Project management professionals have seen a shift in their roles as technological advancements have automated many of their traditional responsibilities. 

Technological advancements have profoundly altered the role of the project manager by automating many of their transactional responsibilities. As such, soft skills have become a top priority in hiring project management professionals, over even technical skills. As one of our core focus areas, our subject matter experts assembled what they expect to be the biggest project management trends in 2020. 

Growth in Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) will cut costs and improve efficiency

Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) has been a solution offered by IT management consulting firms for over a decade. The relative maturity of the PMaaS offering has allowed businesses to establish baseline commodity prices for PMaaS, making it possible for engagement of PMaaS providers on a more limited scope than previously. In turn, companies are now purchasing project management services on demand and using PMaaS’s inherent SLAs and KPIs to achieve project success. Additionally, PMaaS has adopted Project Management Office (PMO) transformation services to ensure organizations can take advantage of multiple project management frameworks (Waterfall, Agile, Bimodal, etc.). 

Hybrid project management approaches will grow in popularity

Agile vanquishing Waterfall has been the popular trope in project management circles in recent years, but it oversimplifies the reality. Is Waterfall dead? No. In fact, more project management professionals are acknowledging that business objectives, corporate culture, and client need ensure that every project is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ methodology. Understanding specific project needs and tailoring an approach based on those distinct needs is becoming the standard among project management professionals. Increasingly, project managers are applying a variety of methods to create hybrid approaches, which combine traditional methodologies with Agile practices. Hybrid methods allow customized techniques that balance value and predictability for that particular initiative, fostering more efficient and productive project results.

Soft skills will be vital to project success

Effectively executing projects requires more than setting objectives and tracking deliverables. Amid an already significant skills gap, project management employers are emphasizing the need for emotionally intelligent leaders. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and express emotions adequately, and to empathetically maintain interpersonal relationships. According to a survey by Talent Smart, 58% of respondents say emotional intelligence is a key indicator of professional performance. As artificial intelligence drives the expansion of project management to broader groups of stakeholders and sponsors, understanding emotions and effective communication will become even more essential.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics will shift the role of the project manager

AI will automate many of the mundane tasks project managers are responsible for currently, such as scheduling, data tracking and reporting. The reduction in transactional tasks means that project managers have more time to devote to larger business initiatives and strategic planning. Rather than focusing in those traditional skills, modern project management instead emphasizes the need for soft skills, like flexibility and emotional intelligence. With the massive amounts of data that analytics tools are collecting, project managers also need to be able to read and react to data. As AI systems gather and store data over time, they will eventually be able to predict outcomes and help project managers draw meaningful conclusions from the data they collect. AI and data analytics have the potential to revolutionize the project manager’s role and position them to lead their organizations through transformation.