Project Management trends you need to look out for in the year 2019

Organizations are rapidly progressing and are employing different techniques to match the needs of the volatile markets. Can Project Management methods help companies to adapt these changes? Are Project Management tools and techniques being updated to meet the needs of the organizations?

The answer would be, Of Course, YES! Project Management has been continually evolving and growing to meet the demands of the projects. Considering the project management field is diverse and is implemented across industries and lines of businesses, no single project management methodology can best fit all the projects. New methods, approaches, solutions, and tools are always maturing every year with modern techniques.

How can you stay updated with the changes and advancements in this field? Here we bring in to you a well-researched article that lists the Top 7 Project Management trends, the trends that are continuing from the previous year and the challenges Project Managers will face in 2019.

Top 7 Project Management Trends you need to know:

Staying updated with the key project management trends will help you be prepared for the future. These trends will also help you to evaluate and see how you can adopt or implement these to improve your efficiency at work. Below are the 7 popular trends every project manager should know:

  1. Project managers creating value at work

  2. Design Thinking

  3. Improving the internal employee’s skills

  4. Virtual teams

  5. Hybrid approach for large scale projects

  6. Emotional Intelligence as a fundamental criterion for a project manager

  7. Artificial Intelligence

Project managers creating value at work:


Image Source: Giphy

What is Project Management? Some say it as caring for a project that has a definite beginning and end. However, this definition is changing. In the future, the role of the Project Manager will not be the same as it is now. They may find themselves taking up more varied responsibilities in an organization. Project managers will prove themselves more valuable to the company.

Companies are considering Project Manager for a permanent organizational or managerial role, including strategizing for the company and even applying their leadership and managerial skills outside of a single project.

The structure of the organizations is not in the same way as in the past. They do not use the same strict roles and hierarchy. They are looking to share the responsibilities of middle-management, and Project Managers are in an excellent position to assist. A PM  is equipped with organizational skills that can support the company. (S)He will then contribute more to the value of the company. Thus creating and contributing greater value to an organization.

Design Thinking:

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Image Source: Giphy

Another important skill, which we would witness in project managers, going forward is Design Thinking. Organizations, & hence project managers, often deal with projects related to:

  • Developing new products,

  • Designing new processes or

  • Developing new solutions to atypical problems.

Project management often requires problem-solving. To solve a problem, the Project Manager will design a new product, solution or workflow. The goal is to make a change for the better. The ability to create is a handy and necessary tool for Project Managers. It allows them to use creativity and innovation to find solutions.

  • Provide new requirements

  • Finding creative ways to meet these requirements

  • Understand customer’s and market’s needs

  • Find out the systematic solutions to atypical issues

A Project manager who can use innovation and creativity is an asset to the company. They can react with flexibility to a delay or problem. They remove the boundaries applied to their role in the past. They can take on projects of various scales and complexities. Design bespoke solutions for each.

Improving each employee’s capability & skills:

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Image Source: Giphy

As in the past, the customer remains the priority. But a growing number of companies will focus on improving the skills of their employees. They will invest in training personnel with the goal of speeding up the progress of the organization as a whole. They will undoubtedly include Project Managers with this.

Companies will want to improve the skills of their Project Managers as it means more than Project Management. They could learn more about  Finance or management of Human Resources and could learn to improve products. Organizations will invest in the up-skilling of teams and individuals. The training will need to be of high quality. The company relies on this to maintain a high level of Project management expected in 2019.

Virtual teams:

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Image Source: Giphy

Companies may need many skills for a Project Management Office. They can find workers with these skills in many places. Thanks to technology, these workers do not need to be in the same physical location. They can find these skilled workers anywhere in the world with the help of Virtual Teams.

Virtual communication platforms are more stable than at any time before which means that individuals can work in different locations in the world or even in different time zones. It has many benefits as there will be no more traveling, logistic and other administrative costs. Organizations realize this potential. They are leveraging the power of these skills in the form of remote workers and teams. While this is not new to 2019, expect an explosion in their use.

Hybrid approach for large scale projects:

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Image Source: Giphy

The Project Manager of 2019 is going to face projects of dizzying complexity as they are no longer completed using traditional methods. Industries will expect the Project Manager of 2019 to be dynamic and flexible. As market forces change, so will the shape of the project. As consumer expectations change so will the direction of the project. It is likely that there will be no “one size fits all” solutions to projects in 2019.

Mature project management professionals are dynamic, not rigid. Flexible but consistent. They need to be able to combine traditional methods with new approaches. They will need to know when to apply the old and when to implement the new. To be able to read the situation and select the method based on the value it will create for the company.

Is the job of the Project Manager becoming more complex? Yes. But their skills also increase their value to the company and ensure a better product.

Emotional Intelligence as a fundamental criterion for a project manager:

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Image Source: Giphy

Emotional Intelligence is becoming more significant for Project Managers. But what is it?

People with Emotional-intelligence display unique qualities. They get the best out of themselves and others because they can understand and discipline themselves. They know how they and their work affects others. They have excellent social skills and can motivate others. They display empathy and kindness.

Emotional intelligence encourages cooperation in both teams and between individuals as they avoid a single-minded approach. They see the bigger picture and know that their actions impact others. They work along with others to achieve a more successful final product.

This is sometimes seen as a "soft-skill." It can be more important than understanding text on a computer screen.

A Project Manager may have strong organization skills. But Organizers and recruiters now value Emotional-intelligence highly. They will now look for Project Managers with this skill set.

Artificial Intelligence:

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Image Source: Giphy

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning were the major trends of 2018. They will increase their dominance during 2019.

Will Project Managers use Artificial intelligence?

Yes. Project Managers will use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Project managers need to make accurate decisions. AI will help them to do this. As AI technology improves, so will their predictions. The more precise their predictions, the more accurate the decisions.

Automation is becoming very important to businesses as it works in cooperation with AI. Industries will build systems using Automation. Artificial intelligence will use the data from these systems to make decisions which means that data-logic will make the decisions. Human intuition will be less vital.

These changes will affect Project Management. AI and Machine Learning will provide Project Managers with relevant information. They will be able to predict problems before they arise which will give them a big advantage. They will solve problems with higher speed and accuracy.

Which previous trends are likely to continue in 2019?

Traditional project management methods have been very successful. They have led to permanent adoption by organizations. What are some of these trends?

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for better productivity & decision-making.

AI has made incredible progress during the last two years. This progress will continue during the next 12 months as large corporations already use AI technologies. The industry will make even greater use of them. They will then filter down to smaller organizations affecting our daily lives.

Project Managers will use Artificial Intelligence to a more significant effect in 2019. Particularly their ability to predict future patterns based on today's data.

2. Digitization and real-time updates.

Digitization means making all data available in electronic form.  This complete data is essential to industries today. Data gives decision makers the power to make better decisions. During 2019 accurate data will become even more critical. Organizations will mainly use this data to make early decisions. They know that initial choices will give them a significant advantage especially if they can make these decisions before their competitors.

How will this data affect Project Managers? Project management software needs accurate data. This data equips the Project Manager with tools and allows them to understand projects better. Thanks to this data, they can plan projects well. They can predict the success of the changes they make. They can design workflows that will benefit production and allows them to make accurate decisions in complex projects.


Image Source: PMI research report 2018

Figure: Impact of digital transformation on project work (for the last 5 years)

3. Use of Kanban boards in agile projects.

Kanban is now famous as a project management technique because of its extensive use in agile projects. Kanban boards will be more and more popular as their use in various types of projects becomes known. Kanban boards show in real-time the current workload. They display the current work-in-progress. They can also explain where projects are experiencing delays. Kanban Boards provide a status update of projects at a glance. These are then shared with managers and team leaders. It is an excellent method of communication.

Apart from the above trends, there are some trends, which will continue for the upcoming years:

1. Emphasis on Emotional Intelligence.

Many books and seminars explain the importance of Emotional intelligence. During 2019, knowing this theory will not be necessary. But, the application of this knowledge will be essential. Workers can learn Project Management methods at a school. However, individuals need to concentrate more on themselves to develop emotional skills. Workers who can do this contribute better to teamwork. They get the best out of their fellow-workers. They support others during projects.

2. Combination of traditional & agile approach as a hybrid method

The workplace of 2019 will require them to show a flexible approach. This will need to apply or blend more than one path. Combination of predictive and adaptive approach in projects would be essential to accomplish the project deliverables. Project Managers who can implement more than one method will increase their value to a company. It leaves them with the decision to apply the best-suited result-oriented approach at any point in the project.


Image Source: PMI report, 2018

Figure: Percentage of the projects completed within researched global organizations (about 4455) in the past 12 months using the different types of approaches

The figure shows a high adaption rate for Agile & Hybrid approaches in the projects.

3. Remote Team Culture

The successful acquisition and employment of remote teams is key to any project. It is one of the most significant processes in current project management.

To execute a successful project, organizations need efforts from their skilled teams. These project teams can integrate for the project irrespective of their location of work. Virtual team concept binds these team members from a remote location. Thus, giving them full flexibility of doing the job by sitting at their location of preference.

What challenges will Project Managers Face in 2019?

  1. Shift to Enterprise PMO (Project Management Offices) for all organizations

  2. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for better productivity and decision making

  3. Project managers with Emotional Intelligence capabilities

  4. Usage of wearable technology to understand human activities

  5. Combination of traditional and agile approaches

  6. Effective resource management

  7. An increasing culture of remote project teams

  8. Need for digitization and accurate data

  9. Use of techniques like Kanban Boards in Project Management

  10. Ensuring cybersecurity

Project management is changing to meet the challenges of 2019 which will lead to more significant opportunities and expansion for businesses. Companies will continue to use current Project Management methods for years despite the impact of recent industrial, commercial and technological, changes. They need to be able to make accurate decisions and strategies.


Project management trends are driven by business trends. And hence, it is important to align the project strategy to current and new project trends.

Finally, I would like to mention again that project management is now on the way to maturity. More and more organizations are adopting project management principles. Past successes have been seen and proven by corporates in projects by applying PM principles.

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About Author
Ankit Rastogi