Project management is a field that intertwines through all industries, in all countries. As the business environment surrounding it changes, project management has to adapt. In 2018, there are five major trends for project management professionals to be aware of.

1. The migration to the EPMO model

An Enterprise Project Management Office (EMPO) is a more strategic project management office (PMO) that focuses on aligning all project, program, and portfolio activities with company-wide objectives. According to a 2017 Project Management Institute report, companies that have an established strategic Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) report that 38% more projects meet their original goals and business intentions, and 33% fewer projects fail. From startups to SMBs, through to large organizations, the need to align projects with the broader goals and visions will continue to pick up speed to improve project performance. The EPMO concept is typically associated with large organizations, but in 2018 and beyond, companies of all sizes and in all industries will choose to adopt the EPMO model to be project management champions instead of underperformers.

2. More startups will adopt formal project management and tools

With an increase in affordable web-based project management software and tools, startups will begin to use these solutions. Even the smallest of companies can leverage comprehensive and integrated solutions to meet their project needs as they grow. Formal project management practices and tools help level the playing field, reducing waste in already scarce resources and ambiguity in the linkage between projects and vision. In 2018, the adoption of formal project management processes and tools will continue to grow; helping to reduce the number of startups that end in failure due to squandered resources, wasted time and missed objectives.

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3. The increased use of analytics

Business intelligence and business analytics tools are a fast-growing industry, and these tools are rapidly becoming recognized as necessary instead of ‘nice to have’ tools. Project teams are recognizing that these tools enable them to more accurately pinpoint project trends, fastrack the ability to identify potential risks, and conduct complex scenario planning to improve project and team performance. These tools provide companies with valuable key performance indicator dashboarding that can be customized based on user needs. More companies will leverage the powerful capabilities of these tools in 2018 to keep projects moving in the right direction and gain insight to help improve the execution of future projects.

SEE: CES 2018: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

4. More remote teams, more millennials

Remote project management is rapidly increasing in popularity, both from an employer and employee perspective – especially with millennials. By 2020, millennials will make up half the global labor force, and by 2030, they’ll account for 75%. As millennials are quickly becoming the largest component of the workforce in North America, their interest in achieving a work-life balance is creating pressure on employers to offer remote or partially-remote working arrangements. Employers are also recognizing the various benefits of hiring remote workers, including a higher degree of employee satisfaction, a reduction in sick time, and reduced administrative or logistical overheads. The benefits for both sides will continue to create a shift towards remote project teams that use technology to bridge communication and collaboration gaps.

5. Recruiting for emotional intelligence

Self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation, and social skills are all hallmarks of emotional intelligence. According to OfficeTeam, a staffing agency and division of Robert Half, approximately 95% of HR managers and 99% of workers agree that strong emotional intelligence is an important factor when considering hiring. Project managers with this attribute create environments where team cohesion is higher, and this increases the chances of successful project outcomes. In 2018, expect that recruiters will look for applicants who exhibit emotional intelligence in addition to project management skill sets.

In 2018, all industries will continue to face increasing challenges and uncertainty. To meet these challenges, head-on companies need to consider embracing the EPMO model, adopting or expanding project management tools, leveraging analytics tools, and considering employees in remote locations – especially when looking for millennials.

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