For the past years, project management has become an essential part of a series of industry segments, because it crosses corporate and geographic boundaries, adapting to different businesses and teams’ particularities. And, due to its ever-expanding nature, every year we can foresee upcoming project management trends and predictions that are expected to bring even more advantages for the field. Understanding these predictions is what gives project managers and their employees the ability to be well-prepared for what comes and make smarter decisions.
But, which project management trends can we expect for 2022? In this article, we chose 5 big tendencies that can help professionals stay ahead of the game, meet new technologies and see where to invest in their professional development. Use this content as an opportunity to analyze how the predictions can affect your organization, and how you can prepare for these changes.
Trend nº 1: Project management for hybrid teams
In 2020, the world stopped and went into quarantine. Several businesses had to change their operations to fit the “work from home” format, and we had to go through a very complex and hard process of adaptation. This scenario continued until around the middle of 2021, when the advent of the vaccine was able to bring us a growing sense of normality again. But, the catch was that remote work became the new normal: People didn’t want to go back to the office, but some companies still wanted them there.
To please both parties, the hybrid system seemed to be the perfect alternative. A Fall 2021 study conducted by Google revealed that over 75% of survey respondents expect hybrid work to become a standard practice within their organization within the next three years. This is why, in 2022, it is predicted that the hybrid system will begin to be implemented, thus, remote project managers will now have to adapt their approaches and perspective to contemplate hybrid workers.
In a hybrid system, workers are able to choose their environment for the day. If you’re a manager, for example, your job is to know how to lead considering this change of circumstances. And as for hybrid project management, it will be necessary to blend approaches from a traditional PM environment and the remote world. In other words, all projects, tasks, data, and communication channels must be in one place, available for everyone in any given situation, whether they’re at the office or at home. For this, while working in a multi-project environment, it’s recommended to use a traditional approach for simple and clear parts and agile methodologies for more complex ones.
You may notice that this work format has encouraged more cross-team collaboration than ever before, and that is because, in order to make it work, employers and employees must overcome all the different circumstances, making clear integration and access to information their main focuses. The good news is that the tools required for effective collaboration are more affordable and available than ever. Apps like Slack and Google Chat make it easy to communicate with your team, and other messaging apps also have voice calling and video chat features.
Trend nº 2: Becoming data-oriented with BI and BA
As technology advances, project managers are increasing their use of data insights to make informed decisions to handle projects in a better way and escalate business growth. In 2022, data has a high chance of becoming a major protagonist when it comes to guiding project management measures and activities. Our prediction is that project professionals will rely even more on relevant insights through the use of Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analysis (BA).
BI is considered a descriptive form of data analytics, responsible for presenting past and present insights into what has happened or what is currently happening in a particular process. These pieces of information give managers access to realistic metrics to operate with, as well as better visibility into projects, processes, and their results. On the other hand, BA is aimed at the future, it analyzes data to better predict challenges and adapt to provide improved outcomes.
Proper use of data can significantly reduce the guesswork out of the decision-making process and provide substantial support to guide teams and actions. Data analysis also helps to create better project planning, risk estimation, and quality management, which means, if used correctly, all that data has the power to produce a lot of business value.
Project managers can use the collected data to be more assertive when forming teams, deciding the number of members, how to include and position each employee, what are the skill sets needed for a certain project, or the usual duration of each step and the project itself. Data can also prove valuable in helping project managers schedule work, allocate resources, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and more effectively manage risks. Great assistance, right?
Trend nº 3: Globally attracting remote and flexible workers
With globalization and the recent experience with remote work, companies realized they can reach more professionals than ever. Currently, there’s a growing tendency to hire out-of-state employees under free schedules, adapting the work to their necessities. Aside from that, the traditional 8-hour working day is gradually losing its relevance since it can be less effective depending on the employee’s habits or preferences.
However, by expanding even more hiring opportunities to remote and flexible workers, project managers can attract different types of professionals, for example, ambitious and active students who need to combine work shifts with their study time. Another great advantage is the opportunity of going global. With the advance of project management in different fields for different purposes, some projects require such specific skills that finding a professional in your city, state, or even country can be a real challenge. Luckily, remote work allows companies to look for that specialist anywhere in the world.
Still on the subject of remote work benefits, we know that 2022 is a promised year for the launch of new businesses that had to be put on hold due to the uncertainty of the past two years. We also know that, when companies are first created, they tend to invest their budget into promoting the brand’s services or products, which results in a lack of resources to cover and maintain other costs. Hiring remote workers can be a life-savior solution for these brand new companies since it prevents them from spending money to keep employees in the office when they are able to execute the same work from anywhere else.
Also, the freedom made possible by the work-from-home culture affects the productivity of work. The creation of projects, especially creative ones, is not routine work. Here, creators need freedom and more comfortable conditions in order to work more efficiently and show good results. For example, a remote employee can calmly wake up in the morning and plan an enjoyable, yet productive day, distributing tasks at will, only having to complete the work within a specified time frame. Thus, when creative people work with freedom, they don’t feel overstrained, using their brains to generate fresh ideas and direct them to the development of the project.
Trend nº 4: Automation, artificial intelligence and bots
In 2022, artificial intelligence in project management will be key to help automate the execution of daily operational tasks that don’t necessarily require human effort. This prediction is more of a long-awaited scenario for project professionals, but, it was necessary to wait until technology could turn it into reality. But, it’s important to clarify something: For companies to leverage AI to its fullest extent, it needs to be paired with human collaboration. Project management is not only about miscalculations, reporting and documentation. It’s also about human relationships that robots cannot build.
Project managers can use automation to perform actions from scheduling tasks to data visualization with the help of digital systems. Operations can be planned online, contributing to a quicker adaptation of employees to any changes. Machines also make more consistent decisions, therefore they organize processes faster.
Once project managers learn to leverage AI to automate processes, project execution will be much easier than before. It will be possible to create the right estimation of a project’s duration, costs, and progress, helping PMs predict realistic timelines for their project. Not only AI but machine learning and bots can have a big impact on project development. For example, it’s possible to configure a bot to send you daily reports about your projects or flag potential risks.
However, this influence goes beyond automating assignments, AI can also be quite helpful in obtaining performance insights, helping PMs make informed decisions based on the captured data. An example of a tech solution to implement in 2022 are chatbots, they are capable of conducting a dialogue with clients, directing them to the next step in their journey, whether it’s to acquire the product/service, just accessing helpful information, or solving issues without the participation of the manager directly, which makes it possible to free them from overload.
Trend nº 5: Higher demand for trained project management professionals
Since the popularization of project management, some professionals ended up becoming project managers “by accident”, this happens when they’re routinely expected to coordinate and manage projects in their workplace, yet, they’re not formally trained in such management. But, with the reset of habits caused by the pandemic, these unofficial PMs, and people in general, had more time to develop new skills and seek expertise in the field, consequently becoming trained professionals who are ready for the job market. With this increased offer in a skilled workforce, in 2022, companies will be able to demand more skilled and experienced project managers.
But, these higher demands are also due to technology becoming more and more complex, with project managers turning to advanced applications and tools to help them remain on top of their workflow. In 2022 businesses will likely be extra challenged by employee development, requiring new team members to settle in faster with optimized programs and managers to delegate tasks sooner. And since time is an expensive resource, the more prepared for starting a job someone is, the bigger are the chances of getting hired by a company, reducing the time spent on training and guidance.
This means that mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for the job ahead of you is essential if you want to remain competitive, whether you’re brand new to project management or an experienced professional ready for career advancement. But, don’t worry! In 2022 we predict that more courses and training on project management will be available, including subjects in administration, marketing, and technology degrees. This year will be perfect to find plenty of resources to build your personal brand as a project manager.
Understanding the current project management trends and where things are heading in 2022 is key to staying on top of the profession. By investing time in learning about where project management is headed, you’ll be better equipped to take advantage of new opportunities and develop your skillset accordingly. This year is only beginning, many opportunities for growth and success are coming, make sure to use these trends and predictions to take your business, projects, and team to the next level!