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Top 6 Project Management Trends for 2021

Volume 1, 2020

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What will happen to project management in 2021? The article describes the professional opinion of Anton Radev, Managing Director of Project Management Academy Ltd (PMA).

Top 6 Project Management Trends for 2021 by Anton Radev

Undoubtedly, project management activities change with each passing year due to the transformation not only of the industries but also of the whole professional community. We will look for an answer to this question, which excites many experts in the field.

"Project management was a relatively static discipline, but this is no longer the case", Anton Radev says and shares his forecasts for the next year. Here are his top 6 project management trends for 2021.

Top 6 Project Management Trends for 2021 by Anton Radev

1. Increase of remote project managers and expansion of virtual teams

The negative global situation related to COVID-19 is not the only reason for this trend. In the last few years, more and more organizations have focused their energy on geographically distributed teams in different areas of the world.

Many people believe that organizations use this approach to reduce costs by recruiting staff from lower-paid locations in general. The truth is that many production activities require local management. Many organizations have branches in multiple countries. The presence of the project manager on site was proven a long time ago as an effective approach.

2. Increase of Agile project management practices

The implementation of Agile practices such as Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming in the development processes is increasingly practiced not only because of the proven ease of operation of these methodologies.

The newly established Agile project management title "BVOP Certified Project Manager" created by "Business Value-Oriented Principles ltd", incorporates many modern trends, practices, and systems. The new management teaching combines business principles based on the Japanese Kaizen philosophy, Lean thinking, and MVP.

Eastern production principles have greatly supported Western governance models. The Agile philosophy is not just preferred by many professionals but also provides multiple approaches and shares ideas for optimizing resources and time.

3. More technically literate project managers

Modern product development largely involves technology and various software applications. Project management of high-tech processes requires technical competence. Understanding what the teams are doing is essential to the success of the project. The Scrum Product Owner role, for example, is now considered to be (by some people) the equivalent of a project manager. Many organizations and teams hire a Product Owner who is technically literate to lead product development optimally. 

4. Project managers located on the client's premises

It is no longer uncommon for the project manager to be placed next to the client literally. I had such experience and worked for an organization that accommodated me directly in the client's office, which turned out to be an excellent approach. Productivity and efficiency were high. My role was not only a project manager, but I also combined product management functions, which leads me to the next topic.

5. Mixed management roles

Modern project management in actual practice is no longer what it was years ago and what is taught at universities or in the traditional obsolete teachings. Creating products requires many and completely different skills from those needed for project management.

BVOP, for example, included in its Product management principles many recommendations borrowed from user research practices, design, and UX fields. Knowledge of design and user behavior combined with technical and development skills are invaluable assets. 

I started my career as a web designer, tried to do graphic design as well, then worked for years as a Front-end developer. I studied UI / UX principles. When I need it, I do Back-end development myself to practice. I can predict the work of most technical teams developing software products. I know the teams’ problems in depth and at the same time, I am aware of the needs of the business.

I give myself as an example because my career history describes the sought-after professionals today. It is already difficult for me to say (regarding software projects) what is project management or product management because for me these two disciplines and professions overlap. I have talked to many directors of companies whose HR departments are recruiting. These directors also had difficulty defining roles.

6. Decentralized project management continues

This trend emerged in 2016, but in 2021 the decentralization of project management will progress, which isn't necessarily something negative. I do not want to go into detail on the subject, but instead, I want to give some advice to the whole management community. Be collaborative, and never forget that sharing knowledge and having common goals are the most important things not only for the business but also for you. Be erudite managers with wise priorities.

What is project management after all?

Let us give a short explanation of the topic for the newcomers.

The main challenge in project management is to achieve all project objectives within the given constraints. Each project usually requires documentation created at the beginning of the development process. The main limitations of project management are scope, time, quality, and budget. An even more ambitious challenge is to optimize the allocation of the necessary resources and use it to achieve predetermined goals.

The goal of project management

The goal of project management is to create a complete project that meets the client's goals. In many cases, the mission of the project manager is to shape and understand the client's ideas and then to meet their expectations. Once the client's goals are identified, they will be the starting point for all decisions made by other project participants - project managers, designers, architects, consultants, contractors, subcontractors, etc.

The Agile thinking

At the same time, Agile thinking distances itself from the mentioned project variables and focuses only on productivity and results that must fully satisfy end users. For me, the combination of these two concepts is the supreme thinking in project management.

About the author

Anton Radev, Senior Writer at Business Value-Oriented Principles

Anton Radev is the founder of Project Management Academy Ltd (PMA), author of books, numerous publications in the field of design, usability, project management, and many others. Anton started his career as a web designer, then worked as a software developer and later became a professional product manager. With over 10 certificates and 20 courses for the last decade, he is defined as a supporter of continuous self-improvement and professional and personal development. By participating in over 70 successful projects over the last 15 years, Anton Radev has proven his professionalism and today teaches his professional skills to many young and ambitious students in the field of project management, Scrum, and product management.

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