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5 trends that will transform project management

Moira Alexander | Jan. 8, 2016
The project management landscape may look different in 2016. As clients, stakeholders, businesses, government and environmental expectations change, the need for PM certifications, technical knowledge and training will be in higher demand – but that’s not all.

Trend 3: The increased need for accountability and social responsibility

If you ask business owners what the most important thing is, they may just say profits, but is it enough to just focus on the bottom line. How much should social responsibility and accountability factor in when it comes to executing projects or doing business in general for that matter?  With the whole world watching, businesses can no longer conduct themselves in anonymity, while giving no thought to social or environmental factors.  

People and businesses want to do business with companies that provide transparency, offer visibility and conduct themselves in ways that are ethical, socially responsible and accountable. Projects are no exception. They are impacted by, and should be carefully monitored and measured in ways that ensure they meet with legislative, legal, environmental, tax and reporting, and socially responsible requirements. Safeguards should be identified and implemented to ensure accountability is at the forefront to protect stakeholders, clients and the general public as it applies to the project activities and outcomes. Ultimately these factors do have the power to directly or indirectly influence the bottom line.

Trend 4: More emphasis on softer skills, not just technical training

 In addition to PM certification and technical training, softer skills and solid communication -- whether verbal or written -- will continue to increase in value. A large part of project management is people who are impacted to a great extent by interactions with other people. Skills like the ability to resolve conflict, deal with ambiguity, diplomacy and confidentiality will be at the forefront as more projects are globally implemented, and transcend language and cultural barriers.

Project managers will need to develop positive and constructive ways to address issues as they arise.  These soft skills are not easily found and will become increasingly popular and in high demand. Sometimes what may seem like an innocent gesture, word or even body language can o cause big misunderstandings and discord. Other high-value soft skills that employers will look for in a project manager include agility, adaptability and the skills to rapidly refocus efforts, as well as sound judgement.

Trend 5: Remote work, PM tools & security

Each day the workforce becomes more widely disbursed and mobile, increasing the need for remote project management tools and labor. Having the right technology, can make or break project schedules, budgets and overall success. Remote project management is not for every company, but it is increasing in popularity and demand. As a result, security policies and procedures need to be developed and implemented to keep client data secure, especially when employees or vendors use their own mobile devices.

Other issues that factor into remote project work include productivity degradation, location, distance or time zone differences, communication barriers, and technology and data access issues. Realistic and practical policies and practices should be identified and implemented to address these. Teams will need to be connected with increased frequency as the workforce becomes more mobile, creating the need for improved business intelligence, cloud-based project management solutions and mobile apps for data sharing, and collaboration


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