Canvasing the internet and businesses, the project management trends for 2024 are a continuation of trends from the past few years and one new AI, which touches all areas of PM.
As organizations see results from their work thus far, the focus in 2024 will be on increasing positive results.
Organizations across a few industries have implemented Agile successfully, while others are still in the process. Agile metrics and data analytics are becoming increasingly important in 2024. Agile teams use data analytics to measure their projects' success, identify improvement areas, and make data-driven decisions.
Years ago, there was a misconception about agile. Based on conversations, agile was the reason for dropping all processes and management techniques; for example, the statement “we do not need configuration management because we are agile.” This has changed as our teams and executives understand what it means to be agile; it is not just dumping the things you do not want to do willy-nilly. I am afraid we will need to think our way through this and not casually dismiss it.
Many organizations are focused on continuing the implementation of change management processes. This year's focus builds on past years of rollout of project management change management processes. This includes enhancing them. In 2024, we will see these processes being implemented in other departments. Anyone involved in implementing these processes will face inevitable resistance to change.
From experience, most organizational change management approaches span years anyway. For any ongoing concern, survival is the most adaptable.
“When it comes to changes, people like only those they make themselves.”
Whether DEI continues or there is a backlash, emotional intelligence is a requirement for anybody working with people. Project managers will benefit from these capabilities. This is not to downplay critical mathematical and analytical skills.These are important too, but project managers get the work done through others, which will require a combination of intellectual and emotional intelligence.
If you are part of any team, you have some burden on how you should act. Projects come with constraints of all sorts, and even when things are not going well, all team members require a clear head, especially the person leading the project, the project manager.
I have had times when I had to deliver news that was arguably not good. I did not come to the team and say, “We have an opportunity to work through the holidays.” I knew this was not good; I would not spin this as a good thing. I would model acceptable behavior; this was not good, but it was necessary. I would express disappointment, commiserate with the team, and quickly move on to resolution and working to achieve. One loses credibility when we treat these events as good things. We should call things as they are. It is excellent.
“The person is more interesting than people in general; he and not they is the one whom God created in His image.”
~Andre Gide, Journal, 1943
Project Management Certification
Project management certification continues to be a hot button for organizations. More industries are requesting certification in job postings. Certifications are like any education we undertake. We get out what we put into the effort. I like certifications; they demonstrate that somebody is interested in the topic, the subject offers a baseline for understanding the subject, and, most importantly, developing the subject provides a baseline for understanding the subject and, most importantly, creating a common lexicon. This last item helps promote clear communication between the team.
Also noteworthy is that we expect a bit of a reverse of the remote working imposed by the pandemic. Anecdotally, we have talked with hiring managers who said positions open a few years ago for remote work are now being brought back onsite. The hiring managers said quite a few prospective employees opt out of the organization when they find out they are expected to be on-site. This year, we can expect this tension between onsite and offsite.
Personally, in the world of product development, those happenstance conversations can turn into intellectual property. Many of the patents Jon has participated in have a significant base in these impromptu exchanges. I am not a smoker, but some of the other engineers were, and when we had design hurdles, I would go out to the smoking area with them. We would not discuss the specific product challenges but do some “what ifs” around that topic. This would generate some actions we would follow up on back at the lab.
Risk management is or should be on the minds of project managers throughout the project life cycle. Risk Management has been a hot topic for a few years, and some organizations now have C-level risk management positions. The state of the country and the world highlight the importance of managing risk.
Project Managers must broaden their knowledge of risks in their industry and any industry that might overlap, politics, governmental impacts, etc. When conducting risk meetings to develop a risk register, the team members must look at what-if scenarios.
Responsible project management is a critical trend that is often undervalued. In 2024, organizations increasingly focus on responsible project management practices, prioritizing sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical considerations. Refer to a recent PMtips article: Sustainable Project Management.
New Project Management Trends
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Hybrid Project Management
We have seen the mashing of agile and conventional approaches and envision this continuing. Agile for the immediate operations and traditional project approaches beyond the core team. Rick Edwards and I have chatted about this for years, including exploring writing a book that explores this topic. There are a range of project operating parameters and objectives. We have long held that being dogmatic is not a good approach to most things.
The basis for hybrid project management is combining different aspects of existing methodologies. The combining of various elements is a trial-and-error proposition.
I initiated an Agile-style daily stand-up in an organization that swore by waterfall methodology. A particular project was heading for trouble, and I wanted to know daily: what was planned and accomplished, and what issues were blocking progress? This approach made for quick updates on the progress of a tight-delay regulatory project.
We discovered and quickly disclosed to the rest of the organization that many things were inconsistent with a high-quality and safe launch. This, in turn, compelled prioritization for resolution.
In 2023, AI will make significant inroads in agile project management and decision-making. Agile teams leverage AI and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks, analyze data, and identify patterns. 2024: Artificial intelligence (AI) will benefit project managers and engineers more. Between AI and big data, it is possible to explore alternatives early; some examples are below:
- Product design possibilities
- Project strategy exploration
- Project tactic exploration
- Cost variance
- Schedule variance
- Product and project failure modes and frequencies
In 2024, AI can be applied in many areas, both for business and project management. The challenge will involve prioritizing the regions ,reprioritizing the areas affected to prioritize the regions and reprioritizing the areas, which involves prioritizing the regions, reprioritizing the areas, and using proper PM tools to ensure progress.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
~George Bernard Shaw
The bottom line is that 2024 will be another exciting year in project management. This is especially true with new tools like machine learning and artificial intelligence. The work world continues at a rapid pace. Project teams will continue to be distributed globally, and the project manager must be able to retain the focus on their projects by their team and the sponsors. Project managers will still need to measure and balance a good many elements, and these will be different almost every time. Fortunately, more tools can help, but it not all about the tool. Tools can help, but they can also harm.