Project management, like all industries, is evolving more rapidly with every passing year. We live in a digital age, with new technologies, trends, and best practices continually being introduced to the market. That’s not to mention the events of the past two years, which have brought about many changes to how we work, from economic shifts to the mainstream acceptance of hybrid working.
But what do these changes mean for those in the project management profession?
Let’s take a look at seven trends we predict will dominate the project management industry in 2023 and beyond.
7 project management predictions for 2023
Here are seven trends businesses looking to maintain an edge on the competitive landscape and move with the times will be monitoring and adopting in 2023.
1. Continued rise of AI and automation
It’s no surprise that AI is a huge trend for 2023; AI and machine learning have been on everyone’s lips for years, yet we are nowhere close to uncovering their full potential.
We’ve already seen how AI has changed our lives, with personalized content and facial recognition software now considered norms by many audiences. In fact, the AI industry is expected to be valued at $190bn by 2025.
In project management, AI optimizes business processes by taking the guesswork out of decision-making while automation streamlines workflow management. Together, these intelligent solutions can support project managers by:
- Producing intelligent analysis of interactions and data, including risk assessments
- Automating manual tasks and processes
- Predicting resourcing bottlenecks
- Estimating overrun
Any good project management tool uses AI (we do at Forecast). For project managers, AI-powered tools mean increased productivity and consistency, less time spent on repetitive tasks, and more time to focus on complicated challenges that require human input.
2. Shift to hybrid approaches
While Scrum is still one of the most popular approaches to project management, more and more teams are adopting hybrid approaches.
No two projects, teams, or customers are the same, so it’s understandable that experienced project managers are beginning to tailor their approaches to specific contexts. Scrumban, for example, combines parts of Scrum and Kanban to allow a project to be simultaneously stable and dynamic. Plus, a combined Agile-Waterfall approach is becoming popular in many agencies, allowing scope, cost, and schedule to be better managed while reaping the benefits of Agile’s flexibility.
Formal support on how to implement hybrid approaches can be challenging to find, but the PMBOK® Guide has put a focus on tailoring in its most recent release, guiding project managers on how to flex their approaches depending on their project and environment.
3. PSA tools for optimized resource management
Resource management is increasingly considered to be integral to business success rather than a boring back-end component. That means more money is being directed toward optimizing resource management.
While Excel spreadsheets were once popular for planning and managing resources, modern technology offers many solutions that are highly efficient, less prone to error, and can integrate with other tools.
Professional Services Automation (PSA) applications, such as Forecast, integrate resource management with time tracking and financial management tools to help automate and optimize resource management.
4. Focus on data and analytics
The popularity of AI and machine learning has played an important role in the increased value placed on data and analytics. Project management is largely focused on numbers, from project spend to lead times. Having a good view of what activities influence those data points negatively or positively can help businesses optimize functions across departments and drive higher profit margins.
More project management and PSA tools prioritize data visualization, offering project managers an easy-to-digest insight into project health. At a business level, increased data visibility means powerful insights that reveal what has worked in the past, where optimizations need to be made, and where opportunities to scale lie.
5. Rise in remote, flexible, and digital-only teams
Remote working is no longer a trend but a mainstay in the modern working world. Remote workers are nothing new, but a trend we can expect to gather momentum in 2023 is the rise of 100% remote teams.
Remote teams can include offshore development teams, freelancers, and work-from-home teams, with colleagues often collaborating across multiple time zones.
Managing such a team is no easy feat. Selecting the right tools that support collaboration, future planning, flexibility, and secure remote access to documentation and software is essential.
6. Putting people front and center
People are at the heart of everything they do. When we say ‘end users,’ we mean people who use our products and services, and when we say ‘teams,’ we mean the selection of hard-working individuals that get our projects over the line.
So, why do so many processes and tools fail to consider the needs and expectations of the very real people who use them?
In project management, this doesn’t only mean prioritizing our end users' and colleagues' needs. In 2023, more team leaders are expected to emphasize empathy, trust, and other soft skills, such as emotional intelligence. Encouraging leaders to put their people front and center will create more accepting work environments, support collaboration between team members, and enhance customer experiences.
7. Shifting roles for PMs and PMOs
With technological intelligence rivaling that of our best experts, the role and responsibilities of project management offices will look a little different in the future.
We expect to see project managers hand the task of putting together project plans and resource management over to intelligent software tools and take a step up on the strategy side of business operations. Instead of focusing on repetitive tasks, they will use their expertise to advise business leaders on process optimization and future product launches.
Change, while sometimes uncomfortable, is inevitable. It represents the future of a dynamic industry that sits at the intersection of technology and human connection.
Get started with Forecast today to ride the tide of change and make 2023 a great year.