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Future of Project Management: Future Trends and Skills

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23rd May, 2024
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    Future of Project Management: Future Trends and Skills

    Few would dispute that in the present complex world, businesses are facing increased competition and ongoing disruption from exponential technology boom, ever-demanding clients, market shifts and even social trends. Business success is no longer driven by any one single future of project management factor but requires multiple factors to be met. Smart organizations understand that proven project management practices, anticipating and following the trends lead to greater success of the business and less waste.

    This article will help you know the future of project management and understand the gaps. Alongside, you can go for the best Project Management training to further boost your knowledge of PMP.

    Future of Project Management: Based on Top 10 Industries

     A list of ten top industries with a towering need for project management and qualified project management professionals are:  

    1. Construction

    Increasing prices, regulations, risks, uncertainty and other concerns make it very tough for project management in the construction industry to profit even under excellent demands and look for qualified professionals to take care of construction projects.

    Companies also prefer a more collaborative project management approach and make the overall construction lifecycle much more transparent by using building information modeling (BIM) software and cloud-based management tools.

    Moreover, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and reality technologies like AR/VR, construction monitoring and inspection, digitalization are the elements construction companies are emphasizing on.

    2. Engineering

    Digitization, robotization, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Virtual Reality, 3D printing etc. are changing the way engineering industries work. These are also changing the attitudes of customers and other stakeholders that companies must interact with.

    Often engineers find themselves managing engineering projects as part of their duties and therefore project management skills are becoming a part of the core competencies that engineers need to have. Project management is now being considered a tool by matured organizations to implement the strategic changes that are required to adapt to the changing market environment.

    Here are the other trending elements that are observed in this sector:

    1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): automating routine tasks.
    2. Hybrid Project Management Methodologies are extensively preferred to any standalone methodology.
    3. Emphasis on Soft skills is now better than ever before.
    4. Nearly 50percent of the global project workforce is now working remotely, especially in developed countries.

    3. Information Technology (IT)

    With newer technologies and management paradigms, IT project management's future continues to evolve significantly, and enterprises need to keep up with these changes or risk closure. The PMI survey reports that 81 percent of professionals mention that AI and automation impact their firms. 

    As per the IT industry experts the things shaping and shaking the world of project management in 2023 and beyond are: 

    By automating low-value-add tasks, project managers now focus their efforts and energies on tasks that benefit their businesses, increasing the possibility of each project reaching its strategic goals.  

    Project Management Software combined with AI-based automation capabilities brings about positive changes in the way organizations manage their projects, even the large and complex ones. 

    • Increased emphasis on soft skills, hybrid project management and Cloud-first approach are becoming the new standards. 
    • Demand for emotionally intelligent leaders and other social skills have become relevant for project managers. Because their work involves a deep understanding of people. For a project’s success, they must manage their people resources more effectively by connecting and empathizing with others. It has become a lot more important due to yet another project management, the rise in remote working. 

    4. Finance, Insurance Services

    Project management plays a crucial role in the finance industry.  As per the information obtained from PWC, following are the trends: 

    • Financial management tools using data analytics to identify spending patterns to budget and save more effectively are gaining traction. 
    • Cloud-native systems will replace legacy alternatives. 
    • Cloud-based systems support increased agility, decrease IT costs and operational expenses, apart from playing a key role in ensuring that employees can be effective when working remotely.  
    • Hybrid working is the future—in fact, 90 percent of employees are happier with the increased freedom that working from home gives them. By leveraging cloud-native systems, employees can access crucial financial data from anywhere, financial institutions can maintain high performance at all times and finally, improve both customers’ and employees’ satisfaction dramatically.  
    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning will increase in importance. 
    • As per IDC prediction, by 2026, 85 percent of organizations will use AI and machine learning (ML) in some way or the other to enhance their foresight. This will result in a 25 percent increase in productivity. Low-code/no-code AI is a great advantage. It allows people without coding knowledge to build applications themselves. 
    • As per Gartner “low-code tools will make up 65 percent of all app development by 2024. 
    • Forrester predicted that low-code/no-code industry spending will increase to approximately $21 billion by 2023. 

    5. Healthcare, Hospital Management

    Artificial Intelligence and Automation- with global healthcare spending expected to rise at a CAGR of 5 percent between 2019 and 2023, there is strong evidence suggesting a forthcoming evolution in the future scope of hospital management project. The trends are: 

    • AI and automated technologies- these are now providing more precise, efficient, and impactful treatment, allowing professionals to gain unprecedented insights into diagnostics, patient care, treatment viability, as well as patient outcomes. It is also likely to present multiple opportunities for enhanced treatment techniques and technologies.
    • Agile and hybrid project management- while it helps to complete a healthcare project quickly to keep up with things, hybrid management brings just what the doctor ordered.
    • Cloud-based and AI-powered tools- the new-age real-time, project management tools help reduce delays in patient care by ensuring optimum coordination and well-established links between the different departments and even offices across multiple locations.

    6. Marketing

    • Increased Adoption of Agile Methodologies- to remain adaptable in the future changing market conditions and give the flexibility to meet the needs and expectations of the target audience continuously.
    • AI to continue to drive efficiency- increased dependency on AI to replace manual tasks, become more efficient and have access to more data and insights to make better decisions and deliver higher-quality campaigns.
    • Increased dependency on marketing project management software – to make better decisions when planning their projects and do more in less time.
    • There will be an ever-increasing demand for project management software tools that are cloud-based offering advanced features including:
      • AI and Machine Learning
      • Project Online Briefing and Templates
      • Project Planning and Scheduling
      • Time and Progress Tracking
      • Marketing Resource Management
      • Collaboration Tools

    7. Manufacturing

    • Increasing operational efficiency - according to a recent PwC survey, 81 percent of CEOs in industrial manufacturing plan to improve efficiency and competitiveness to outgrow the competition. This will be achieved by using resource planning software. 
    • Agility and hybrid project management methods- organizations are looking for methodological flexibility to respond quickly to the changing project environments.
    • Industrial IoT devices- companies look for devices that provide real-time updates on project progress. Considering huge money losses because of unplanned downtime, business leaders have started adopting such devices to gain insights into unplanned downtime, get warnings, and save money.

    8. Law 

    • Legal project management (LPM) is here to stay and so will the legal project managers. The largest law firms might have been early adopters but LPM is now gaining relevance to firms of all sizes. 
    • Hybrid project management is gaining ground; where the more traditional ‘predictive’ approaches are mixed and matched with techniques with ‘adaptive’ approaches’ like Agile project management. Because a hybrid approach encourages legal project managers to a) define the scopes and sequence the project activities and b) provide tools to hasten the delivery efforts as the legal matter progresses.

    9. Consulting

     The management consulting industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. The increase of consulting market size brings new challenges and trends. A few top trends that will shape the future of management consulting firms are: 

    • Hybrid working models- the shift to remote and hybrid working have been successful, which is why this trend will continue to grow in future.
    • Increased use of Professional services automation or PSA software- to track project and labor costs effectively, making better informed decisions for project teams and in other areas.
    • Wider use of AI and machine learning- to free up employees from manual work, boost efficiency and make informed decisions.

    10. Energy and Utility Services Industry

    • Oil and gas, water, and electric companies (or the energy and utility industry) is currently undergoing a major transformation in the way it operates, manage their assets, and is regulated.  
    • Earlier, utilities were treated as a steady sector, expected just to produce and deliver service to customers. 
    • Now, the expectations are changing as utilities are being pushed to bring sustainability due to growing environmental concerns, rising power demands, and increasing regulatory as well as political pressure to bring innovation into the industry.  
    • The infrastructure grid that connects utilities to these customers is colossal and this massive infrastructure is a big project in itself, and most utilities place a high priority on effective asset management. 
    • Oil & gas companies are striving hard to transform their energy portfolios to decarbonize, increase value and prepare for increasingly hard regulations. 

    The transformational trends to continue will be: 

    • The energy companies of the future will be embracing more engineering and IT technologies to solve business problems requiring the convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT).   
    • Digital transformation and strategic digital journey will continue to be a top priority for Oil & Gas companies. 
    • Digital transformation will include thoughtful implementation of digital technologies – including analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data sets. 
    • Additionally, companies will also prioritize cybersecurity and cloud adoption in 2023 and onwards. 

    Future of Project Management: Based on Location

    We have already discussed what is the future of project management and also the current and future trends in project management earlier in this article. Here we will highlight the project management scope in the future with respect to various countries.

    As per the PMI survey, in the 11 countries analyzed, newly created positions are expected to occur each year in project management-oriented industries making the future of project management in 2022 and onwards encouraging.

    • India : India with its massive infrastructure development sprees to achieve its growth targets is a hotspot of project management. By 2030 it is estimated that the country will have more than 1.5 billion people; providing the necessary infrastructure for all of them is a top challenge, making the future of project management in India quite lucrative.
    • US: PMI reports by 2027 the USA is going to have 22 million new project management job vacancies. 
    • UK: UK has a rapidly growing demand so far as the project profession is concerned. Over 2 million people are employed in full-time project-based roles contributing £156.5bn to the UK economy.
    • Australia: As per the interim chief executive at the Australian Institute of Project Management, Andrew Hendry, project management is “one of the most sought-after professions at the moment”.
    • Singapore: Though the construction industry is yet to bounce back after the pandemic, several major public sector projects are expected to stimulate growth and the projected demand from 2023 to 2026 will be between $25 billion to $32 billion annually. It will include trends like harnessing technological opportunities and digitization sprees to achieve more efficient and sustainable development.

    Future of Project Management Jobs 

    When considering a career the two most crucial factors are a) Earning Potential and b) Career Growth. Project management fulfills both. We have already dealt in-depth with the project management demand. Here we will cover a few additional and interesting survey findings.

    1. A PMI report mentions that 25 percent of organizations have decreased their headcounts in various departments but are willing to hire project managers, clearly hinting at the future scope of project management and the future of project management jobs. 
    2. As per the PMI findings, the normal annual compensation for PMP certified Project Managers in the U.S. is $111,824, practically $14,000 more than those without PMP certification. 
    3. Choosing project management as a career path provides lots of flexibility. Because the variety of skills required for project management is required in almost every industry sector. Project management as a profession is less likely to be affected by economic slow-down or business cycle, shielding the future of project management professionals. 

    PMI and Anderson Economic Group (AEG) jointly made a survey on project-oriented employment opportunities in 11 countries in five continents including developed and/or growing economic powers and predicted that project management related job growth is expected to be 33 percent collectively.

    Stages of Project Management

    • Initiation – Working with the project sponsor and stakeholders, a project manager defines the outcome of a project.
    • Planning – All the tasks and assigns deadlines for each, the relationships and dependencies between each activity are defined.
    • Execution – Creation of a project team, collecting and allocating the resources and budget available to specific tasks.
    • Monitoring –overseeing the progress of project work and updating the project plans to reflect actual performance.
    • Closing – Deliverance of the outputs and ensuring that they are accepted by the business and closing down the project team.

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    Is Project Management in Demand?

    With the global economy becoming more project-oriented, the practice of project management expands within industries that were traditionally less project-oriented, brightening up the future of project management. For example, legal, publishing and professional services are now contributing to future trends in project management.

    As per Project Management Institute (PMI), across the globe, a widening gap exists between the need for skilled project management workers by businesses versus the availability of professionals to fill those roles.

    Stimulants of project management future scope are:

    • A dramatic increase in the number of vacancies requiring project-oriented skills.
    • High attrition rates (including professionals retiring from jobs).
    • High demand for project talents, especially in rapidly developing economies such as China and India.
    • By 2027, businesses will need 87.7 million professionals in project management roles.
    • Shortage of qualified professionals is a huge risk for organizations requiring to depend on them to implement strategic initiatives, drive change and deliver innovation.
    • For the 11 countries analyzed by PMI, this gap could result in a potential loss of some US$207.9 billion in GDP through 2027.

    Job openings due to the expansion of project management with newer sector’s requirements for project management increasing, coupled with attrition in project-oriented sectors from 2017–2027 in the 11 countries analyzed are shown here:

    • PMI survey shows that the demand is high for practitioners with the necessary mix of competencies— i) a combination of technical ii) leadership skills plus strategic and iii) business management.

    • Project management activities contribute to a nation’s productivity by supporting GDP that in turn contributes to the standard of living. Here is the GDP loss projection by PMI.

    • Annually, businesses will require to fill nearly 2.2 million new project related roles each year through 2027. The Project Management Professional PMP® Certification is the number one certification in project management recognized by employers. The course prepares an attendee with the skills to design, organize, execute, and drive project success in any industry, regardless of project size or complexity. Interested aspirants could attend the online PMP course to prepare themselves better.

    Trends That Will Impact the Future of Project Management

    Project management in the last sixty-four years has made a paradigm shift. Successful project management now is not just about organizing tasks and resources and delivering a project on time but has made a long journey ahead.

    Project Management Institute (PMI) enlists some significant trends that have shaped the project management profession over the last five decades, namely the globalization of the discipline, the explosion of methods, techniques and practices applied to projects and many others. As new trends continue to emerge, many have already made a dramatic impact on how project managers go about their work. Some such trends are discussed below:

    1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Artificial intelligence and automation considerably impacted project management processes. Modern businesses cannot but use Artificial intelligence to automate manual project tasks and to receive project performance insights.

    As per PMI’s exploration and findings, the digital transformation adopted by organizations and institutions during the onset of the Covid pandemic is now a norm. Most new-age businesses and even the existing ones now redefine core business models to gain a competitive advantage in the fast-changing marketplace.

    Now, technologies like cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI are used regularly by businesses to enhance the customer experience, boost employee efficiency and improve project outcomes.

    Project management software that is used for managing projects uses AI for complex scheduling, data visualization, and interactive dashboards to provide information and insights that help decision makers to take fast, better and accurate decisions.

    PMI predicts that future project management will keep seeing companies continuing to invest in AI for risk management, decision-making, knowledge management and data analytical skills and many other tasks.

    Global brands have already started using matured digital transformation strategies and will continuously keep reskilling and upskilling the workforce, training IT and data specialists to support the proper and meaningful application of AI.

    AI is used by businesses to ensure successful project completion in the following ways:

    • Getting performance insights.
    • Estimation and prediction analysis and improvement.
    • Improve and support decision management.
    • Data visualization.
    • Doing risk analysis.
    • Optimized resource scheduling.

    Another emerging area that is gaining traction is the field of emotion AI, which enables machines to read and respond to human emotions.

    2. Data and Analytics

    Data and its management and analytics are the lifeblood of modern project management. Managers must leverage data insights to make fast and informed decisions that contribute to business growth.

    Big Data analytics is a fast-impacting trend in the landscape of project management. It is used in project scheduling, risk estimation, quality management, client and many other areas. Inside the project team, it plays a major role in giving insights into team sizes, team formation, members to include and skill sets required to manage projects efficiently.

    The demand for improved project outcomes would force business and project managers to predict project success and better guide project managers in the project life cycle.

    3. More Collaborative Workspaces

    Technology has made global project management possible. With increased participation and collaboration of talents beyond the boundaries of a nation’s border has improved project management with faster and better project outcomes with desired quality. More than it was possible before. As per the survey by Financeonline;

    • Remote work arrangements have increased by 140 percent in five years.
    • 2 of 3 people believe that 8-hour workdays will soon disappear.

    Understanding the impact of remote work and distributed workforce has now become imperative for project managers to better design, execute, measure and control project outcomes and goals; how a project manager should plan projects and communicate with diverse and remote team members.

    The latest project management tools like Slack and other advanced features are proving a blessing for project managers by making effective collaboration possible and more affordable than ever.

    The latest internet 5G technology making video streaming possible without consuming much bandwidth or slowing the network has started making project management and team collaboration faster, easier and cheaper.

    4. Widespread Agile

    Project managers now are focusing more on agile principles which are to be flexible and adaptable enough to respond fast to changes in the market and shifting customer needs.

    A major shift is going to happen towards scaling agile development since businesses are increasingly adopting DevOps practices, and SAFe Agile is key to success in 2023 and beyond.

    Lean business practices like building cross-functional teams, developing minimal viable products, focusing on rapid prototyping, continuous innovation and more are increasingly preferred by organizations, especially major retailers.

    5. Blended Approach to Project Management

    Blended project management or hybrid project management as it is differently called infuses various aspects of two (or more) different project management methodologies. It combines them to create an entirely new method that would meet all project requirements. It is often preferred by project managers who feel limited by a single methodology.

    One of the recent project management trends is this shift from exclusively one project management alone to a hybrid model. According to a survey, 60 percent of respondents mentioned using either a hybrid of waterfall and agile or other project methodologies (Project Manager, 2021).

    Such a hybrid model provides the flexibility to create one’s own recipe for a project’s success.  A project manager mix-matches and blends things to suit the project and no fixed rule applies here. It is completely left to the choice of a project manager with the mixing process.

    There is no fixed rule of what project methods can be combined; however, some popular ones include:

    1. Waterfall Project Management
    2. Critical Path Method (CPM)
    3. Agile Project Management
    4. Six Sigma
    5. PRINCE2
    6. Outcome Mapping

    A point to note here is, in general, when people talk about hybrid concepts, they usually refer to hybrid Agile project management or a hybrid Agile methodology that takes the flexibility and adaptability of Agile and combines it with the more traditional and rigid approach of Waterfall project management.

    6. Demand for Soft Skills

    Financesonline.com mentions it as one of the soft trends of this year as the hard skills gained from education and experience alone are not enough to gain an edge on the job market. With AI tools taking over the rote aspects of the job, businesses are emphasizing soft skills, demanding that Project Managers cultivate soft skills to make themselves valuable to organizations. Businesses are prioritizing the following skills within their talent pool in supporting successful projects:

    • Technical Skills (68percent)
    • Leadership Skills (65percent)
    • Business Skills (58percent)

    7. Digital Skills (50 percent) (PMI, 2020).

    Modern project management surpasses merely fulfilling the project scope and the required documentation. To excel in the role of project manager requires managing stakeholders and building relationships with team members. All these are but the by-products of leadership skills.

    Excellent leaders manage to communicate their vision, have great problem-solving skills to mitigate project roadblocks, and can unite team members for a common goal. You can go for PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner training course to know and understand the course better.

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    Hybrid Project Management: The Next Step for Agile

    We already mentioned the concept of hybrid project management. Here we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid project management and also the challenges of hybrid project management. We will consider here the Agile and Waterfall features to keep things simple.

    Agile Solutions bring flexibility by including features that clients ask for throughout the production and development process and are ideal for highly personalized projects or where continuous feedback is required. Furthermore, it enhances efficiency by finishing multiple tasks simultaneously, sharing responsibilities within the team and offering simple solutions.

    Waterfall offers a more traditional project management route with more focus on planning and strategizing to ensure the perfect completion of a process. It means (as the waterfall follows a fixed course) once production and development start, they move forward efficiently knowing the next steps and tasks happen in sequence to avoid mistakes and miscommunication and reduce risks.

    Pros and Cons of Hybrid Project Management

    ProsCons
    Holistic ApproachNeeds Enough Exposure to Both
    Focus on ImprovementStakeholder Understanding
    Adaptation
    Best of Both (or all)
    Chances of understanding new approaches

    Pros

    1. Holistic Approach: Possible to tailor a project’s processes to match all of the project details, not just the scope enabling true command of the entire project details.
    2. Focus on Improvement: The hybrid approach gives the flexibility to improve the processes.
    3. Adaptation: Though it might take a while to adjust to new things about both the elements in hybrid mode, but once committed, things get easy with a positive impact on teams and individual players.
    4. Best of Both (or all): All the models are good and can complement each other with the best of all to leverage a project’s success.
    5. Chances of understanding new approaches: hybrid project management is a great way to experience new approaches and varieties. In the context of traditional project management (combining Agile with Waterfall), 71 percent of organizations have adopted Agile methodologies, but it is not always intuitive. A hybrid approach helps boost the comfort level of the team and gives a better understanding of the tasks involved and the project's overall scope.

    Cons

    1. Needs Enough Exposure to Both: without hands-on experience with both models, implementing a hybrid model is not possible, rather, it could affect the outcomes.
    2. Stakeholder Understanding: Stakeholders’ understanding would be required. A project manager must ensure to provide the proper level of knowledge sharing and discussion about the processes, their involvement, and any other relevant expectations that need to be put in place.

    Challenges of Hybrid Project Management

    Though hybrid project management allows the best parts of the chosen methodologies, say Agile and Waterfall, it is not without its challenges.

    1. Handling a project under two separate methodologies could be tough as both might have different timelines that demand in-depth planning to ensure everything gets covered.
    2. Getting approval from stakeholders could be difficult. The sponsor might be unfamiliar with the hybrid methodology the project manager intends to use.
    3. Communication could get complicated (due to the increased variety and frequency of communications) with the use of different methodologies not only that the project manager needs a thorough knowledge of both approaches but also needs to be properly communicative.

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    Conclusion

    Having dealt with all the nuts and bolts of the future of project management, we will end with yet another bonus trend of the GIG economy which is one of the most transformative global economic trends influencing project management. The term refers to the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. It reflects in many ways the growing dominance of projects and their management.

    Around 68 percent of organizations now use outsourced or contract project managers. Instead of considering employment as a life-long or even multi-year commitment, many now move smoothly from project to project and from company to company.

    KnowledgeHut Project Management training brings a comprehensive, hands-on approach to you becoming a leading project manager and keeping pace with emerging shifts.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1How to start a career in project management?
    1. Earn a bachelor's degree in management or business.
    2. Find an entry level job in project management to gain experience (mandatory for a PMP certification).
    3. Earn a certification in project management, preferably PMP.

    2What is the next generation of project management?

    Project management of the future will:

    • Transform project managers into effective leaders capable of dealing with the strategic and business aspects of the projects.
    • Delegate the project managers to motivate and inspire teams with a vision.
    • Empower to adapt their management style to the right project and environmental context.

    3Is Project Management easy to learn?

    Project management is not necessarily hard to learn. However, some may find some necessary soft skills difficult to learn. For example, leadership and people management could be quite difficult for some. Whereas effective communication could be a challenge for others.

    Profile

    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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