Project management will undergo significant changes this coming year. Worldwide physical and cultural events are shaping every new project management trend happening in the industry. They may even be transforming the entire project management discipline. Keep reading to stay in the know about some of the most notable changes, alongside our predictions for what to expect in the near future. 

What are the current trends in project management?

While we all want to see into the future of project management trends, these current industry ideas are sure to influence project management teams for months to come: 

Improving communication across blended teams

Effective communication skills are required to stay motivated during and after the pandemic. This means having the necessary tools and expertise to work remotely. Today’s project managers must learn how to use systems that overcome the challenges of working from home. Not only does improving communication increase productivity, but it may also improve mental health in the workplace after the pandemic

Maximizing the effectiveness of hybrid and remote work 

Even after the global pandemic has subsided, the hybrid work model will still be a staple of business moving forward. There are many advantages to having face-to-face interaction with employees. However, this interaction will require the use of new technology and strategies to manage it properly.

Embracing Agile as a means to combine strategy with output

In 2022, companies will need to ensure that their teams are Agile and fast-moving. Instead of having a one-size-fits-all framework, teams will need to have the knowledge and experience necessary to choose strategic frameworks that fit their needs. 

Over the past year, more companies have started using Agile methods to improve their project management processes. We would expect them to increase their usage in the coming years. 

A prediction of future trends in project management

Based on our experience and research, we believe that the following future trends in project management are worth exploring. Use each one to better understand your goals for the upcoming year and what the industry may look like in a few months' time. 

1. Fully remote project teams

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced many organizations to rethink their work-from-home policies. As a result, many workers in the US have shifted to working from home full- or part-time. That means project management is no longer confined to the typical office.

Some tasks are more easily carried out when team members are located close to one another. For instance, team building exercises are less time-consuming when done face-to-face. Despite the challenges, remote work has many advantages that can help organizations attract and retain top talent. For instance, it allows employees to work from anywhere in the world. 

Alongside that, full-time employees are increasingly working as members of dispersed, global teams, communicating and coordinating via online software and apps. Technology plays a huge role in that. Meetings are held via Zoom, tasks are tracked in a project management tool,and schedules are developed and delivered to team members entirely online. 

Since the rise of remote work is likely to continue, project managers need to find ways to reduce friction and make their work more efficient. So the question to ask yourself is: can you improve your projects by bringing on freelancers or remote workers? If the answer is yes, don't hold back because of technology complications — the right tech exists to support you.

2. An increased dependency on project management tools

Project management has always been a tool for carrying out goals and managing risk. Over the years, however, its scope has broadened to encompass a wide range of activities and initiatives. 

Project management tools help organizations execute their strategy but they can also be used to manage the portfolio and the various tasks related to that strategy. Doing so will help them make more informed decisions and improve their organizations' progress on key goals while providing more value

There are external project management trends affecting our dependence on these tools too. As the world changes due to the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, project management will be affected by the need to collect and analyze vast amounts of data. Exactly how this will play out is difficult to predict but most experts agree that it will be unavoidable.

3. A focus on enhanced collaboration

The true digital transformation of project management should be complete by the end of 2022. We’re referring to relying on online tools for collaboration and coordination between teams, and not just complex back-and-forth email exchanges. 

New remote, hybrid, and flexible working options allow employees to work wherever they want, while employers benefit from the higher quality output of their workers. Despite the advantages of distributed teams, it can be very challenging to promote collaboration among the employees. 

In an effort to solve this issue, many companies have started implementing online project management tools. For example, some teams use multimedia conferencing so that remote workers can still meet and communicate with their in-house counterparts. Others use project management software such as Wrike to plan, schedule, and monitor progress across all active initiatives. 

No matter which tools you choose to use in 2022, one thing is clear: learning how to work well with others despite physical barriers will continue to be essential as we continue to deal with the global pandemic. 

4. Understanding different types of soft skills

Project managers typically need a certain level of expertise in various areas of operations in order to be successful in their roles. However, without the right combination of soft skills, they may not be able to effectively manage people and produce the best results. 

First and foremost, the ability to communicate expectations and work well with all parties involved is very important. This is why soft skills such as empathy, decision-making, and leadership are critical to a project's success. A project manager who has these abilities plays a critical role in improving the entire team’s performance as both a model for behavior and setting the tone for workplace culture. 

Because at the end of the day, the project manager will determine the level of cooperation between the team members until the project is finished. 

Wondering how to stay ahead of the curve and improve your own soft skills? Here are some tips to practice: 

  • Don’t make assumptions about what others are thinking and feeling. Encourage discussion and always get important project details in writing. 
  • Encourage employees to be themselves, contribute to project planning, and express their personalities. 
  • Connect on a deeper level with individual team members by asking questions about their life outside of work. 
  • Learn how to properly apologize and resolve an argument for yourself and for others. 
  • Be open to feedback. You can always learn and improve. 

5. Emphasis on avoiding physical and mental stress

In 2022, we predict you'll be more challenged by employee development than employee retention, requiring your new team members to settle in faster with optimized training programs and work delegated to new team members sooner. Avoiding physical and mental stress will be a large part of keeping employees happy, healthy, and on your team. 

You may not realize it but there are a lot of ways you can make work smoother for your entire team. Here’s how: 

  • Set clear expectations with goals and deadlines
    This method would allow your team members to focus on the things that they're good at and not on the things that they're not good at. It would also prevent them from accidentally repeating the same exercises or processes.
  • Offer schedule flexibility
    Everyone wants to work more flexible hours. This is why it is important to allow your team members to work without being monitored often. They can only complete their work once specific deadlines have been met. Address issues, if they ever come up, and focus on making work easier for everyone involved. You can also provide more freedom in terms of where employees can work from. Offer at least one work from home day per week or month. Or, if your employees are local and have been entirely remote, give them a desk to come in and work from if they ever need it. 
  • Make fitness part of workplace culture
    Your staff members should take time to exercise. Some ways to ensure this include offering some assistance through onsite yoga classes, walking meetings, or even small activities such as a group stretching session every morning. 
  • Offer more praise than criticism
    Great managers recognize the efforts of their team members. They can either congratulate them on a great job in private or make a small announcement about their achievements during a weekly meeting. Even a small acknowledgment of someone’s hard work can make a big difference in how they feel about the project so far. 

6. A continued concentration on Agile methodology

Agile development is a set of principles that enables developers to get started with projects without having to learn how to manage traditional tasks and processes. With Agile, teams can easily break down a project into multiple stages, allowing them to manage the work seamlessly. It also allows them to collaborate more effectively with project stakeholders.

Not only is it more adaptable—a must now that we’re seeing a renewed importance on remote work flexibility and increased attention on how we collaborate—but it’s also completely customizable. 

How Wrike will help with project management in 2022

Wrike is a project management tool built to bring teams into the future of work with all the support they need to get ahead of new project management trends. That includes managing complex project phases, communicating across teams and departments, and collaborating seamlessly. 

  • Managing complex project phases
    Complex projects require a phased approach to ensure they meet expectations and budgets. They also require a team effort to identify and understand the various dependencies that could affect the project's success. The Complex Project With Phases template by Wrike simplifies the management of large, complex projects. It features a variety of predefined phases and tasks, and it can be viewed in the project chart view.
  • Communicating across teams and departments
    Communication is a vital component of a successful project, especially when juggling hybrid and remote teams. Without a good communication plan, it’s easy for misunderstandings to happen between the teams and departments. This template will help you build a consistent cadence for communicating with the team and stakeholders. Use it to create a project schedule to keep track of all the updates that are needed by each stakeholder.
  • Collaborating with everyone involved
    With more people working remotely, the need for effective collaboration tools is more important than ever. The good news is that thanks to Wrike, teams can work seamlessly from anywhere.

Use Wrike to create a digital workspace that's organized and secure in the cloud. Our project management platform is ideal for securely storing all your files and details with individualized permission settings. 

Teams can work more effectively with others through Wrike’s custom-field request forms and tools. Wrike’s tools will also help you cut down on emails and make suggestions in real time.

Get a jump-start on your 2022 project management with Wrike’s two-week free trial