The project management industry continues to evolve. Traditional responsibilities of a project professional continue to be blurred. In our hybrid reality of remote teams and short-staffed companies, new challenges and opportunities will arise.
Below are my thoughts on eight 2022 trends based on what I've experienced, talking to others, and reading insights and articles from other project professionals.
Less Focus on "Resources" and More Focus on "People". Let's start with two simple definitions. Resources are equipment or other materials/licenses project teams require. People are people, and use those resources to complete tasks. People are not resources. Treat your team like people, not tools. They have feelings, other commitments outside of work, and are looking for more than just a paycheck. Treat them like people, not resources!
Show Me the Data! Image if you could say "Alexa, what would the impact be if Task X is three days late?" and get an answer immediately? That'd be great! Maybe it already exists to some level. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to be enhanced within project management. Redundant tasks will be automated. With all this AI and automation, project predictive analytics will begin to move more to the forefront of conversations. Leadership will want to see data on a project, or proposed project, to understand how it's running and if ROI is still feasible. Sure, a PM can talk about progress, but data will be a "trust but verify" differentiator.
Drop the Project Manager Title; Be a Project Leader Instead. We all know project professionals need to be leaders. This has only intensified over the last couple of years. They must have the ability, in person and virtually, to influence, negotiate, facilitate, and effectively communicate with an array of stakeholder groups. Since they lead on all these levels, call them project leaders. That's what they're doing. I also see some direct team leadership (solid line, not dotted line) as staffing shortages have decreased the number of functional leaders. This direct leadership also leads to...
Project Professionals are Part of the Employee Retention Strategy. A recent podcast I listened to had a HR professional on. She said everyone in the company is part of their employee retention strategy. As a project leader, your goal is to create a culture of success with your project team that fosters psychological safety and interpersonal relationships. Continually honing those "soft skills" is required to create this environment and not drive staff to other companies. With staffing shortages, we're all part of the retention strategy!
Your Methodology is ScrumBanaFall? That's Cool. I have to give it to the latest PMBOK 7th edition; Section 3.7 is all about tailoring your approach based on the context of the project. There are a lot of processes a company, PMO and project professional can subscribe to. But do they make sense for the project you're undertaking? Since every project is unique, be OK with tailoring your approach to deliver the maximum business value with the least amount of process overhead. Who knows, ScrumBanaFall may be a commonly used word in the future!
What Comes First; Agile or Agility? Agile practices will continue to gain popularity and adoption as the speed of business only increases. With digital transformations and changes in consumer preferences, project teams need to respond to change. Scrum, PMI-ACP, Kanban, DevOps, SAFe and more are available to project professionals and teams. But, does the company have organizational agility? Can the company see the bigger external and internal changes and respond? Can a company utilize agile practices if they cannot practice agility? Though I believe agile practices and organizational agility can go hand-in-hand, I like to see organizational agility first. With supply chain and personnel challenges, companies have to practice agility, and with that projects will need to be more agile.
To PM Tool, or Not to PM Tool? That is the (Repeated) Question. This is a question I get and read online constantly. "What project management tool do you like, why, and should I use it?" You'll get a wide range of answers as well as messages from sale people. There are more and more project management tools on the market. This has helped drive down the cost and allowed smaller companies to subscribe to useful tools. Many tools now offer not only your traditional PM capabilities, but also more online and live collaboration capabilities. But if I've said it once I've said it 100 times; have your processes defined and documented first, find a tool to support and enhance those second. You probably could use a tool. Be prescriptive about which one you choose.
Remote Team Management is the Norm. Remote teams are the norm. No longer are they the exception. I've seen stats of anywhere between 40-60% of teams are remote. With the employee shortages many companies face, remote team members are a viable solution. If you haven't looked at tips on remote team management already, I suggest you do so.
With the profession continuing to evolve and our hybrid world, there are many trends project leaders will need to adapt to. 2022 will be full of challenges and opportunities. Let's get out there and make it a successful year!