More money is being invested in Information Technology (IT) worldwide. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to reach $3.9 trillion in 2020, meaning that the call for better IT project management is ringing more fervently than ever. IT project management trends also indicate that remote work and security are top of mind for many of these professionals.

With the global shift to remote work caused by the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, IT project managers carry a heavier responsibility to manage more dynamic teams, resources, and situations than ever before. The increasing complexity of IT projects, rapidly changing technologies, professional services industry trends, and the high cost of project failure all present significant challenges for project managers.  

Smart IT project managers focus on keeping their costs in line with their budget while watching for the best industry trends to deliver on customer demands and keep their company on the cutting edge. Setting goals to maintain organizational agility, choose the right technologies, and secure more useful skills, keeps these smart project managers agile and successful. They also form a strong foundation for their employers and companies to thrive.

To help you position your company alongside other leading companies in the IT sector, here are four essential trends affecting IT project management in 2020.

Remote work is the top influence on IT project management trends in 2020

The near-universal switch to remote work is the top influence on the IT professional services definition in the new decade. And there is no indication that this trend will stop. Business leaders predict that many companies will continue to have a number of their staff, an estimated two-fifths, working remotely even after the pandemic is under control. This remote work development has brought many changes to the field of project management and to business, generally.

Remote teams battle challenges that co-located colleagues do not typically worry about. Such problems include inefficient coordination, asynchronous workflow and time zones, reduced visibility into one another's work, and, as a group, the inability to maintain high velocity. These problems call for software solutions like Wrike that help teams organize communications and collaboration, delegate tasks, and coordinate projects, both large and small.

Remote work also places greater emphasis on IT project managers' leadership and communication skills. These managers often find themselves working with teams and stakeholders remotely, in different time zones, countries, and cultures. Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills are vital for any IT project manager to continue to achieve operational efficiency

A focus on customer satisfaction demands better prioritization of projects and resources

Focus on customer satisfaction is another IT project management trend that increases a company's chances of success. Smart IT project managers must prioritize projects that promise the most significant impact on customer satisfaction over nice-to-have product features.

The problem of many projects and few resources will always be one that project managers have to balance. Should you take on many projects, knowing that you'll deliver only a number of them well, or should you manage fewer projects and focus on stronger project delivery.

When the priority isn't clear, it is easy for a project manager's focus to shift from vital, strategically aligned projects to less critical projects with urgent deadlines. Better prioritization allows project managers to focus the team and resources where they are needed most instead of spreading too thin across multiple projects with disproportionate values. 

Talent retention is becoming increasingly important — and difficult

IT is a highly competitive industry. A shortage of qualified project managers makes finding talented IT project managers difficult for smaller businesses. These companies have to develop and promote skilled project managers internally if they are unable to find candidates with the qualifications and expertise they need.

Employee training and professional development programs are growing in popularity and, as a result of this, PMOs are becoming more popular as a means of providing structured training. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers useful Project Management Professional (PMP)® certifications

Upskilling IT professionals with project management potential has become an important trend influencing IT project management. It has proven to be a valuable way of attracting and retaining top project management talent in many companies. 

A clearly defined path to grow within the organization is an added incentive to keep skilled project managers in your organization. If you are not sure what training opportunities or incentives suit each PM, involve them in the discussion. Ask them what they need to grow and excel in the company.

The most impactful professional development doesn’t happen through formal programs, but in smaller moments that occur on the job. Project managers must be given enough wiggle room and the right level of autonomy to lead their teams and make quick decisions. 

As IT projects become more complex, security cannot be overlooked

The rise of big data and mobile platforms is leading to bigger and more complicated IT projects. More complexity means larger teams to handle, more departments to coordinate with, and more stakeholders to please. Complex projects may also mean that an entire team of project managers is leading a project, instead of a single manager overseeing the process. This means collaboration is more critical than ever. 

Helping your team work better together while remote is now a matter of project success vs. project failure. Added to these issues, cyberattacks are not a hypothetical threat. In the past few years, many companies have lost precious data and millions of dollars because of cyberattacks. Thus, more attention to cybersecurity is another critical trend affecting IT project management today.

Security measures like two-factor authentication, better encryption protocols, and stronger security updates, are a staple of the best IT project management software, tools, and systems.

Looking for a powerful IT project management tool for today's workplace? 

You can try Wrike’s IT project management software to maximize the impact of your strategic and operational IT projects. With Wrike, you get industry-standard templates to optimize your project management workflows and customized views to implement Kanban in IT. You can also build custom workflows for your unique IT project management needs. Get started and sign up to a free two-week trial with Wrike.