Project management is a skill that will never become outdated. Regardless of how much workplace culture has changed over the years, organizations still need their tasks managed efficiently, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
However, advancements in management technology, shifts in occupational culture, and deeper insight into psychology in the workplace have effectively changed the way project management is executed.
To maximize the efficiency of your tasks, it’s important to stay current with the latest trends in the industry. Want to learn more? Have a look at these top five project management buzzwords to know.
1. Rolling-Wave Planning
Rolling-wave planning streamlines the project management process by adopting a strategic, less-is-more approach. The rolling-wave planning method helps project managers break up big, potentially overwhelming projects into bite-sized chunks that are easier to manage. Instead of presenting one detailed plan at the beginning of a project, the rolling-wave method breaks up the assignment into a series of waves or phases, essentially removing the fluff and helping managers and team members focus only on information that’s relevant for that phase of the project.
Some of the main benefits of this strategy include:
- Decreasing speculation and uncertainty by prioritizing short-term goals over the long-term objective.
- Added flexibility and scalability. Plans are built over time as the project advances, rather than created at the beginning of the project.
- Less confusion and uncertainty as excessive and often unnecessary information is removed from detailed project plans.
2. Agile and Lean
While the concepts of Lean and Agile have taken the workplace by storm over the past few years, they’ve been around for quite some time. One of the main reasons why these two principles have become so popular is because they help maximize engagement among collaborators, while also making every team member feel empowered and valued.
The goal of Lean and Agile is simple: Maximize efficiency and quality of work without increasing one’s workload. This is achieved by two core components, the last planner rule and transparency.
- The last planner rule states that everyone who works on a project should help plan it.
- Transparency ensures that the workflow is visible to everyone, making it easier to measure progress and create action plans.
Overall, adopting a Lean and Agile approach is great for increasing collaboration and preventing wasted time and resources.
Until recently, most project-management solutions only looked at the following three components:
- Reducing cost and resource expenditure
- Maximizing scheduling and working within time constraints
- Maintaining scope and excellent quality of work
While all important, it’s now believed that the theoretical framework of project management shouldn’t be reduced to these three elements. By doing such, project management is viewed as a mechanical, simplistic system that can be optimized with a few tweaks. In reality, good project management is much more complex, especially when you factor in the opinions, feelings, and emotions of team members and stakeholders.
For this reason, the philosophy behind project management is moving in a different direction. Instead of focusing on how to tweak projects, it looks at how to get the most out of perceived customer value. This is known as the customer-centric approach, a method that defines success as maximizing stakeholder (aka, the “customer”) satisfaction. After all, the stakeholders are the ones who define what makes a project successful. Some may believe that the three components listed above determine whether a project is successful, while others may have different criteria.
Managing projects in a customer-centric manner allows you to collaborate more effectively with stakeholders so that you know what they value most in a project, increasing your likelihood of success as a result. You can achieve this by making stakeholders a part of your team and inviting them to take part in the decision-making process, from start to finish. Not only does this level of collaboration help make projects more successful, it can also add an extra level of transparency to your project management process that ensures everyone involved is on the same page.
4. Activity Streaming
Advancements in project management technology make it easier to share information without the need for face-to-face collaboration. Using a project management solution that offers Activity Streams makes it possible to enjoy the benefits of real-world communication in a virtual environment. This is because Activity Streams create transparency between projects and tasks, making it easier for everyone to monitor the progress of assignments and pinpoint areas where tasks become stuck and need a little extra assistance. What’s more, Activity Streams also broaden the channel of communication, creating a seamless virtual environment where collaboration and problem-solving go hand in hand.
5. Social Engagement
Over the past decade, scientists have learned more about the mind and human behavior than they have over the previous millennium. Like a second Age of Enlightenment, this scientific revolution has given deeper insight into how we learn, what motivates us, and how to build high-performance teams from the ground up. This scientific movement has also lead to a number of paradigm shifts in the workplace, including the following ideas:
- Organizations exist to provide value for human relationships.
- Humans are inherently attracted to collaboration.
- People are born with a desire to help, share resources, and belong to a group.
- Effective management aims to shape behavior; without this, projects are destined to fail.
Ultimately, social engagement is important for continuing that exploration of human nature, in a project management setting and outside the workplace. By combining behavioral psychology and neuroscience with technology, organizations can learn how to build important occupational relationships that enhance productivity, teamwork, and problem-solving.
As you can see, project management is moving away from traditional viewpoints to embrace changes in the workplace and society at large. In order for organizations to optimize their productivity and success, it’s important to be mindful of these changes and adapt accordingly, and that starts by adopting a humanistic approach to management that aims to build relationships with the individual, whether they’re team members or stakeholders.