5 Project Management Trends You Need to Know in 2021

in Business

Hardly any industry is growing as fast as information technology sectors. New technologies like AI, ML, and big data analysis bring to the table possibilities to create innovative software that the world hasn’t seen yet. If you don’t want to fall behind, this IT project management trends list should help you with that.

It seems that Agile has settled in our environment for good. Does this mean that we should remove Waterfall from our dictionary? Potentially, Agile methodologies should already be cured of childhood diseases. Despite this, still fewer than ⅓ of completed IT projects over the past years have been recognized as a success.

Knowledge of both traditional methods of software development and Agile ones allows us to combine them depending on the needs and environment in which they are used. This trend can be seen not only in software development but also in finance, HR and marketing and so on. It is worthwhile to consider which parts and which method should be chosen for our toolbox, depending on the context in which we operate.

What does this mean for project managers? First of all, the need for continuous development, searching for new methods and improvements, and extracting fragments that are important to the team. Secondly, you cannot forget that each project and each team is to some extent different. The biggest challenge is to find a sweet spot between following clearly defined methodologies and flexibility combined with an individual approach.

Remote Is Here to Stay

Because of the recent pandemic, a majority of IT companies have at least some remote workers. It is one of the IT project management trends which is the most influential in the changes in the approach to project management.

Today, we rarely find ourselves in a convenient situation when we have at our disposal a full team of full-time employees at a distance of several desks. Instead, we need to coordinate people’s actions in different time zones, countries and cultures.

Remote work undoubtedly brings many profits as the potential pool of talent or increased productivity increases. However, it is worth remembering the potential risks associated with it, such as a sense of isolation and faster burnout. Thinking about motivation and inspiration strategies, distributed teams can be a good goal for this year.

It’s All About Humans

MySpace, Google Wave, Foursquare are just a few examples of products that are painfully convincing of how relevant user experience is for success. Many companies have lost millions by neglecting the end-user feedback on application friendliness. On the other side of the scale, there are situations like the one where the change of one button increased the annual income by $300,000,000.

Nowadays, there is no room for the development team to work in isolation from the end user. If you want to be up to date with IT project management trends, topics such as customer design, design thinking, or service design should not be foreign to you.

Is Teal the New Black?

Is there a place in 2021 for a movement which in the extreme case says “let’s fire all managers”? I am convinced that yes. “No managers” is not synonymous with lack of management.

Frédéric Laloux, the writer of the book “Reinventing Organizations”, thought to be an important book when it comes to management, defines the basics of turquoise movement as self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose. Although the idea may sound wild, companies such as Patagonia, Morning Start, and AES have proven that much can be gained from this approach.

Does this mean that project managers should be concerned about the stability of their employment? Not really. However, it looks like the role of the project manager is being redefined. The command-and-control style is replaced by lead and inspire, and the hierarchy pyramid flattens.

Big Data Gets Popular

Some say that about 90% of all the data in the world today has been created in the past few years. Gathering data about how people interact with applications, their preferences, types of behaviour, location, etc., has never been as easy as it is today.

However, the data is worth as much as you can draw from it. Available algorithms will undoubtedly make the task easier. However, the project manager must be aware of the possibilities of using these technologies.

We should all care that the data we collect does not only introduce more confusion. Implementation of the role of data analyst and application of processes in this matter can be a good start. The task of the project manager is to help teams and stakeholders understand what collected and analysed data brings and how they can use it on a path to success.

Are You Ready for the Changes?

Changes in the IT world in the last few years are going in a surprising direction. The development of such technology branches as big data, AI, machine learning greatly supports the daily work of the project managers, among others through access to advanced statics and task automation.

On the other hand, you can see that advanced technology alone is too little to succeed. In the end, digital products are created by people, for people, so their close cooperation on many levels is essential.

Are you ready for the challenges that are waiting for project managers in the coming years?


Image Credits: Scott Graham

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