Innovations in the Project Management Industry in 2021

project management

Every company needs healthy growth in order to survive in our saturated global market. This growth is not achieved through reengineering and permanent cost reductions. Brand loyalty does not always mean optimal customer conditions through high quality. Instead, this quality must be supported by innovations. Fundamentally, there are only two constant sources of growth for companies – excellent Project Management (PM) approach and a flair for innovation.

From my experience working in a bespoke software development company, I know that Agile Project Management practices are what modern, fast-paced and dynamic businesses need. Although leading trends such as globalisation and digitisation might sometimes make essential tasks such as business analysis, resource planning or cost estimations rather tricky, there are still ways to turn the odds in your favour. Read further to know the top innovations in project management for 2021.

1. Agile Project Management

The manifesto for Agile Software Development was first released in 2001. Being around for two decades now, this philosophy is not a new thing per se, but right now, there is a boom in the use of Agile Project Management methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban. This is no surprise given the rising uncertainty on the business landscape and the dynamic nature of project requirements that can quickly change depending on the circumstances.

In his book “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” by Jeff Sutherland is a holy grail for organisations constantly faced with the challenge of scarce resources and strict project deadlines. Being an Agile company is more than simply following the Scrum guide. It is more of a mindset that promotes team spirit, focus, commitment and open team communication.

In 2021 more and more companies turn to Agile principles because the need to stay flexible and adapt to new challenges is here to stay.

2. Next Level Collaboration

Teams have always existed. But the future holds a lot more when it comes to enhancing teamwork. Interdisciplinary team collaboration in self-organised teams will be a decisive success factor in PM. Competence silos in specialist teams are not up to the new project dynamics – today, it is about sharing knowledge, maximum transparency and intensive dialogue in order to find the best solution for the ongoing task.

An open dialogue sounds simple but, if not done right, can create certain challenges such as conflict, misunderstandings and project delays. Moreover, it is vital to keep in mind that not everyone is an equally skilful team player, especially after the prolonged Covid-19 isolation. Collaboration tools can help lower the barrier and enable remote team members to participate effectively and track project progress. For example, Jira is a nice tool for software developers, Trello and Miro are other visual tools suitable for project collaboration.

3. The Era of Hybrid Work Models

It is expected that most knowledge workers will continue to work remotely at least half of the time. But what about all the office space that will be left unoccupied if all employees remain at home? A decent compromise can be the so-called hybrid work model, and the current debate is how many days to spend at the office and how many remotely.

The new hybrid work model is a part of a bigger work model called New Work, and experts predict it will be the next big thing that will transform many industries. The new work concept will bring groundbreaking changes in how organisations function. For example, one of the core ideas is that innovation is gained through participation and personal responsibility. Therefore, individual abilities are critical and what matters is not hierarchy level but the best idea that will benefit the whole company.

4. New Times Require New Leaders

New work requires a new form of leadership. In addition to leading remote project teams, project managers who coach and moderate more than lead and control are what is about to become a norm in 2021. More than ever, Project Managers have the task of creating the right framework conditions to develop the team’s collective intelligence in the best possible way.

But beware – although it sounds all good when PMs and executives step in the role of coaches, there is also the potential for conflict. A strict hierarchical structure sometimes prevents the cultivation of nurturing and trusting atmosphere between the management and employees. That is why modern companies seek options such as a flat company structure to encourage all team members’ autonomy, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit.

5. AI and Automation Expand Further

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, seems to reach a buzzword status recently. With more and more firms embracing uncertainty provoked by the pandemic outbreak with digital solutions that can future-proof their business, it is no wonder that AI solution and automation are booming. AI also has the potential to introduce significant changes in Project Management. The predictions regarding AI’s role in Project Management follow three core directions.

The first one is also the one that is already taking place right now. It consists of AI taking the role of project assistant that is focused on narrow management tasks in a team, e.g. Sprint support, budget estimations or worst case scenario predictions. The second AI-driven tools will help expand the understanding of the current project. For instance, AI will be able to show source code changes and link these to specific people, date and tasks, which will ease bug reports and enhance team performance. Last but not least, the third predicted use case of AI in Project Management would fill the data gaps and promote data sustainability and improved quality. Data gaps often occur when teams forget to or are too busy entering data into their projects.


About the Author

Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company, and is keen on innovative technological solutions with a positive impact on our world. Her teaching background, mixed with interests in psychology, drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.

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