There is a concept known as mass media convergence. It’s a simple enough concept to wrap your head around. It describes the phenomenon of various kinds of media becoming available over a single platform. It has been happening for an extended period of time since the Industrial Revolution but it really picked up pace after internet penetration rose and mobile technology became commonly available in the world. What does this have to do with project management trends? Bear with us.
The Relationship between Project Management Trends and Mass Media Convergence
The period from the Industrial Revolution till now has been dubbed Information Revolution. The reason why this term is used is to denote how socioeconomic and political systems have switched from production centric mind-sets to information centric mind-sets. It is this switch that has caused mass media convergence. However, this switch has happened numerous times on a smaller scale as well.
In fact, it is still happening. The reason why we brought up mass media convergence is that you will see a parallel of sorts between it and the direction in which project management is heading. You see, project management trends will reveal that the business world is moving towards collation, aggregation, integration, or platform based convergence!
Here are top 5 project management trends that you can expect to see developing throughout 2016.
Project Management Trend #1: Big Data, Big Data, and More Big Data
Remember when we used the term Information Revolution? Well, Information Revolution in the business world coupled with increased internet penetration has resulted in Big Data becoming a central theme in most countries and industries.
It’s easy to define Big Data. In fact, its definition will show you its connection to the Information Revolution as well as its relevance to managing projects for any business. Big Data can be defined as a large set of data that can be analysed and evaluated to reveal patterns, trends, and themes that will be relevant to a business or project.
Businesses across industries and countries have increasingly started approaching their projects from the perspective of Big Data. Why has Big Data become the most prevalent project management trend? The answer is that Big Data fundamentally improves the efficiency of a business or team.
By using Big Data, a team can be sure that the direction they are working towards is the right one and that they don’t have to come back to refurbish everything to suit patterns and demands that they didn’t see earlier. Spending a little time, effort, or resources on Big Data can negate the need to backtrack and retrace the previous steps.
Take a marketing team for example. How do they know how to position their products? Through Big Data. How will a manufacturing business know which elements of their product to focus on? Through Big Data. How will a business in which direction to diversify? Through Big Data. This is why Big Data is going to be such a big project management trend of 2016.
Project Management Trend #2: Digitisation Realisation
Nearly everything in the world is getting digitised. Everything is done on electronic items connected to the internet, these days. There is a whole name for this phenomenon – Internet of Things (IoT).
Thus, it is not surprising that most businesses are currently going through a phase of digitisation realisation with regard to how they formulate and implement strategies surrounding their specific projects.
In fact, there are a few businesses that have already gone through such a digitisation realisation. Even so, because the number of businesses going through this realisation is larger than the businesses that have already gone through the process, we can see this as a project management trend of 2016.
Basically, this trend is about businesses gradually moving away from conventional methods of strategizing and managing their projects to more digital methods. There are now web apps designed to help various stakeholders of a project contribute to the project simultaneously. Some businesses even have specialised web apps developed expressly for this purpose.
These web apps give professionals a common platform to work off of so that changes, modifications, and revisions become available to each stakeholder as and when it is done. Simultaneously, most businesses are also trying to reduce their use of paper so that their document storage is handled online, correspondences are online, and tracking is online.
Project Management Trend #3: Promote the Remote
With digitisation realisation has come the realisation that working through web based systems allows for employees to be based anywhere in the world. The direct effect of this is that businesses are moving away from conventional models of having employees in a single office. Employees are now spread all over the world in multiple offices and even working from their homes.
This is also allowing a significant reduction in operational costs for these businesses which is further pushing this project management trend. Finally, promoting remote contributions is also allowing the hiring of specialists for individual projects on a contractual basis as opposed to hiring full time employees.
Project Management Trend #4: Versatility over Flexibility
Wait a minute! Aren’t versatility and flexibility synonyms? Technically, they are not and when it comes to a team of professionals that has to handle a complex project, they definitely are not. Here’s something that should clear it for you.
Versatility leads to agility while flexibility leads adaptability. Agility and adaptability, like versatility and flexibility are different things. Agility allows a business or team of professionals to automatically respond to changing dynamics at the drop of a hat while flexibility allows the business to adapt to changing dynamics, albeit at a slower pace.
The key difference, therefore, is the speed with which the team of business responds to changes in the niche, sector, industry, or environment they are working in. Versatility, which relates to agility, was difficult to implement before digitisation, virtualisation, and remote accessibility because every stakeholder of a project had to be informed of their changed roles deliberately and one by one by the project leader or manager.
Now, because of these new elements of managing a project, individual stakeholders can respond to any changes quickly and directly because they see those changes developing from scratch and start readjusting from the very beginning.
Project Management Trend #5: Clients as Stakeholders
As is evident from the above, virtually every project management trend of 2016 will relate to virtualisation, digitisation, and remote connections. So, it isn’t surprising that clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, contractors, and individuals outside of an organisation becoming stakeholders in projects is amongst the few projected project management trends of 2016.
This project management trend is based entirely on the fact that businesses are choosing digital platforms for monitoring projects. For instance, if a project is on a digital platform, then it is easy for an organisation to bring in external stakeholders to contribute.
Effectively, when a project involves an organisation to work with another organisation in collaboration for a client, all the people involved can stay abreast of all developments at the same time. The benefits of such collaboration are such that we can expect more businesses to take advantage of such opportunities.