What does the future of project management look like? The landscape is changing rapidly, with evolving technologies, an increase in remote work, digital transformation, and more emerging trends.
Will 2027 look the same as 2022? Only time will tell. For now, let’s take a look at some of the trends that we’re likely to see in the industry over the next five years.
1. Increased demand for project managers
The global demand for project managers is only increasing. According to PMI, employers will need nearly 88 million people in project-related roles in the next five years.
However, as the demand increases, the role will shift from just ticking off tasks from a list to a strategic leadership position that can bring change in an organization. With this shift, adequate project management certification and qualification will be necessary.
2. Hybrid project management approaches will be the way forward
With projects becoming more complex than ever and involving bigger teams, relying on a single project management framework may not be effective. Project managers will be forced to incorporate a mix of project management methodologies to make the management process easier and more effective.
Consequently, combining two approaches, such as Six Sigma methodology with either an Agile framework, will be the norm to bring consistent success to these complex projects.
3. Resource planning will become essential
Resource management continues to be a challenge in most industries and companies. Some still have very few resources, and others at times have too many. Thus, the trend towards maximizing resource utilization continues unabated.
Additionally, the constantly growing number of projects means that managers supporting multiple projects with shared and limited resources will need to know the demands on their resources and plan effectively.
4. Teams will be hybrid and remote
As the world snakes its way back to normalcy, 91% of US workers want to continue working remotely. Others, however, miss the watercooler banter with colleagues. Businesses, therefore, must find the right mix of remote and onsite working to meet the employees’ wishes and retain them.
As a result, project managers will now find themselves managing remote and hybrid teams. It will be of utmost importance for the modern project manager to understand the nature of remote and hybrid teams to lead better.
For starters, constant and continuous communication is more critical than ever. But remember, this isn’t a call to micromanage. Fortunately, the PMs can use various project management tools to help remote teams collaborate and work together across greater distances.
5. Digital transformation will be part of project management
30% of companies embracing and implementing digital transformation report experiencing increased customer revenue. 41% increase their market share while 37% see increased customer engagement in digital channels. The more businesses integrate digital technology into their business processes, the more they can deliver value to customers.
If you’re yet to leverage digital transformation, you will likely lose money on failed projects and experience scope creep.
To implement digital transformation, project managers will require digital skills including:
- Data analysis, analytics, and management
- Security and data protection
- Legal and regulatory compliance
- Online collaboration and leadership
- Knowledge management
- Data-driven decision making
6. Social and soft skills high in demand
Speaking of skills, social and soft skills—along with other skills—will help project managers stand out in today’s increasingly competitive job market. Additionally, these skills will go a long way in managing resources.
Soft skills such as leadership and emotional intelligence will equip project managers to see the people—not things—behind the term ‘resources’. Empathy, decision-making, and communication are other skills that will enable project managers to identify and address the needs of their team and ensure they are supplying the resources their team needs to succeed.
7. Using PM tools is becoming easier and more necessary
77% of successful projects were managed using project management software. As the project management environment gets complex, project managers will need more and more tools to help deliver projects in that environment. Project management tools make planning, executing, and managing projects more efficient, thus increasing the project’s success rate.
These tools help collect and analyze data that project managers can then use to forecast and plan better.
Over 40% of organizations now rely on SaaS solutions, accounting software, and similar offerings. These easy-to-use solutions help project managers to deliver projects on time.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & automation will blow up
The impact of artificial intelligence and automation can also be seen and felt in the project management sector. Many companies are already using AI in project management to automate complex daily tasks such as scheduling and time tracking.
AI will also go beyond automating tasks and help obtain performance insights and visualize data. Better data visualization will help managers make informed decisions based on the captured insights.
9. Mental health will be a priority
The last three years did a number on our mental health. Throw in the project management challenges, and you might just lose it (but this trend won’t let you!) Prioritizing your mental health and that of your teams will no longer be a buzz phrase but a necessity.
In the next five years, it will be essential for project managers to incorporate measures that help to avoid physical and psychological stress. Otherwise, employees who feel unsupported will not hesitate to quit. To keep your team members happy, healthy, and on your team, you’ll have to safeguard their emotional and mental health.
Proper mental health care for your team increases productivity and decreases absenteeism. Having a healthy workforce that shows up to work as their best selves, ready to work benefits everyone.
Putting it all together
The future of project management is indeed bright for the manager that can adapt to emerging trends and make the most out of them. Paying attention to these trends will guide you on where the industry is headed and ensure that you’re well prepared to handle whatever comes your way between now and 2027.
Mission Control are a leading project management software, native to Salesforce. Head to our website to find more great content and project management thought leadership.