Anyone that has worked in project management for some time remembers how it was 10 years ago. Rigid methodologies, lesser library tools to support project management, and, of course, less complex projects.
Over the last decade, however, this scenario has changed considerably. With the evolution of technology and the growing need to transform internal processes, the project management discipline has undergone profound changes to meet the new reality in companies in all ports and industries.
The changes of recent years were further driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing measures applied as a way to stop the spread of the virus forced companies to accelerate their digital transformations, so that employees could have access to work resources from anywhere.
This has boosted the conduct of new business projects and the application of project management methodologies. The result has been an acceleration of trends, which will impact project management discipline in 2021 and beyond, shaping the way projects are managed over the next few years.
Let’s learn more about some trends that will soon become a reality in most companies.
1. Greater Reliance on Digital & Remote Teams
Project management broke the boundaries of the brick and mortar office. A lot of factors contributed to it — some are older than the coronavirus pandemic, including the quest for greater connectivity, the entry of a new generation into the labor market, and the growth of the shared-economy. Today, fully digital and remote teams are more common than ever.
The pandemic, however, served as an accelerator to these changes. To protect employees and reduce the spread of the virus within their locations, companies around the world have adopted telecommuting policies — many of them for good. As a result, project managers were faced with new challenges.
These challenges are often linked to the loss of contact between team members and the performance of collaborative functions between them. However, this does not necessarily mean that project management loses efficiency when handled by remote teams. In fact, telecommuting can bring many benefits to project management, including more flexibility and a broader options to attract and retain talent from around the world.
However, managers still must find a way to make collaboration and effort frictionless through remote teams. This includes going beyond adopting cloud project management solutions that encourage collaboration, exchange of ideas, and monitoring of project activities.
2. The Expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Automation
Artificial Intelligence is changing different industries and departments, and with project management it will be no different.
Many organizations now use project management AI to carry out activities through task automation. The result goes beyond streamlining the execution of simple project steps, but it is also useful in generating data to measure performance.
In project management, AI can be used to perform the most diverse tasks. This goes from scheduling meetings to make informed decisions based on the data captured. However, for the AI application to be well defined, it is necessary to know how and where it can be put to good use to increase efficiency in managing a project.
Contrary to popular belief, the use of automation also paves the way for building relationships between team members and between the team and customer. In addition, it allows your team to devote to tasks of greater value for the completion of the project.
Finally, AI has made it possible for managers to get much more accurate project duration, costs, and progress, helping to set more realistic timelines.
3. Tailored Project Delivery Methodologies
Project management methodologies are nothing new. The cascade method, which foresees the execution of a project’s activities in a linear fashion, is already considered the standard (traditional) methodology in most companies.
This method offered a simple and easy way to manage the managers responsible for the project, however, it’s a rigid format and it is not really focused on the customer, which has made new and more dynamic methodologies emerge.
The beginning of the 21st century saw the emergence of the Agile Manifesto, the basis for new and diverse project management methodologies that have emerged in recent years. But even Agile, with all its interactivity, also had problems in light of the constant changes we see almost daily in the technology landscape.
Although Agile and Cascade are still the most common methods, we are increasingly seeing the hybridization of management methodologies, with a mixed application of the best options according to each phase of a project.
This was added to the application of Lean concepts to project management. Kanban and Scrum are just some of the concepts brought from lean manufacturing to optimize the use of resources in a project. In addition, the creation of sector-specific methodologies (with the methodologies created for software development) has also marked the search for even more efficiency in project management.
In the coming years, we will see this trend toward methodology hybridization grow as organizations continue to look for new ways to address the challenges of managing projects in increasingly dynamic and uncertain environments.
There is no doubt that the field of project management changes with each passing year. Organizations that want to succeed — harnessing the power that ideation and new projects can bring to the pursuit of achieving their business goals — should look to keep up with major changes in project management practices!
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