Top 6 emerging Project Management Trends in 2021

By: Niels De Meirleir, Senior Project Manager

With the advent of new technologies, leadership paradigms and fast adaptations to a new way of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project management discipline (like virtually every other industry) is undergoing significant change and evolution.

Read further to explore some of the key project management trends you can embrace to adapt to these changes.


  1. Digital and Remote Teams & Platforms for managing remote and virtual teams

Digital and remote teams are more common today than ever before. This trend has certainly been reinforced by the coronavirus. However, the steadily increase was already ongoing due to numerous factors such as greater connectivity, changing corporate values, the rise of the gig economy.


  1. Soft Skills

A project manager’s job does not end with the completion of project scope and budget documents. At the core of their work lies an understanding of people and how to manage them in a way that will yield the best results.  Effective project managers must be able to anticipate the needs of their team, understand their hopes and motivations, and identify and remove roadblocks before they impact the progress of a project.


  1. Hybrid Project Management Approaches

In the not-so-distant past, project managers—and even entire organizations—typically pursued all projects according to a single project management methodology. While the specific methodology embraced may have varied among project managers or organizations, a reliance on a single framework was generally the norm. In recent years, however, project managers, and the organizations they work for, have become increasingly adaptable in their approaches.


  1. Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Machine Learning

As with virtually every other industry, project management will be impacted by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and proliferation of data collection and analysis that has characterized much of the 21st century. Exactly what this impact will look like is difficult to predict with certainty. However, most experts agree that some degree of disruption is inevitable.


  1. A Closer Connection Between Projects and Strategy

Traditionally, project management is an organizational tool used to work toward and achieve discrete goals, which might include the launching of a single product or service or the pursuit of a particular outcome. However, in recent years, the role of project management in many organizations has begun to expand. Project management is more than just a tool for carrying out discrete goals; the framework is now also being applied to the broader strategy and initiatives.


  1. Project Management and Change Management

Each year, an organization can go through dozens of organizational changes. These can range from small adjustments to internal processes to total overhauls of a company’s products, services, supply chain, strategy, or structure. While this has always been true, the emergence of the novel coronavirus has forced many organizations to embrace substantial change initiatives while also completing previously existing projects.

Project managers are now frequently left managing not only their own projects, but the organization’s change initiatives as well.



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