Project Management Trends in 2021
The project management sphere never rests. New methods, approaches, and solutions are always entering the field, and existing project management tools release new features constantly.
Some people think that project management might not seem like an industry that is experiencing many changes, however, that is not the case.
On the eve of the new year, we decide to predict the most assumed things that we are waiting for in project management for 2021, what trends will be the most popular, and what project managers will strive for.
This article is not based on personal research or global statistics; we just share our own vision and predict.
What Are the Biggest Project Management Trends Shaping 2021?
The growth of distributed teams and remote work popularity
The COVID-19 situation has been changing a lot of things around us. We can not overcome the virus yet, so many businesses have to adapt to its conditions. Many companies have been forced to open offices at home, and it is highly expected that the situation will be the same in the coming 2021.
Project managers are no different. Remote working capabilities have been saving so many projects from impending doom. However, PMs can face different challenging issues that come with working virtually.
Working from home is not the same as office work. As a project manager, you will have to find a way to turn your personal space into a comfortable workspace. You will also need to repurpose its part to fit into a structure that permits you to work effectively. Perhaps, you’ll even have to set up your office on the dining room table.
Luckily, there are many powerful remote project management tools today that may enhance the work and make distributed collaboration easier.
The growth of the project manager’s influence
The organizational structure of many companies is now becoming less hierarchical. That is why often project managers take on part of their responsibilities of middle managers. Among the other project manager’s tasks, strategic thinking is becoming one of the most critical.
Project managers will continue to be the leaders and managers who manage the creation of value, who are responsible not only for financial results but also for a certain philosophy of the project.
The increasing complexity of projects
Projects are becoming more complex for those who perform them, but anyway they should be simply explained to the audience. Those professionals who can present complex things to their clients in a simple form will be able to build effective strategies for project promotion.
The popularity of Agile
Project management methods and techniques have been changed greatly over the years. In the recent past, a method called Waterfall was the most commonly used in all different kinds of businesses that run projects. According to the method, a project just follows certain steps until it is eventually completed.
However, today we can admit that Agile methodology is gaining stream and becoming the standard for many companies in different industries.
Agile will continually grow in popularity because of its iterative nature in quickly adapting the scope requirements to reflect the changing business environment.
Agile as a methodology focuses on maintaining flexibility and usually features several short rounds of development. It helps to ensure that plans can be evaluated and adjusted if needed. So, the Agile methodology allows some flexibility instead of one solid progression of steps in the Waterfall method. This is rather important and demanded nowadays.
Today Kanban is one of the most popular methods of Agile project management. Convenient online and offline Kanban boards can really improve workflows and increase team productivity.
A Kanban board typically includes two core components: workflow and Kanban cards. Workflow is the process steps a task has to go through in order for it to be completed. It is depicted in a Kanban board through columns and swimlanes. A card represents the task a team will work on. All cards should flow through the columns and swimlanes, allowing teams to know the status of their work.
You can integrate handy Kanban boards into more structured project management. They can be used for those projects that are more likely to get changes for an effective way to limit work in progress and avoid multitasking.
Kanban methodology with convenient boards are expected to be helpful and useful in 2021 because of:
- Advanced flow visualization that provides a clear and friendly view of current work in progress.
- Flexible release time – using Kanban, you can release user stories anytime when they are ready (unlike in Scrum).
- Changing priorities – if you have an urgent request to implement a new user story, you can put it on top of the queue.
- No need for iterations – Instead, you can conduct useful meetings before starting the development for each user story.
- No need for estimates – Kanban teams are more focused on backlog prioritization, they just take the most critical user story and implement it.
Integrating abilities of project management software
Project management software will become more integrated. It’s also a current tendency that will evolve in the future.
We see how project management tools continue to become simpler to use and more integrated with other services.
It will make PM software more used as it transitions from an enterprise application requiring specialized skills to a mobile app that interfaces with other mobile apps.
The power of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is about self-awareness, empathy, motivation, self-regulation, and various social skills. Nowadays many HR managers think that strong emotional intelligence is an important factor when considering hiring.
Project managers with strong emotional intelligence will increase team cohesion and the chances of successful project outcomes. We can predict that in 2021 recruiters will look for applicants with emotional intelligence in addition to project management skills.
Soft skills are also very important for modern project managers – they help them to move forward in their careers. Such soft skills like leadership, communication, and collaboration give an edge and determine whether a PM fit in the company culture.
Investing in employee skills
If a company wants to be successful, it should focus not only on the needs of customers. The need for employees in professional self-development should also be ensured.
For industry giants and small companies, it should be a priority to attract top-level trainers and experts, provide additional classes and professional conferences for employees. Long-term relationships with one team are more effective than accessing the services of outside specialists.
Companies should train their own employees a new knowledge, the implementation of which will be among their duties. This is much more profitable than paying for the additional services of competent specialists who do not work in the company.
Design thinking for project managers
Design thinking is already popular and it helps to develop solutions for which integrated approaches are used.
They can be borrowed from engineering practices in combination with the ideas from such spheres as business, art, social sciences. Design thinking is rather important for project managers and other involved who manage projects because it is a tool for several important tasks:
- to develop the essence of the project
- to define the requirements
- to search for solutions for atypical problems that may arise during work
More and more companies in the modern market help their project managers to master the approaches of design management or web design today. And we think this tendency will grow in the next year.
To sum up
The field of project management is constantly evolving. It actually can be a struggle for professionals and companies to keep up.
Keep the mentioned trends and predictions in mind – perhaps they will help you to stay on top of all the shifts and changes that are coming in the course of this next year.