7 project management trends that will always be in style

Blog post image

Project management trends are a big part of what you pay attention to as a successful project manager. There’s a lot on your plate, from resource management to data analysis and proving the ROI of your strategies. It can all become overwhelming pretty quickly.

Thankfully, the latest project management trends provide solutions that help take a load off and increase your chances of success. Below, we discuss some of these trends and give tips for implementing them effectively.

Blog post image

1) The rise of artificial intelligence and automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows machines to simulate human intelligence processes. Ultimately, AI tools help make project managers more agile and efficient. These tools also help project managers make better data-driven decisions.

Ricardo Vargas, host of the 5 Minutes Podcast, shares that there are five ways to apply Al to project management:

  • Use parametric modeling to help save time.

  • Use conditioning to automate administrative tasks.

  • Sequence tasks for low-complexity projects.

  • Improve portfolio management by selecting the best portfolio of projects.

  • Identify the best people on the team to do tasks.

Why it’s here to stay

Research shows that project management professionals expect to manage more of their projects using AI. This isn’t surprising since companies investing in AI can improve project productivity by an average of 15%, and AI helps project managers get at least 64% of their projects to meet or exceed their original values. Without AI, only 52% of such projects would achieve this success. AI helps project managers run projects more efficiently.

Where to start

  • Map each AI tool to the appropriate step in the project management process (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, or closing).

  • Work with tools your brand can access. For instance, if your brand uses Zoho One, familiarize yourself with all the Zoho apps you’ll need to get your work done.

  • Use the data your AI tools provide to make informed decisions. For instance, you can use the projected completion date and actual completion dates of project tasks to predict more realistic dates in future projects.

  • Remember, AI tools support your work as a project manager — they don't replace it.

2) Cloud solutions ascending to the top

Cloud-based project management solutions make planning, collaborating, monitoring, and delivering projects easier. Everything is stored in the cloud so that you can access whatever you need anytime, anywhere. These solutions are particularly useful for digital project management and remote teams that work from multiple locations.

Why it’s here to stay

Cloud solutions are more cost-effective than traditional solutions. You don’t have to pay for a lot of hardware and expensive software to keep your team on track to meet project objectives. Cloud solutions will continue to be a staple in the project management industry.

Where to start

  • Work with your technical team to migrate data from your company's legacy systems to the best cloud solutions for the brand.

  • Ensure your cloud strategy provides efficiency and business value by keeping track of how your cloud solutions help improve the project management process at your company.

  • Have training sessions to ensure each team member understands how to use the new cloud solutions.

Blog post image

3) Advances in project management software

Project management software has evolved significantly, and new technologies emerge daily. Now, project managers and their teams can efficiently monitor all aspects of a project, from tasks to goals, milestones, and time tracking. They’re all-in-one tools that improve efficiency and produce positive ROI.

Why it’s here to stay

Project managers who use technology are 15% more likely to meet their original goals than those who don’t. Project management software makes project planning, execution, and analysis much easier than tracking multiple spreadsheets and combing through volumes of emails.

Where to start

  • Choose a project management tool that fits your brand's needs.

  • Use your preferred project management tool as part of your project management plan. (If you need a jumpstart, check out our guide to project management!)

  • Keep on top of project management software trends so that you can find new ways to use these tools for project efficiency.

4) The integration of change management and project management

Change is a natural part of business. Project managers not only have to deal with spontaneous changes to their own projects but also larger organizational changes. You can’t have project management without change management in the current dynamic.

The fusion between change management and project management occurs because the people impacted by a solution need support to use the new solution in their daily workflow. The project management component focuses on the more technical aspects related to developing, designing, and delivering the solution.

Why it’s here to stay

A Prosci report reveals that 47% of people who integrate project management and change managementreported meeting or exceeding project objectives. Only 30% of those who didn’t integrate achieved similar results. Integrating project management and change management increases the chances of successful projects.

Where to start

  • Start change management at the beginning of a change.

  • Conduct change readiness assessments, so you’re able to customize your change management plan.

Blog post image

5) Hybrid project management methodologies

Hybrid project management involves combining Agile and waterfall project management strategies to create the best solution for a specific project. Research finds that 39% of project managers use multiple project management approaches. More project managers want to tap into the benefits of combining the Agile and waterfallproject management methodologies to make their projects more efficient and likely to yield positive returns.

Why it’s here to stay

Project managers are gravitating towards hybrid approaches because there’s a high failure rate when using only one methodology. Nearly 33% of projects have less than a 50% chance of meeting at least one basic project requirement (budget, deadline, or scope). By combining the best of the Agile and waterfallmethodologies, there is a greater chance of project success.

Where to start

  • Work on any weaknesses you may have with either project management methodology. For the hybrid approach to work, you’ll need balanced knowledge of each method.

  • Spend time helping your team understand the process, so they’re clear on their involvement and any relevant expectations.

  • Develop a system for expected communications, reporting, and meetings to engage everyone.

6) Remote and hybrid work environments

Project managers now have to work in a world where teams are either remote or hybrid. In a study by Deloitte, 86% of U.S. tech industry leaders report shifting to a hybrid work model, while 76% expected more employees to work remotely. These changes are largely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing companies globally to work remotely. People adjusted to that change and are now demanding more from their employers.

Why it’s here to stay

Teams widely prefer hybrid work models. In February 2022, 42% of employees worked in a hybrid model, while 39% worked in an exclusively remote model. The forecast is that the number of hybrid workers will increase by 11%, while the number of fully remote workers will decrease by 15% throughout the rest of 2022 and beyond. Going forward, 90% of workers prefer remote work flexibility.

Where to start

  • Your emotional intelligence needs to be on point. Capterra reveals that emotionally intelligent project managers are 11% more likely to manage processes successfully, engage stakeholders, and effectively use resources than those who lack this skill. This is particularly important when managing remote teams because of the numerous challenges involved.

  • Project management consultant Sarah Hoban recommends ensuring all team members are in-office on the same days if you’re working in a hybrid environment. Otherwise, some team members will be left behind.

  • Become a hybrid person yourself. IT project management leader Olivia Montgomery states, “The best PMs are going to be hybrid. They’ll be leaders and also workers, both technically knowledgeable and business savvy—problem finders yet also designers of the solution.”

  • Communication is one of the biggest challenges in managing remote teams. It’s crucial to figure out ways to communicate effectively as a team so everyone feels motivated and clear about what’s required.

  • Ensure project scope and responsibilities are clear to team members ahead of time.

Blog post image

7) Increasing focus on project leadership

Any project management book can tell you that honing in on the human element of leading people is one of a project manager’s biggest jobs. While project managers focus on managing tasks and keeping the project on track, project leaders focus on empowering and motivating teams to complete projects. Often, project leaders are project managers with additional leadership responsibilities.

Why it’s here to stay

Project leaders should be leadership role models. You should pay attention to how you treat team members and connect with them in ways that provide strategic value. It’s an approach that makes people feel appreciated and valued rather than making them feel like they’re task-completing machines.

Where to start

  • Get emotional intelligence training. A big part of leadership is understanding how to identify how people are feeling and not project your emotions onto others. It’s a crucial soft skill you’ll need as a project leader.

  • Build trust with your team by offering them support. Set challenging goals that help team members reach their full potential and offer them the support they need to accomplish those goals.

  • Create a safe space where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

  • Connect project outputs with the brand’s strategic drivers. Is your project helping the brand achieve its strategic objectives? Is your project relevant to the target audience and sustainable? The answers to these questions will help you make the connections.

What’s in store for the future of project management? 

Project management's future depends on project managers' willingness to become better leaders and leverage technology to complete projects on time, within scope, and on budget. You should be nimble, adaptable, and ready to tackle changes that will come, whatever they may be.

Get ahead of the game with Teamwork 

The advances in project management are astounding. They challenge you to upgrade your project management skills, learn new technology, and become a better leader. Tapping into the benefits of these new trends means that you’ll need to rethink how you approach your project management plan. 

Our guide will help you create a project management plan that actually works — it even has a template to guide you along the way. Check it out here: How to create a project management plan that actually works

Related Articles
View all