Understanding the Future of Project Management

When it comes to anticipating the future of project management, leadership needs to have a thorough understanding of the history and current state of project technology and tools. It’s up to Project Managers to have this understanding of the necessary technology available in the current marketplace in order to ensure project success. Staying on top of these trends and looking to the future can help your organization and team achieve your project goals. Changes in how projects are facilitated and managed are also important for Project Managers to note.

What’s more, the future of project management lies in the evolution of the project manager role. Below, we’ll explore why project management is undergoing change, what this means for the traditional Project Manager (PM), and present Elire’s perspective on actionable steps your organization can take to prepare for the future of project management.

First off, why is project management changing?

The sudden move to remote work forced by the COVID-19 pandemic caused changes to work as we know it. The adoption of remote work on a large scale for organizations of all sizes and industries and was truly a game-changer. Managing projects in a remote capacity became a necessity almost overnight, and depending on the project tools and software in place prior to March 2020, this move may have gone more or less smoothly.

Having to manage projects remotely became a much-needed skill for project managers to possess. Even if they had never before been expected to manage remote work, it became a key factor of their job and created a sink-or-swim dynamic within project management. PMs needed to learn how to effectively lead and facilitate remote meetings with their teams and with any external personnel. Navigating technical difficulties while remaining professional became the expectation. Creating and organizing shared documents, hosting work sessions, and scheduling and maintaining 1-on-1 meetings and project status reports all became key parts of the PM’s day-to-day.  

The rise of project management tools and resources to facilitate remote work has contributed to the changing PM environment. Being able to understand and fully leverage these sometimes-complex tools requires a deep understanding of your organizations’ needs and what resources you can provide to your team. Taking stock of your existing needs and desired future state can be a good first step in evaluating project management tools that will help bring you into the future of project management.

The rise of contract work and flexible jobs is another change we’re seeing in the project management sphere. Oftentimes, project work may be tasked to individuals other than company employees in the form of contract or gig work. Managing these external resources can be a challenge for managers unfamiliar with contract work. As we see more and more roles and workers moving towards flexible and contract positions, managing and acclimating these personnel will be a critical skill of project management going forward.

Another key reason why project management is changing is due to the fact that now more than ever, companies are facing increased demand and limited team bandwidth and resources. Companies can’t keep up with full projects, so especially with internal projects, they have to do things as their team has the time, leading to what we know as fractional project managers.

Fractional PMs are useful for when a business is in need of ongoing project management services, however, the necessary amount of time required for that service doesn’t warrant the hiring of a full-time employee. In this case, partnering with a fractional PM or PM team can be a good solution. They’ll essentially become a part of the organization for a specified number of hours per week or days per month, depending on the needs of the project.   

So, what does this all mean for the traditional PM?

In today’s world, a project manager needs learn how to be flexible. Oftentimes they will find themselves working in multiple Project Manager roles, wearing many hats and having a wide range of responsibilities. They’ll need to have a thorough understanding of the project management tools that exist in the marketplace. For more on project management tools, learn more here.

For a more traditional PM looking to the future, staying up to date on PMP certifications and PMO Methodologies is a good step. Doing so will help you stay on top of emerging themes in order to track and proactively stay on top of new opportunities. This makes you more versatile as a project manager.

The key benefits of having a PM are not only realized in the form of time and budget management, but also in stakeholder engagement, interpersonal navigation if there is team conflict, and the ability for the PM to serve as the bridge between the project and higher-ups.

At Elire, we offer fractional project management office (PMO) offerings that can assist your teams where you need it most. We’ve found that having a designated PM is important not only on large projects, but also on smaller initiatives as well, even if it’s a simply a part-time Project Manager resource.

To learn more about Elire’s Project Management Office and offerings, learn more about our services here and download our informational one sheet.

  • Ms. Caron serves as Elire's Marketing Specialist, specializing in content writing and digital media communications. Maddie works to deliver relevant industry updates and technical blog posts to educate and engage Elire's audience.

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