2022 trends in project management

Let’s look at the changes you can expect to see in the project management world and how you can leverage each trend to become a better project manager and deliver better, more successful projects.

Emerging workplace trends, such as the increase in remote work, digital transformation, the increased adoption of cloud-based project management tools, and the demand for mental health support at work, have seen project teams—and the way they work—shift.

1. The future of project management is remote and hybrid

It may sound like a buzzphrase, but hybrid teams are now the norm. While many companies are encouraging employees to come back to the office, the demand for flexible work is not about going anywhere. 91% of US workers want to work at least somewhat remotely in the future. Besides, and with the Great Resignation raging across the world, companies need to be willing to allow a hybrid work model to retain their employees.

Leading a hybrid team will be different from what you’re accustomed to. It’s therefore prudent that project managers understand the nature of remote and hybrid teams to lead better.

For starters, it’s imperative not to equate physical presence with greater performance and productivity. Also, constant and continuous communication is more critical than ever. Note: good communication doesn’t mean you turn into a micromanager! Fortunately, the right tech exists to help remote teams collaborate and work together across greater distances than ever before.

2. Digital transformation and project management

Digital transformation is quickly worming its way into the project management world as well.

According to The Enterprisers Project, digital transformation is “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.”

Embracing digital transformation will give businesses the competitive advantage they need to thrive today. Research shows that 41% of companies embracing and implementing digital transformation increase their market share; 37% see increased customer engagement in digital channels; 37% have more positive employee morale, and 30% experience increased customer revenue.

For companies that are yet to leverage the trend, the PMI Pulse of the Profession Report found that 42% lose money on failed projects, and 46% experience scope creep.

Yes, it will take time, effort, and a bit of disruption.; But it will also empower you (and your team!) to deliver successful projects and ultimately support your organization to realize its goals.

3. AI, machine learning, and automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation are huge drivers of digital transformation. So, it goes without saying that to adopt digital transformation, project managers must also become familiar with these technologies.

The “tech of the future” (and also our present) will make execution easier and enable project managers to build meaningful relationships with their team members and clients.

As an example, project managers can use automation to perform complex tasks ranging from scheduling to data visualization. Better data visualization will help you make informed decisions based on the captured insights. Further, AI can also enable better project and risk estimation. As you may have experienced, deadlines tend to be pushed ahead due to poor estimation or unknown external factors. With AI, you can get the correct estimation of a project’s duration, costs, and progress, helping you estimate realistic timelines for your project.

4. An increased dependency on project management tools

Over the years, project management’s scope has broadened to encompass a wide range of activities and initiatives. With this has come the need for advanced project management tools. According to research, 77% of successful projects use project management software to plan, execute, and control all aspects of project management.

Project management tools help in collecting and analyzing data. Project managers can then use this data to plan better. These tools also make scheduling and time tracking a breeze. The tool automatically tracks time spent on tasks and manages scheduled events, meetings, milestones, and deadlines.

The project manager’s ultimate goal is to deliver projects within the allocated budget and on time. The software helps achieve these goals while simplifying the process.

5. Cloud-based project management software will be standard

As more and more companies continue to depend on project management software, a new trend is emerging; cloud-based project management software. The cloud offers many advantages, and companies have taken notice. Over 40% of organizations now rely on SaaS solutions, accounting software, and similar offerings.

As businesses embrace hybrid and remote teams, smooth and seamless transition is only possible when they move their project management infrastructure almost entirely to the cloud. Cloud-based software stores all data in the cloud where it’s accessible to everyone regardless of where they’re working from.

In addition to remote access, cloud-based software is easy to use and maintain, making it time and cost-effective.

6. Incorporating a mix of project management methodologies

Another notable trend is a shift away from embracing just a single project management methodology and favoring more hybrid approaches.

Traditionally, project managers have relied on using just a single project management technique tools, such as Stage-Gate, Scrum, Agile, or even Kanban. However, businesses are increasingly working on multiple projects simultaneously. These projects are also becoming increasingly complex, requiring additional flexibility that these traditional methodologies may not provide.

The secret to bringing consistent success to these projects lies in using a combination of methodologies—such as Agile-Scrum, AgiFall or Scrum-Ban—to manage their new projects instead of sticking to one.

7. Increased focus on soft skills and EQ for project managers

Pulse of the Profession study revealed that possessing hard skills alone is no longer sufficient in today’s increasingly competitive job market. Soft skills continue to be sought after along with other project management credentials.

While the best project managers have strong technical skills, soft skills have become increasingly important as they help to effectively manage people and produce the best results.

Emotional intelligence (also known as emotional quotient, or EQ) is one critical soft skill that will be in high demand. In addition to managing project activities, project managers also have to manage people. A proper understanding of emotions is required to deal with different personalities—making EQ a necessary leadership skill for every project manager.

Other soft skills such as empathy, decision-making, and leadership are critical to a project’s success. These skills enable project managers to address the needs of their team and ensure they are supplying the resources their team needs to succeed.

8. Emphasis on mental health

Project management can be stressful; we know that. And let’s face it, the last three years have taken a toll on our mental health. A recent survey by Mind Share Partners found that 60% of American workers have experienced symptoms related to mental health issues in the last 12 months. Safeguarding your emotional and mental health and that of your teams has to be a priority for the forward-thinking leader.

Additionally, employees are now demanding more mental support and will quit a job if they don’t feel supported. Avoiding physical and psychological stress will be a large part of keeping employees happy, healthy, and on your team.

Preparing for the Future of Project Management

The world of work is changing and project management is evolving along with it too. Staying abreast of industry trends is essential if you want to remain competitive. When you know what to anticipate, you’ll be better equipped to take advantage of new opportunities, develop your skillset and be better prepared for any curveballs or crises this year can throw at you.

This article was authored by leading, Salesforce native Project Management software, Mission Control.

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