As we focus on the current state of project management and look into the future, here are seven project management trends that have already impacted, and will continue to drive and define, the way we work inside and outside of projects across the enterprise.
- Expanded Use of Digital Tools
The digital tools used by project managers are now being used by organizations to solve problems, improve productivity, and automate repetitive, manual tasks. All of increases success and drives profitability.
- Rise of Business Agile
Organizations are no longer exclusively using waterfall project management. They have started taking an agile approach that helps streamline collaboration and decision-making and achieve desired results.
- Growth of Remote Working
Remote working has been prevalent in the world of project management for several years. Now, organizations as-a-whole are embracing the concept of distributed teams — especially if they need to access and retain talent that is not available in their local labour pool.
- Elevated PMO
The PMO has gone beyond a traditional self-contained unit and is now typically connected to the wider corporate strategy, objectives and work of the enterprise. A growing number of PMOs are taking on responsibilities once handled exclusively by the C-suite and human resources when it comes to people management, while establishing collaborative practices and tools across the enterprise. At the same time, the project management function in most of these organizations has increased success rates, standardized delivery and improved predictability.
- Customized Dashboards
Real-time visibility is critical for fast, correct decision-making. As such, organizations are increasingly taking advantage of software tools that generate visibility from the top through to the bottom. Not only do project managers need to track what is going on with their own projects, but executive oversight by senior managers and other stakeholders is equally important. They need to monitor progress and see if results and returns are actually materializing.
- Clearer Prioritization
Visibility on priorities is extremely valuable for individuals in completing key actions, and for assessing how they are performing in relation to others in the chain of tasks; particularly those that are interdependent (i.e. one task cannot be tackled until a prior one is completed). Clear and consistent prioritization is even more important for management, as comprehensive tracking of priorities ensures that management has ability to make informed decisions.With this in mind, an obstacle that some organizations face is that prioritizations can be ad-hocand based on tactical evidence, rather than a larger strategic plan or wider business objectives. In other words: decisions can sometimes be based on lobbying by a person or team, instead of reliable business intelligence. To that end, priorities need to be visible and transparent on the collaborative software platform — with actions updated in real-time — in order to minimize or eliminate debates about what next steps to take.
- Changing Collaboration
In the near future, we expect to see a fundamental shift in collaboration in project management. A project manager will need to lead change management in order to deliver and succeed. Reporting structures and responsibilities are changing as well, and we are already seeing a shift in which workers are increasingly being asked who they want to work.
The common theme in all of these trends is that project management — and its various methodologies, tools, approaches, and best practices — are no longer limited and contained to project applications. They are extending throughout and beyond the project management landscape and influencing how work is done across the organization. This is clearly a positive development and bodes well for individuals and teams who carry out tasks, along with managers and executives who establish standards and goals — and are ultimately accountable for outcomes and results.