Guest post by Rebecca DiCioccio from Paperform.
Project management is, by its very definition, the application of methods, processes, skills combined with knowledge and experience to achieve specific objectives relating to the project criteria. Project management is a tool that evolves constantly. Unlike the role of the manager, project management demands the individual in charge of a project to adapt and expand, almost constantly.
The importance of keeping up with the latest project management trends is crucial. It helps project managers to keep abreast of the latest and greatest tools in industries while also diversifying their skillset. What are some of the key trends to look out for in the near future? Here, we will define future trends in project management to look out for and how they may benefit your abilities to lead.
Hybrid Project Management
Hybrid project management defines itself as methods that combine different planning strategies from the traditional project management environment. However, the defining factor of hybrid project management incorporates a flexible approach to the agile methodology. For example, it integrates various methods such as Scrum and PMI while also incorporating diverse elements from methods in other areas.
The very nature of project management is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Combining methods is a reactive and preventative method. One method for one project could have negative impacts on another project. Therefore, organizations are keener on exploring hybrid project methodologies, as this will incorporate a number of elements. Typically, elements may come from at least two approaches, but could come from more. Different techniques in project management are crucial, including the “waterfall” and “agile” methods. When you choose one type of method, you must consider a variety of variables.
The Waterfall Method
This method is a linear project management approach. The waterfall approach consists of your team working on one section at a time. Upon completion of one section, they move on to the next one until the project is finished. While this helps provide focus and a clear definition of the timeline, it can be a less flexible approach.
The Agile Method
Developed out of the negative components of waterfall, the agile approach consists of a project divided into smaller pieces. Teams are divided to work on each particular aspect, known as sprints. Upon completion of a sprint, the teams come together to discuss the progress and iron out any issues. The benefits of this approach include a malleable and preventative approach, but the success of this method demands a skilled project manager.
The hybrid method combines agile and/or waterfall to make them work together. The approach aims to define the requirements upfront as it would with a waterfall approach. However, it moves to an agile approach during the design development and testing stage.
The hybrid approach provides advantages in numerous ways. Companies are beginning to incorporate this trend for a number of reasons. It offers a combination of positives. The project planning stage is done through the waterfall approach, which helps businesses create solid plans with accurate costs. As the project moves to the agile method for the project execution stage, teams can react quickly to changing demands throughout the stage. This provides a more reactive approach. It also allows managers and resources to respond to changes in the requirements.
Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
While technical skills work at securing deadlines and forward momentum; emotional intelligence, or EQ, is arguably the missing link. Emotional intelligence in leadership is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions objectively. Emotional intelligence is a pivotal component of leadership, and focuses on workplace culture, and not just the project itself. While a leader may have smarts in one way, they may not have EQ.
Emotional intelligence within leadership is known as a “soft skill,” which is defined as a skill/skills to help individuals immerse themselves in a workplace, such as personality, motivation, attitude, and manners. Soft skills are crucial in a leader as it gives them the abilities to work with different members of the team to work towards a common goal. One employee may benefit from a certain approach, such as nurturing and developing. Whereas others respond more to motivational components, such as targets and deadlines.
The benefit of emotional intelligence has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic as employees work at home. Due to employees across the world struggling emotionally, emotional intelligence skills have benefited from improving motivation and resolve conflict.
For a leader to move towards a greater level of emotional intelligence, they can develop self-awareness through practices like mindfulness, become aware of the four pillars of mindfulness, including relationship management and emotional balance. Additionally, individuals can learn to accept feedback without becoming defensive and developing their empathy skills.
AI and Automation
A variety of industries are embracing automation and AI artificial intelligence. They are helping businesses become more holistic in their methods while also streamlining certain practices. But they are also becoming helpful within project management. AI is becoming an invaluable way to assist a project manager.
One key component that can help with is the administrative tasks. As project managers spend more time dealing with updates and checking than actually handling the project, this is where AI bots can handle these less labor-intensive tasks, reducing time spent on minor components. The approach of intelligent project management assistance can also help project managers make sense of patterns within the framework. As a result, project managers can focus more on their employees, manage them effectively, and make the overall project more efficient.
It can also help by using predictive analytics. As project managers may find themselves looking at the project with a more human pair of eyes, AI is an asset as it can make predictions based on what it sees without judgment. This is invaluable in components such as scheduling and budgeting and we can learn to identify the impacts of these processes.
Conversely, there are some drawbacks of automation and AI as the machines need to learn the data. If project managers rely on AI for decision-making, project managers could lose their critical thinking skills and rely on devices. This, combined with the infancy of AI project management apps means that there is still some way to go before AI becomes an invaluable assistant. While the AI industry is projected to become a $190 billion industry by 2025, it is clear that technology is advancing. With China projected to have the most significant economic benefit from AI by 2030, and up to 30% of US jobs at risk of becoming automated, the importance of having a human project manager will be invaluable.
The three trends in project management to look out for, hybrid project management, emotional intelligence, combined with artificial intelligence, is pointing towards a more holistic approach. By combining these three methods, we will see the project management landscape make a considerable change over the next few years.
Rebecca DiCioccio is the Marketing Manager at Paperform. Outside of work, Rebecca can be found exploring the outdoors or with a book in hand. Rebecca’s background in copywriting and keen interest in SEO and digital marketing mean she understands the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends in a dynamic and ever changing industry.