who pays the
piper calls the tune”.
As enterprise businesses want to securely integrate their
CRM (customer relationship management) software to their PM
(project management) systems and vice-versa, the ability to have
open API (application programming interface) functionality will
become an industry standard as opposed to a“feature.” Project
management and CRM platform integration can bridge the gap,
for example, between finance and operations by exchanging data
between disparate systems. Even if technical teams and finance
are archenemies, an open API can provide transparency and
hence build trust between the two teams.
PROJECT MANAGERS ARE THE NEW CHANGE MANAGERS
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying,“Change
is the only constant in life.” One vastly under-rated theme I
believe is that for every technology introduction, change is the
absolute constant. And technology companies, intentionally or
not, sometimes forget to mention this. To continue a trajectory
of steady growth, the global medical device and pharmaceutical
industries must adapt to the dynamic changes disrupting the
healthcare landscape. Mergers and acquisitions and new nonvertical partnerships are commonplace. Therefore, a question
well worth asking is: how can project managers get more involved in change initiatives?
Traditionally, the project manager’s task was to drive deliv-
erables and keep focused on product delivery. The change man-
ager was dedicated to making change happen in the organiza-
tion. Other responsibilities include driving change management
projects, risk assessment, tracking, managing and monitoring all
change project details, KPIs and team communication. There is
an obvious overlap between the two roles and down the tracks I
predict that executives will want more buy-in and support from
project managers in respect to all change initiatives. If not, their
It makes good sense—project managers work closely with all
team members; they work across disciplines; bridge communi-
cation gaps; and drive education initiatives. In many respects,
they’re the closest to the heartbeat of the organization. Conse-
quently, their focus needs to shift from “what” the project is to
deliver to “why” the project has been initiated. They also must
change the enterprise’s culture and employee attitudes, which
are far easier said than done, especially when change is passively
resisted or actively rejected.
So, what does this all mean? Project managers should man-
age the mechanics of change management projects. They must
become part of the change story, become the early adopters,
their inputs should be requested and their project reports should
always include a section on how the change initiative is going.
Make it part of yearly objectives, recognize their successes and
make them accountable to drive the change not just within their
teams, but also across the entire organization.
And, of course, find a project management tool that can handle
the change management story—one that has the ability to customize interfaces, capture and track business goals, KPIs, change
guidelines and new workflow or process. Source a tool that will
foster rich and relevant collaboration in a single workspace.
John F. Kennedy said“Change is the law of life. And those who
look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
To stay ahead, you need to look ahead. The secret to keeping
ahead of your competitors can be found by reacting to some of
last year’s project failures and building on your successes. Ask
the difficult questions about your project management practices:
What did we do really well? What can we do better? What are our
No matter how much technological advances are made, there
will always be unknowns when delivering medical device or
pharma projects. Change is a constant. Agile merely helps manage projects in light of these expected changes and will continue
to grow as the biggest underlying approach in the short- to midterm. Go slowly, be courageous and let it gain momentum.
Start considering how you will adapt your organization for
greater agility, mobility, in the cloud project management, BYOD
and managing remote teams. Don’t forget your investors. They’re
like a family member—you won’t truly miss them until they’re
gone. And find a suitable project management tool that meets all
your needs. If you really want it to work, you will find a way. If you
don’t, you will blame the tool. CP
DR. JUSTIN KELLEHER is a project management office (PMO)
consultant with Cora Systems ( www.corasystems.com). He has
an established track record of managing IT organizations, managing off-shore operations, delivering large IT customer solutions,
product management, change transformation and driving thought
leadership. His academic research addressed Project Management methodologies, in particular agile practices, process design patterns and corporate
behavioral change theories.