Project management is changing; here’s how businesses can stay on top

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Aarzu Khan
A full-time data scientists and a part-time industry analyst; still learning power of effective presentation and firm believer of the thought "Numbers are always magical". Love to be in the network of people who 'know' how to respect their time and keep others engaged in meaningful activities.

Project management isn’t what it used to be. Every year, the project management landscape is changing and pivoting, and if businesses want to succeed in today’s business world, proper project management techniques are necessary.

With major advancements in today’s technology, there are tighter deadlines, more pressure for innovation, and increasing reliance on creatives who have project management know-how. Long gone are the days where managing projects was delegated to, well, management. Today, it’s a much more elaborate, collaborative, and multi-faceted process.

According to a report published by the Project Management Institute, companies lost $120,000 for every $1 million spent when projects were mismanaged. The fact is, project management is changing. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the curve:

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Project Management of the Past

The silo approach. The silo approach is when project leaders or managers keep information to themselves, rather than sharing them across different departments. With this method, there will always be people who are in the dark about what’s going on. For example, graphic designers aren’t sure what’s going on with IT, and marketers aren’t connected with sales. This is when departments are all given jobs, and those jobs are managed by upper management, who holds all the information closely. Unfortunately, this approach is still used in many businesses today.

Micromanaging project management. Today, micromanagement is a toxic wasteland in the professional world. In fact, several studies have been conducted to prove just how harmful micromanaging is in the business world, and especially for project management.

Micromanagement makes your staff feel unable to make even the most simple decisions on their own, can lead to a high employee turnover (which further stalls development), and have a negative impact on employee relationships.

Improper communication. In addition to the silo approach, there wasn’t always a workable communications system in place. You should have a communications platform like Slack that makes it easy to not only communicate progress but easily view changes in the project.

Project Management Strategies of Today

Mobile movements. Project management is much more mobile than it used to be. No longer is it necessary to rely on paperwork and phone calls to communicate the status of a project. And no longer are staff required to sit at their desks to effectively manage a project. Employees can work remotely and take advantage of comprehensive mobile dashboards.

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Management in the cloud. Cloud-based project management software is another key differentiator. Terminal-based software is a thing of the past. Now, project managers have the choice between dozens of viable, advanced project management software with dozens of complex functionalities and features that streamline your processes. And even better: access it from anywhere.

There are new career roles. Project management has become such a staple in today’s business world, that there are whole positions dedicated to it.

Utilizing the right methodologies. There are four main methodologies used today, each with their own approach to handling a project: Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, and Scrum. Waterfall is for projects that can be best completed in a linear fashion; Agile focuses on simultaneous workflows; Kanban revolves around process movements, and Scrum is all about getting more work done quicker.

Higher level of collaboration. Project management is all about working with others to reach your goals. While previous methods were rigid and highly focused on upper management decision-making, today it’s much more collaborative. Teams make decisions in an environment that keeps everyone on the same page—regardless of departments.

Do more with less. This is the motto for the modern project manager, who juggles multiple tools to handle mapping, tracking, and timelines of various projects.

Embody the project manager role (or know how to see it others). The modern PMs of today embody many traits that are crucial to their success in the role. Not only are they leaders, but are adaptable, motivational, and highly observant.

Staying On Top In Project Management Today

Build relationships. As previously mentioned, today’s project management stems from a deep, ground-up understanding of not just your project, but your team, too. Building relationships help ensure productivity and ensure everyone stays on the same page. There’s no room for micromanaging here, which can create a bottleneck in your project that stalls efficiency and productivity.

Conduct reviews. As a project manager or business owner, it can be difficult to gauge the success of high-level status of a project without speaking with other team members consistently. Talk to your team and collect feedback on how you can make improvements, especially when you aren’t hitting milestones.

Choosing the right methodology. As previously mentioned, there are four primary methods for project management. However, it’s crucial that you choose the right one. The methodology you use should align with the project you’re working on. Otherwise, managing it can quickly become chaotic. Think of your project management software as a vehicle, and the methodology you use as the GPS.

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