The project management field is constantly evolving, so it is important for leaders and other professionals working in this area to keep up with the latest trends and to change with the times. Similarly, it is imperative that employee development strategies and online project management training programs adapt and evolve.
In this article, we take a closer look at some of the most significant trends to be aware of if you work within project management, as well as some of the changes that are likely to be ushered in over the coming months and years.
1. Training and Certification is Becoming More Important
Both offline and online project management training
are becoming more important. Evidence of this can be found in the recent PMI Pulse of the Profession 2018 report, which found that 72 percent
of the PMO leaders surveyed now believe that official certification is "very relevant" for mid-career project managers.
The report also divided businesses into champions (who completed 80 percent or more of their projects on time and on budget) and underperformers (who completed 60 percent or less of their projects on time and on budget).
Among the champions; 83 percent had ongoing project manager training, 75 percent had a defined career path for project managers, and 81 percent prioritized the development of project management technical skills. Among under-performers these numbers were significantly reduced to 34 percent, 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
"Just over one in four respondents mentioned the ability to learn, understand, apply, and keep up with technology as the most-needed skill for project managers to respond to the impacts of the digital transformation," the PMI report states. "Failure to acquire, train, and retain project managers can have catastrophic consequences."
2. The Agile Approach to Project Management is Growing
The rise of Big Data has meant many projects are now more uncertain than ever before, and project managers need to respond to this by using methodologies that allow changes to be made to their projects earlier and with greater efficiency, to limit wasted resources and risk. One of the best ways to achieve this is by adopting the agile approach.
A high-quality agile project management course can teach project managers how to implement an approach that prioritizes incremental testing of hypotheses or assumptions, as well as cross-functional collaboration between different departments. This can serve to make projects more resilient to changes in direction.
According to statistics published by Capterra, 71 percent of organizations now report using agile approaches sometimes, often or always. However, the majority of failed agile implementations are blamed on a clash between the agile philosophy and the culture of the organization. These statistics highlight the growing popularity of the agile approach however, agile project management course investment also needs to be backed by culture change.
3. Project Leaders Must Contend with Information Overload
Another important trend for project management professionals to be aware of is the increasing number of ways for information to be communicated, including emails, video conferencing, the world wide web and social media.
This can increase the number of interruptions a project manager receives daily, making the job more difficult.
"Our 24×7 news cycle and increased interconnectedness has enabled more people to publish and disseminate information," says Nadine Rochester, writing for the Strategy Execution blog. "Project leaders today are grappling with how to parse through the information onslaught in order to make timely, accurate decisions."
Information overload can become a particular problem when there is an abundance of redundant information. It is, therefore, important that project managers develop the skills that allow them to deal with information more effectively, whether by setting up email rules, or using different software tools to filter information.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & The Internet of Things (IoT)
Finally, two of the most important trends that project managers have to be aware of are the rise of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. These two technological trends are combining to fundamentally alter the way that projects are carried out and those who fail to evolve may be put at a significant disadvantage.
Already, artificial intelligence tools are being used to automate many of the tasks associated with project management and AI-enabled solutions are becoming increasingly affordable, cost-effective and reliable. As a result, they are going to become much more commonplace for a variety of tasks including intelligent automated delegation.
The Internet of Things, meanwhile, will have a substantial impact on project management, by allowing technology and objects to be more easily controlled remotely. This could have various knock-on effects, helping to enhance collaboration across departments, improve efficiency, and allow project work to be carried out with a similar remote approach.
For those working within project management, understanding and responding to the latest trends is a crucial part of keeping pace with competitors and achieving optimum performance. It is also essential that development programmes respond to the emergence of new trends, in order to adequately equip project managers and leaders.
At present, some of the key project management trends to be aware of include: the increased importance of training, coaching and certification; the continued growth of the agile approach; the phenomenon of information overload; and the emergence of technology like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things - all of which have the potential to fundamentally alter the way projects are planned, organised and completed.
Nadine is a technical marketing director at Strategy Execution, providing contract management training
with over 20 years’ experience in the global B2B sector, hands on, creative marketer, Nadine demonstrates a passion for cutting-edge technology and a proven ability to effectively translate client priorities. Nadine is passionate about Project Management, managing and contributing to the company PM blog servicing 40,000 monthly users.