4 Project Management Trends for 2020 onwards… Are You Ready?

Project management is one business sector that is hardwired to manage change. Despite this, the people working in project management aren’t always as quick to adapt. With this in mind, we’re looking at some of the biggest changes that are set to hit project management in 2020 and beyond. Is your organisation ready for the shakeup?

1. The Rise Of AI

Artificial intelligence isn’t coming for your job, but it is going to make your job easier. Adopting rather than running away from new technology will enable project managers to stop spending time on menial tasks and free them up for more big-picture thinking. 

AI is set to transform project management in many different ways. First and foremost, AI will take some of the guesswork out of planning. Initial planning decisions will be made using data, and risk management will become a lot more sophisticated. These tools will also be put to use to manage time-intensive tasks, so project managers will be able to focus on delivering greater value.

You don’t have to go out and become a master of AI overnight. But having a basic understanding of what it is and how it could help your industry could help you to stand out. Being the first to implement AI in your organisation might be scary, but project managers are well equipped to manage this scale of change.

2. Broader skill sets

With the arrival of AI, project managers will need to have broader skill sets. But this isn’t only concerned with highly technical skills. You don’t have to become an expert in AI overnight, but understanding the core principles will make it easier for you to have important conversations with key stakeholders about how AI could help your organisation.

In addition to these technical skills, project managers will also need broader soft skills to cope with the changing face of the industry. As projects become more complex and interconnected, project managers will need to be able to influence and communicate effectively. Inspiring and powerful leadership will also be important during this period of flux.

Look for opportunities to upgrade your skills every single day. This could take the form of training, or it could simply mean shadowing senior figures within your organisation. Throw yourself into situations that you wouldn’t normally say yes to and you will soon discover hidden talents waiting to be utilised. 

3. Hybrid project management

In the past, there have been hard lines between the project management camps. PRINCE2 and APM were as distinct as Agile and Scrum. In the future, we can expect to see project managers adopting a hybrid approach to these different schools of thought. Understanding how agile principles can assist with large infrastructure projects will be just as valuable as applying traditional risk management ideas to software projects.

Rather than picking your training programme and sticking with it, think about expanding your knowledge and adopting a new approach. If you have training in PRINCE2 or APM project management, then an introduction to Agile could help you to become a more versatile hire. Likewise, those from a software background with training in Agile or Scrum could benefit from the founding principles of the APM Project Management Qualification.

Don’t close yourself off to project management principles just because they don’t traditionally fit your industry. Instead, look for ways to adopt a hybrid approach that will ultimately bring value to your role.

4. Diversity

There is plenty of evidence that workplaces are set to become a lot more diverse from 2020 and onwards. Changing parental roles, increased globalisation, an ageing workforce and shifting attitudes towards sexual and gender identity will all fuel this change.

Expect to be working on far more diverse project teams in the coming years and get ready to embrace the opportunities this affords. When teams lack diversity, they can quickly stagnate. When you are surrounded by people who look and think the same way as you, you aren’t pushed to see things from a different perspective. And when the people around you don’t challenge you, it’s easy to fall into poor habits.

While a more diverse workplace might cause more conflict, it is this conflict which helps to drive us forward and develop our ideas. By embracing a more diverse workforce, it will also help to formalise things that might otherwise go unchecked. For example, if you have a remote working policy, what will the expectations be? What will be the preferred method of communication and will this be different for different people? Will workers be expected to check emails at the weekend? By failing to put a policy in place to deal with these issues, it could actually be holding the organisation back. 

While the next decade will lead to significant change for the project management industry, it is changed that should be embraced with open arms as an opportunity to grow and develop.

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