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Future of Project Management – 3 Emerging Trends

07 Feb 2018
Future of Project Management –  3 Emerging Trends

Project management has experienced a significant change in the last thirty years. From a tool-oriented approach, it has developed into a holistic competence-based management discipline that is also being deployed across all aspects of society. Many believe that it will be a required core competency for future generations.

To prepare for the future, the Institute of Project Management constantly reviews what trends are emerging across the project management landscape and what potential implications they could have.

A trend describes a change of something over a certain period. The following expected future trends in project management are drawn from an IPMA study “Is this the future - Future Trends for Project Management in 2025”

  1. Projectification of Societies

Projectification of societies is defined as the degree of diffusion of project management in all sectors of the societies. Indicators of this trend are the time and money spent on projects as well as the amount of economic, cultural and social benefits and losses caused by projects.

Increasingly more sectors of societies will implement the methodologies of project management for solving their complex unique tasks

Drivers of Trend

  • Post-industrialization of the societies, which creates more complex tasks
  • New technologies enabling and creating new forms of collaboration
  • The changing values of Generation Y may foster and transform project management in the future.

Possible Implications of Trend

Project Management will become a basic competence for everybody: not only engineers and managers will be supposed to know the techniques, but also professionals that have no contact with project management today like in the health or education sector. Project management will become more elaborated and diversified.

  1. Women in Project Management

The increasing number of women in managing and leading projects, programs and portfolios will change the way how projects are managed in the future, but also the evaluation criteria for project managers.

This involves the leadership style, communication style, meeting style, team composition and development, and the cooperation culture when people are dealing with complexity, coping with challenges and risks

Drivers of Trend

  • The corporate cultures and quotas for managerial gender compositions in the organizations.
  • Further drivers are the gender-specific education, motivation, training and development opportunities as well as the lack of qualified male specialists, particularly in ageing societies.

Possible Barriers

A common barrier against this development is the so-called “glass ceiling” that keeps qualified women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder regardless of their qualifications or achievements.

Other barriers include the missing support that women receive from organizations to integrate their work with family life as well as a lack of understanding on behalf of male colleagues and superiors when women give priority to their family responsibilities.

  1. Coping with Complexity

Complexity of projects is driven by size & volume of projects, by the number of stakeholders involved in the project, and the ambiguity of their expectations.

Drivers of Trend

  • Projects are having to cope with an increasing uncertainty e.g. concerning technological developments, regulatory changes, competitive moves, and changing customer requirements.
  • Globalization, Virtualization, Urbanization and Growth

Possible Implications of Trend:

To better react with these circumstances particularly in the area of ICT agile methods derived. These methods are expected to further develop to hybrid methods integrating the classic procedures with agile concepts. Further implications are:

  • Collaborative methods will increase
  • Standardization, modularization and integrating tools will proliferate
  • Big data, simulation and statistical analysis tools will augment
  • Systemic approaches will be increasingly demanded