Top Project Management Trends In 2021: The Future Ahead

Project Management

By Ram Tavva

The world is changing rapidly, with unimaginable changes in technology that have changed the way we used to work. Well, there is a similar trend with project management too! If you look back a few years back, there weren’t so many tools for project management, teams were smaller, and projects were simple with simple deliverables. Everything was nice and easy. 

Cut to 2021; teams are no longer smaller, and projects are too complicated. 

There have been considerable changes in the project management landscape, such as evolving technologies, tools, and latest methodologies. And, the change doesn’t seem to slow down.

This blog will be about all the potential changes and trends that are taking the project management landscape by storm. 

Project Management Trends in 2021

1. The Arrival Of Artificial Intelligence & Automation

There is no doubt that Ai has taken the world by storm. Just like manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and other industries, artificial intelligence has also penetrated the project management sector. Project management firms and organizations have already started taking the help of AI to manage their projects and perform day-to-day tasks. 

This has reduced human effort through automation and has proved helpful in obtaining performance insights and making sound decisions based on the data.

On top of it, project managers also use AI and automation to complete complex tasks like scheduling and data visualization. 

Organizations and project managers who still haven’t embraced AI in project management will undoubtedly suffer. If you want to win in the race of project management and then learn how to leverage AI. 

Using AI in project management provides a lot of benefits like task automation, easier project execution, and the right estimation of a project’s duration, costs, and progress. 

2. Use of hybrid project management approaches

Every project has different deliverables which require different methodologies. But the biggest problem is that not all teams in a project stick to one specific methodology. And this has given rise to the concept of hybrid project management. The number of project managers and Scrum masters combining two or more two methodologies is increasing day by day.

Implementing this hybrid model brings all your projects, people, tasks, and communications to one place and helps you make the right business choices.

For example, let’s say you mix a traditional approach with the Agile methodology. In this case, team members with different views and working styles would work together in their own way, hence increasing stability, engagement, and efficiency. Also, here are some handy tips on how to crack PMP certification if you still haven’t got your PMP certification. 

3. Increasing use of Project management tools and software

Everything has been digitized. Even in project management, tools and software have become an inseparable part of project management. According to a study, 77% of highly successful projects use different tools and software to plan, execute, and control the project process. Well, Project management tools and solutions have proved to be the game-changer. 

These are some of the ways how the use of tools is changing the project management landscape. 

Project planning: Using data from previous (both successful and unsuccessful) projects to plan better

scheduling and time tracking: Keeping track of time spent on tasks, managing events, and meetings.

Communication and collaboration: Allows you to share critical information with stakeholders, teams, and clients with just a click.

Budgets and deadlines: Helps you to track your budget and deliver projects on time within the allocated budget.

Project management tools really help to plan, execute and deliver projects on time and give everybody a platform to communicate and collaborate right from one dashboard.

4. Dependency on data analytics and numbers

As I said earlier, the world is changing at a rapid pace, and as a project manager, you cannot afford to fail. A failed project can have tonnes of negative impacts on the company (keeping aside the financials). To increase the probability of success of a project, project managers are now focusing fiercely on data analytics and numbers. They are leveraging data insights to make informed and data-backed decisions. 

There is a famous saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Be it project planning, risk estimation, or quality management, the use of big data analysis gives a solid base. The data also helps to learn how to form and position teams based on team members’ capabilities and strengths.

If used the right way, data analytics has the power to produce a lot of business value. There are project management dedicated analytics tools in the market that offer strategic parameters to help you get the complete picture of all the project-related activities.

5. Demand for Soft Skills

Soft skills have always been necessary for the project management domain, but in 2021 the demand for these is increasing like never before. 

According to PMI, these are the seven most critical soft skills for project managers:

  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Organization
  • Trust-building

Understanding tools and processes is important, but understanding your team and having good relations with them is even more important for your project’s success. After all, it’s the people who get the work done. And if you have the skills that we’ve mentioned above, then it will be easy for you to manage your people. 

Also, in today’s business environment, project managers may require to deal with managers of different organization functions, each with their own opinions, expectations, and communication styles.

The future ahead

Although we have seen many changes in the project management landscape, the actual changes are yet to come. The future belongs to millennials who are creative and rely on technology to get things done. 

There would be more focus on cybersecurity measures, increased emphasis on remote work, and much more. 

Professionals who are already working in project management, or even the individuals who are planning to hop on this journey in the future, should be able to identify, anticipate, and adapt to the changing needs of the industry. And as a rule, don’t try to fight change, instead adapt to it. Build, redesign, update, and restructure your project management systems and processes, so you not only survive the change but also thrive when these changes thoroughly shake up the domain.

About the Author

Ram Ram Tavva is a Senior Data Scientist and Alumnus of IIM- C (Indian Institute of Management – Kolkata) with over 25 years of professional experience Specialized in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. PMP Certified ITIL Expert certified APMG, PEOPLECERT and EXIN Accredited Trainer for all modules of ITIL till Expert Trained over 3000+ professionals across the globe Currently authoring a book on ITIL “ITIL MADE EASY”.

He has conducted myriad Project management and ITIL Process consulting engagements in various organizations. Performed maturity assessment, gap analysis and Project management process definition and end to end implementation of Project management best practices


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