Project Management Trends and Predictions for 2019

“The only constant is change” is a phrase that undoubtedly applies to the world of project management. These changes make up trends that affect the industry at large.

To help you stay ahead of the curve, we researched trends and predictions for 2019.

Project management trends for 2019

Emphasis on soft skills and professional development

Soft skills

Not only do project managers have to be great at managing budgets, timelines, and scopes. They also have to be great at managing relationships with their team, vendors, clients, and any other stakeholders.

Learning how to work effectively with different people (and the personalities they come with) can be a tricky task in itself. The said task gets even trickier when the group of people you work with change from project to project.

Hiring for soft skills and strong emotional intelligence means increased team performance, increased leadership ability, improved decision making, decreased occupational stress, and reduced staff turnover. This is particularly important at a time where conditions are changing more rapidly and organizational hierarchy is growing flatter.

Project management trends

Professional development

Learning about project management from a book and actually managing projects are two different ball games. In order to break the rules properly, one must know them like a pro.

So, with the shift towards more tailored methodologies, project managers will need to place greater importance on professional development. This can mean seeking out mentors, reading project management blogs and other useful resources for project managers, attending project management conferences, taking online courses, and more. This project management trend will be vital for years.

Moreover, project management training will expand to non-project departments, like sales and marketing, etc.

The growing importance of tech

With an increase in accessibility to AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), project managers will be able to measure the health of a project beyond the triple constraint and plan ahead. With access to more data, stakeholders will demand to know about their metrics and project management KPIs.

The Girls Guide to PM highlighted a number of ways AI and bots can assist with project management, including:

  • Using natural language search to identify risks.
  • Improving risk assessments.
  • Testing risk responses.
  • Allocating resources.
  • Intelligent scheduling.
  • Automating mundane and repetitive tasks.
  • Improving consistency in process and decision making.
Project management trends

With AI assisting with key project management tasks, there will be a greater emphasis for project managers to hone softer skills like relationship building and negotiation.

More projects in the future will include elements of artificial intelligence or machine learning, or both. Learning more about the capabilities and limitations of the technology will help project managers plan, manage, and execute projects of this nature more effectively. Project managers can get ahead of the curve by upskilling with the help of online courses, reading books or the news.

PMs (or anyone, really) can start today by looking into ways they can optimize their time and workflow. Here are some AI apps and plugins you can check out – the possibilities are endless! So, go on with this trend and be ready for it.

A shift in methodologies

Instead of approaching projects with a one-size-fits-all methodology, there will be a continuous shift toward more flexible methodologies like Agile or Scrum or tailored approaches.

Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., Senior Executive Director of Project Management, IIL shared in an article for the IIL blog:

Executives will place more trust in project managers to make decisions on the type of methodology used. Not only is this trend important for employee satisfaction, but it is also vital in order to remain competitive. With greater autonomy, project managers will be able to tailor their approach on a client-to-client or project-to-project basis.

Using a customer-oriented framework instead of something more fixed, like Waterfall, means better client-contractor relationships. A happy working relationship has immense intrinsic value, but it also means more business and a better bottom line. Win-win!

Project managers will benefit immensely by brushing up on more fluid methodologies and keeping abreast of newer, future-of-work-type methodologies.

It would also be prudent to look into project management software that is versatile and adaptable enough to accommodate different planning and execution styles.

GanttPRO is online Gantt chart software that helps thousands of individuals and teams manage their tasks, deadlines, resources, and costs. Helps to stay in PM trends anytime.

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Increased prevalence of remote work

Remote work is growing in prevalence and becoming a project management trend, and it’s easy to see why. Companies can hire the best talent irrespective of geographic location and reduce administrative or logistical overhead. Remote employees report greater satisfaction, have more flexibility than non-remote workers, and more.

As such, project managers will need to invest in technology and tools to promote communication between team members. Surpsingly but even remote work has trends that change from year to year.

With the uptick in gig workers, project managers will also need to relearn how to manage tasks, people, and time when workers are distributed and potentially working on other projects.

Project managers can brush up on the challenges remote workers face (e.g. burnout and isolation) and the challenges PMs face when managing teams made up of remote– or gig workers (e.g. bottlenecks, creating smooth workflows).

Utilizing tech to maintain the human touch

Cisco predicts that 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video by 2021 and research by Vidyard and Demand Metric reports that video converts better than any other content type.

The Elizabeth Harren from The Girl’s Guide to PM predicts that this may change how project management communicates to stakeholders. The logic being that if “that’s what your stakeholders are doing on the internet outside of work, how do you think they are going to want to get status updates and briefings at work?”

This also ties in with the proliferation of remote work. Instead of discussing the project from the other end of a conference table, teammates may communicate from the other end of the world by way of Skype or a Slack call or any other online collaboration tool.

Looking ahead and predicting project management trends

Project management will continue to evolve, grow, and give birth to new trends. What trends do you anticipate for 2019?

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