Emerging Project Management Trends

These project management trends will impact your teams, your clients, and your approach. Take these steps to stay relevant in changing times. The world itself is changing by way of our evolving technologies, social organization, and business environment. Some of the emerging project management trends are

1. Constantly Changing Digital Technologies:

Automation and AI technologies remain prominent and are increasingly so, consistent with our project management trends from 2019. Knowing how to use them to optimize your projects will have a positive impact on your projects, like streamlining resource management, reducing and mitigating project risks and threats, and prioritizing tasks and projects. This will free up time for your other project management activities like leading team meetings, interpreting client or organizational requests, and driving timelines.

2. Importance of Change Management to Project Success:

Change management is a hot topic among project management trends—whether it’s mitigating change, reducing change, embracing change, or accelerating change. In 2021, increasing competition and smaller profit margins mean organizations must always adapt and adjust their processes, workflows, and competencies. Digital project managers must manage change effectively to complete projects and boost their organizations.

3. Risk Management has Higher Stakes:

Risk management affects entire organizations, not just at the project level. Managing risk is the latest project management skill that PMs can use toward project success. Competition between agencies and organizations is increasing as more and more players enter the field. Companies need to have a risk management strategy to reduce the impact and frequency of threats and give them an edge over their competitors. As a PM, minimizing risks from project to project can boost project success and keep clients happy. It can also boost ROI and keeping customers returning.

4. Increased Organizational Collaboration:

Communication is an essential component of collaboration. In 2019, we covered how soft skills like communication, negotiation, and emotional intelligence are increasingly providing more business value. Project management skills in communication will intensify in importance, and are likely to shoot to the top of the list for companies looking for and allocating project managers.On a day to day level, this means more check-ins with your team, more quick meetings (who doesn’t love a 5 minute meeting), and more heads ups. You’ll find that projects run smoother, your team has more direction, and you’re proactive in approaching problems.

5. Shifting, Globalized Gig Economy

Project managers already have firsthand knowledge of the growing gig economy—many teams are bringing on gig workers, and the increasing numbers of remote working and co-working arrangements has already begun to impact our approach in managing projects. More than the other project management trends, the gig economy has direct, immediate results in a project manager’s work. We often find ourselves with a smaller pool of core, full-time team members, who are supported by a distributed and shifting network of freelancers. For PMs, managing a remote team comes with a whole new set of challenges in time, people, and task management. We’re continuously trying to answer the question of how we’ll keep work flowing smoothly when our teams are in different time zones, different continents, and often committed to more projects than just ours.

6. Greater Focus on Data:

Especially with profitability being trickier, we have to be smarter about the way we create project data, use data to estimate, and plan and forecast our projects. Yes, algorithms can help analyze some of the data, but the growing availability and importance of data means that project managers will need to step into a data analysis role from time to time.

This means setting up projects strategically with a plan for collecting the right types of data, and it also means helping teams and internal stakeholders get business insights and a common understanding from the data that is collected. 

Project management trends often change the way large businesses operate, so you, the PM in the middle of it all, may very well become the driving force of transformation in 2021 and beyond.