new-yearWe’ll look back on 2009 philosophically one day but there are many who are happy to see it come to an end.  When we started 2009 we had challenges in various sectors of the project management community.  But there were signs of things improving.  The US had just elected a new president; a man full of hope and promise.  The world’s auto industry was challenged but help would be on the way with a new administration. 

In the project management software world Microsoft had grown the project management software business yet again and its main competitor had recently been bought by its arch rival Oracle.  It promised to be a very interesting year.

Who would have predicted the depths of the financial industry crises or the incredible amounts of bail-out money that would be allocated to the private sector?

Project Managers all over the world have had to fight to keep their jobs this year, some of them unsuccessfully.  With less money comes fewer projects and with fewer projects we need fewer project managers.  Not every industry has been affected the same way.  Some project management consulting firms have had their best year ever.  If you do work with the public sector there was suddenly a big shift towards spending money in a hurry with all that bail out money needing good governance.  If you worked in the health sector, the H1N1 scare had all kinds of industries from vaccine distribution to hand sanitizer manufacturing scrambling to expand at breakneck speed.

The aquisition of Primavera by Oracle seemed to have little effect in the short term but my experience reminds me that effects of such mergers are usually slow in coming. 

2009 may have been hard for some in the industry but if you struggled this past year, take heart.  There is light at the end of the tunnel. 

2010 has some interesting changes for those in the project management industry:

Here at HMS we’re going to finally release our TimeControl 6 product.  There’ll be lots to say about this as we get 2010 underway but we’re very excited about this long standing project finally coming to market.

Next, Microsoft will release Project and Project Server 2010 “sometime in the spring” of 2010.  A major new release of project management software always seems to bring out changes.

The bailout money from various governments around the world that made such headlines in 2009 is only now starting to hit the streets and as it does a variety of industries will scramble to execute on projects that money and derivatives of that money make possible.  Even if you’re not on a direct bailout path, the recovery of a lot of the financial sector has made equity numbers improve and as a result, commercial credit is making a slow comeback.  As it does, more and more projects will become possible.

I predict one of the most interesting years for enterprise project management as a drive for efficiency takes center stage ahead of a drive for government compliance.

Happy New Year everyone.  Let’s make this a great one.