Trends and Innovations Shaping Project Management in 2021
Successfully completing a project is a complex process involving properly managing and tracking all the moving pieces that need to be coordinated seamlessly for a project to not just get done, but to stay on track and on budget.
The different parts of a project may include collaboration between employees and partners, scheduling meetings, tracking tasks sequentially, minding strict budgets and timelines, analyzing reports, and more.
Manually managing all the components of taking a project from concept to a completed result can be challenging for teams, even when they are working with a designated project manager at the helm.
Add these typical project complexities to those of the remote-shifting workplace, and you can certainly expect to see some changes and innovations in how projects are managed.
Here’s a closer look at 5 of the key trends that will be re-shaping project management in 2021 and the years to follow.
Rise in Remote Work Leading to Increased Reliance on Cloud-Based Project Management Tools
While many companies were already making the transition to remote work or at least leveraging cloud-based software and systems in the past couple of years, a staggering number of businesses had to make a sudden shift to a remote work during 2020 to keep employees safe and business functioning despite the rampant effects of the COVDI-19 pandemic.
Cloud-based software is now more heavily used than ever before, and thanks to the vast benefits, ranging from a stronger bottom line to efficiency increases, this trend is only expected to grow in adoption. This is particularly true in the instances where companies are choosing to keep their businesses remote even post-COVID.
Project Management software is certainly no exception to this trend, and companies working remotely will now need an easily accessible and robust collection of tools, features, tracking, and integrations that are all designed for smoothly managing projects from beginning to completion.
Whether a project involves a lot of intricate steps or requires that groups of employees and/or clients work together seamlessly, project management software can help a company successfully manage and complete projects across all departments or even externally with clients or partners. Even for teams that are working face to face, project management software helps keep each member apprised of what their colleagues are doing individually.
Project Management software provides a comprehensive, bird’s-eye-view of the project, and does so in a way that’s far more efficient than endless and often not particularly productive meetings. It cuts down on phone and email traffic and reduces misunderstandings as well.
Dispersed Teams and Innovations in Online Tools Brings About Hybrid Project Management Models
Due to the changing nature of the workplace (and with an unprecedented number of employees now working remotely) project management practices, models, and tools are positioned for changes and innovations in the coming year.
While particular industries or project types may favor certain methodologies to complete projects or bring new initiatives to fruition, the use of hybrid methodologies and tools is becoming much more prominent.
Project Management software solutions typically offer tools to support various project methodologies, from Kanban and Agile to Scrum and Lean. These solutions can be used in support the most favored project methods, while also providing a variety of integrated options and tools that project teams can try out while looking for the best methodology or use if they prefer a mixture of tools from various methods.
AI Introduces New Automations to Streamline Projects and Empower Project Managers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is starting to appear more and more frequently in all type of business software solutions, including project management systems. AI can:
· Help eliminate mundane or error-prone tasks such as data entry
· Glean insights with advanced reporting applications
· Automate processes and build up efficiencies
· Find patterns and make predictions based on historic and ongoing data sets
The most prominent role that AI is currently positioned to play in Project Management software is automation. This could mean streamlining and automating tasks that project managers or team members typically have to do manually, such as resource allocation, scheduling, budgeting, reporting, and more.
While there is some speculative worry surrounding the role of project managers and how AI will support (or replace) their efforts and roles overall, the general prediction is that AI will help project managers work more effectively and dynamically, while freeing up their time to focus on more strategic initiatives versus manual data entry, calendar scheduling, etc.
Project Managements Goes Back to Basics with Increased Importance of Emotional Intelligence and Other Soft Skills
Managing projects with face-to-face access to key team members and the collaboration born of in-person interactions undoubtedly helps increase project completions and smooths the communication process.
However, with all the of the collaboration tools, scheduling assistants, and project and budget tracking tools available in cloud Project Management software, remote teams can still accomplish goals and meet project objectives under the guidance of a good leader with top notch communication skills and emotional intelligence.
These are the types of soft skills that can’t be quantified well in sheer numbers or milestones, but they’ll be the things that infuse life into projects and motivate employees to collaborate and work together, no matter where they’re located. As a result, more companies will be looking for project managers and talent that are strong in these skills and capable of leading and motivating a team.
Project management software isn’t a substitute for good leadership, but it is a great tool for facilitating it.
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