The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it, forcing millions of businesses across the globe to rethink their approach towards work.
In the world of project management specifically, there has been a huge dynamic shift as the months of lockdown have drifted on by, creating new and unique opportunities for managers and business leaders to ponder.
Whether it be implementing technological advances, upgrading systems, or refocusing their business’s infrastructure, the future of project management – albeit bleak and uncertain at times – looks full of promise; a new age likely to redefine the industry as we know it.
So, what sort of changes can you expect to see over the coming years? And how are project managers likely to fare as a result of the pandemic?
Well, that’s what we’re here to discuss. This article will look to answer both questions and more, ascertaining not only what’s likely to happen in the future of project management, but why you should be excited by it as well.
Project Managers Will Need to Upskill
Put simply, if you want to survive in business, you have to keep up. And, to do this effectively, you have to remain motivated to learn – keen to improve your skillset for both the good of the business and for yourself as well.
In light of COVID-19, learning new skills will become more important than ever, and especially now that we find ourselves moving into the post-pandemic landscape.
Whether it be honing soft skills like communication, enhancing management skills like learning how to develop an emergency plan, or improving hard skills, such as getting to grips with data-driven systems, project managers will need to identify and embrace different skill-based opportunities.
Flexible Working Will Reign Supreme
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught project management businesses anything, it’s that they can cope perfectly fine using an at-home-based setup. This is unlikely to change moving forward either, largely due to the number of research-proven benefits that working from home is said to provide both employers and employees.
From increased productivity levels to improved flexibility, the COVID-19 pandemic has only sped up the implementation of flexible working arrangements, forcing the industry into an unprecedented shift towards remote work.
However, it also came with its challenges. Remote working, after all, completely changes the dynamic of the workplace, making certain work-based processes more difficult to handle.
Spontaneous collaboration, team-building, and other project management tasks, for example, typically work much better when all the team members are present and can bounce their ideas off each other.
Therefore, moving forward, project managers will need to think of new and improved ways to encourage this same level of collaboration when their employees aren’t in the same room. This will largely rely on being able to communicate effectively with one another which – while on the subject – brings me nicely onto my next point…
Communication Will Be Key
Remote work comes with its various advantages but one of the key disadvantages to consider moving forward relates to employee engagement, i.e. the level of attachment a remote employee has with their work.
In order to ensure your employees stay well motivated during the pandemic and beyond, having effective communication channels in place will be imperative both now and in the future.
As such, online communication tools like Slack and video conferencing platforms like Zoom will become more and more embedded within the workplace, while managers will also need to make a more active effort to keep on top of their employee’s productivity, mental health, and wellbeing.
Technology Will Play a Pivotal Role
Over the years, technology has truly revolutionised the workplace and the way projects are managed in particular. Going back just ten years, the idea of working from home effectively would have been laughed at, yet here we are.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one such area likely to have a huge impact on how admin-based processes are run, saving a huge amount of time when it comes to data management, scheduling, or tactical planning-focused tasks.
And, following the rise of the internet, cloud-based systems are likely to become more and more used in project management. As such, data storage, server access, management systems, and a whole host of HR tasks will become much more streamlined, changing the internal working setup of many companies.
However, this transition will also raise questions over data security, effectively forcing project managers to hire employees equipped with the skills to protect their company’s online presence.
Hybrid Project Management Approaches Will Be the Norm
Going back only a couple of years, project managers would normally pursue all their projects using a single project management-based methodology.
In recent years, however, that has all changed. Project managers are now a lot more adaptable in their work, often creating ‘hybrid approaches’ unique to the needs of their specific project that adopt various alternative project management methodologies.
This trend looks set to only continue going forward as well, with recent surveys finding that hybrid project management approaches tend to be more successful than the traditional single framework process.
Therefore, if you are hoping to evolve your business within the project management industry, then you should make an active effort to familiarize yourself with a range of other potentially useful methodologies. After all, you never know when a collaborative-based approach might come in useful.
The coronavirus pandemic may have had a catastrophic effect on the project management industry, but it has also provided companies with the opportunity to pause, reflect, and rethink their strategies going forward.
Rather than staying stuck in the past and utilizing an outdated working model, therefore, now is the ideal time to start looking to the future, embracing the trends likely to shape the industry over the coming months.
By implementing technological-based systems, refining your work from home approach, and assessing any new skills you need to learn, you can ensure your company not only survives the pandemic, but thrives from it too.