Software development has been advancing at a fast pace, and has found its way into every facet of our lives, our businesses and the whole world in general. Likewise, project management is no exception to this rule, and the manner in which project managers conduct their daily duties has been influenced by the same too.
The conventional approach towards project management (devising timelines, allocating budgets and guiding team members to hit periodic goals etc.) is bound to experience quite the disruption – and very soon, at that. With the likes of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, project management methodologies are being developed to be more data-driven, which means that deliverables are guaranteed to be timely and within budget.
Here are five trends that are shaping the future of project management, and how each one is doing so.
While dynamic in nature, an Agile project management methodology may seem like the classic, considering the other new-age trends listed here. Being one of the most preferred styles of managing projects today, Agile principles that place emphasis on understanding people, communicating transparently and embracing change is what leads to above-average outcomes once a project is complete.
Striking the right balance between superior quality (in terms of results), and smooth flow (in terms of process), Agile is a tried-and-tested method for unveiling outstanding products to this day. Therefore, this classic method of facilitating deliverables is here to stay.
What’s more, considering its quotient of successful turnarounds, Agile is assured to be the foundation for other technologies that are making its way into project management, by further enhancing what it already offers.
As a project manager, wouldn’t it be nice if you could save those 2 hours every week that are otherwise used to calculate whether you are within budget? With AI, expect this and several other operational tasks get sorted through advanced algorithms, so that you can contribute your focus towards more strategic aspects of your project management duties – such as creative product development.
While the concept of AI has revolved around emulating the human way of thinking, it is tough to replace an actual human being when it comes to instinct, innovation and emotional intelligence. Although still in its infancy, AI is under speculation of being developed to reduce Level of Effort (project tasks that are administrative in nature and don’t produce a quantifiable outcome), automate the designation of tasks (who does what, for example) and provide data-driven predictions for the future through analytics.
Internet of Things
While IoT has largely attained publicity through its use in appliances and consumer products, it has also made its way into the business landscape. Working in conjunction with AI and machine learning, IoT further proliferates the acquisition of valuable data, to facilitate strategic decision making and reporting in the project management environment.
For example, project managers in the construction industry can benefit by having sensors gather data and suggest what activities need to be carried out so that deadlines can be met – and who is best capable of attending to it. This way, downtimes can be reduced, and so can errors – while increasing quality outputs at the same time.
A system that originated during the 1940s at the production line of Japan’s Toyota Corporation, Kanban has since made its way into business environments across industries all over the world. Needless to say, it has also established a presence in project management, creating smoother workflows and eliminating bottlenecks all thanks to its needs-based approach.
Using cards for communicating to other team or department members, these serve as visual cues to supply tasks for execution as required. Therefore, employees are never burdened with too much work to do, and are only given tasks based on how much they can accomplish, or whether they are available to do so.
While Kanban alone may not serve the needs of project managers, a hybrid methodology of conducting work can be used – one which partially consists of Kanban, of course. Owing to its innate ability to demand and supply activities based on resources available, Kanban is of great benefit to all team members as nobody is bound to be inundated with work, and every asset (be it human or fixed) will be made most productive use of. As a result, it’s not surprising to see Kanban get popular in the near future, namely in 2019.
Project Management Office
The first accounts of enterprise-level project management date all the way back to the 19th century. Ever since then, project management has traditionally been carried out under the supervision of one skilled individual, who outlines what needs to be done, decides who should do it and how long it should take.
Although the go-to way of getting things done, this system is highly prone to failures. Projects are susceptible to incorrect estimations of budget and time, especially if only one entity is undertaking responsibility for a highly intricate collection of tasks.
Project Management Office (PMO) is therefore a regulatory means to execute projects under stringent guidelines and standards. As its name suggests, PMO is a dedicated agency or department within a company that oversees all projects and provides them with the standards they need to adhere to, for meeting timelines and budgets.
The year 2016 saw the most utilization of PMOs, and considering their success rates, this is one trend that has the potential to become the norm when it comes to successfully managing any project.
Summing it all up…
In the field of project management, we can expect a number of exciting developments to occur this 2019. Owing to technologies which were once reserved only for a narrow range of applications and are now finding their way into the business space, the art of executing a project successfully is bound to experience state-of-the-art changes.
While established forms of practicing project management such as AI and Kanban are here to stay, they present the potential to be enhanced through AI, machine learning and IoT. This means that the brunt of assigning tasks and performing complex calculations will be eliminated from project managers, thus empowering them to tackle duties of a more creative or intuitive nature.
What’s more, as all of this is regulated by the PMO, the vast majority of problems associated with project management shall also be eliminated, while heightening the level of punctuality and quality at the same time.