How Covid Will Impact The Future of Project Management

Shubham Rajpara

Shubham Rajpara

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: September 1, 2021

Coronavirus has shaken the world. COVID-19 has changed how we function in the world as we know it. Every industry is forced to function differently — switching to remote work and telecommuting. 

It won’t be wrong to say that we have seen many businesses being shuttered down from the COVID-led economic instability. In the world of project management as well, the impact of COVID-19 has been disruptive. But not all disruptions are bad, are they? 

There has been a massive shift with the remote working, lockdown, and international travel restrictions, forcing managers and business leaders to ponder upon new ways of functioning. The collective answer of project managers to this has been one — Hyper-digitalization!

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COVID-led Hyper Digitalization in Project Management 

A report by McKinsey reveals that 85% of businesses have accelerated digitization due to COVID-19 as part of their effort to deal with the global pandemic.

With this digitalization, we can presume that the future of project management looks promising, whether it is implementing new technologies, upgrading systems, or refocusing the business infrastructure. Thus, the upcoming days are likely to redefine the project management industry as we know it.

Project management plays a vital role in a company’s success. So, have you ever wondered what exactly are the changes you can expect post-digitalization caused by COVID?

Well, that’s what we are here for! This article will walk through your answers, ascertaining how COVID will impact the project management future and how this impact has a positive undertone.

1. Project Managers to wear more than one hat.

In simple terms, if you want to survive in the industry, you have to keep up. And to do this effectively, you have to keep yourself more active and remain motivated to grasp the new skill set for – both the good of the business and for yourself as well.

When we struggle with coronavirus, learning and adapting new skills will become more critical for project managers than ever before, especially now that we find ourselves moving into the post-pandemic era.

There are mainly two reasons this pandemic will create a versatile batch of project managers.

  • Limited Staff and Volatile Employee Churn Rate –

    Businesses are laying off, hiring new employees, giving out work to outsource teams, employees are falling ill or have to take leaves to cater to their loved ones. Unfortunately, all these reasons make the boat shaky, and a project manager happens to be at the sails.

  • Need to be creative to survive –

    During the peaks of the outbreak, many businesses had to shut due to government-imposed lockdowns and to keep the revenue engine working, critical thinking and creativity were needed. The responsibility then falls in the laps of leaders like project managers and CXOs to pivot to a route that will keep the business alive. For instance, TentCraft, an American tent seller that made tents for concerts and events, pivoted to creating COVID testing centers.

Covid test centre

Project managers, therefore, must be able to identify and embrace various skill-attaining opportunities like soft skills, management skills, or technical skills.

2. Learning To Manage Remotely Placed Teams 

COVID-19 pandemic has only enhanced the implementation of flexible working arrangements, from increased productivity process to improved flexibility. Thus, it forces the industry into an unprecedented shift towards remote work.

A report from Forbes reveals that there are many benefits an organization can leverage for its employees with remote working. And this will most likely cause work from home to be adapted partially by all businesses, if not fully. However, project management has some challenges.

After all, remote working drastically changes the businesses used to function. It has made specific work-based processes more challenging to handle. More particularly, team collaboration, team building, and other project management tasks can be done better when all the team members are present at the office premises. Additionally, they can brainstorm their ideas with each other as well.

Therefore, the project manager will have to adopt new ways to encourage this same level of collaboration when their employees are not present on the floor. This will rely on communicating effectively with one another, which brings us to the next point.

3. Creating Effective Internal Communication Channels

There are various advantages we can leverage by opting for remote working. But communication is one of the significant drawbacks that every organization faces to remain streamline. Many employees fail to move forward for employee engagement activities without effective communication.

In order to keep your employee motivated during the pandemic and beyond, as a project manager, you have to ensure that effective communication channels are in place. Be active in asking to deploy and using various online communication, video conferencing, and other collaborative project management tools like:

  • Slack 
  • Trello
  • Google Meet
  • Zoom 
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets 
  • Asana
  • Monday, and more.

Furthermore, encourage your team members to use them frequently and not rely on other traditional methods. Having these tools will enhance productivity and project quality even when working together in the same space. 

4. Better data handling forever

Missing or unreliable data is one of the most significant issues that clients face. Each team works on various data to collect them on a different Excel sheet. Due to the lockdown, organizations have no other option than to centralize the information. Without using any centralized information system, there can no longer be proper project management.

To overcome this challenge, the project manager should use effective project management tools, allowing them to analyze data in real-time and track the progress of each project to ensure that everything goes as planned. This knack will ensure data safety, precision to deal with data, and ease of data access permanently. 

5. Better Adaptation To Technology

Every day, technology is evolving in this tech-savvy world. It has completely revolutionized the workplace and the way businesses used to function. When we go back in the past, probably 10 years, the idea of remote working would be impossible or utopian, yet here we are, thanks to technology. 

Artificial Intelligence has created a huge impact on how admin-based processes are run. Moreover, it saves considerable time when it comes to data management, scheduling, or tactical planning-focused tasks. Furthermore, with the rise of the internet, many companies are on the verge of utilizing cloud-based systems in project management.

You can easily streamline all tasks, such as data storage, server access, management systems, and Hr management, changing the internal working setup of many companies. However, there will be room for data breaching, effectively forcing project managers to hire employees equipped with technical skills to secure the company’s online data.

6. Resorting to A Hybrid Management Approach

When you look back, project managers would typically work on all their projects using a single project management-based approach.

In the current scenario, everything has changed. Project managers have become more flexible in adapting the ‘hybrid approaches’ for their specific projects that consist of various alternative project management methodologies.

This trend is here to stay for many years to come. Here is some proof of how hybrid project management techniques work better than their alternatives. Director of Technology PMO at T-Mobile, Lauri Bingham, responsible for managing over $100M across a diverse, high-profile portfolio of national projects and programs, says that over a third of her projects are run on Hybrid.

Place, a freelancer hosting startup gathering people across three continents, reported 25% saved on product delivery time and 18% fewer bugs after switching from Waterfall to Hybrid. It helped them to better pinpoint the critical development path and still complete tasks in sprints.

7. Adequate Planning for Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation has now become more important than ever in project management. This is due to the potential of new and evolving risks such as lockdown measures or virus transmission peaks means project managers must create comprehensive contingency plans that are frequently reviewed and updated.

The pandemic will force project managers to heighten the bar for risk mitigation too high, which will also help them in the future. 

8. Working With Uncertainty in Cash Flow

The burden of an unstable economy due to the virus results in limited cash flow for project managers in the COVID and also the post-COVID world. To tackle this, project managers will be supposed to adapt to volatile and tight budgets to the best of their capacity. The risk of virus outbreaks poses substantial cost implications. 

For instance, health and safety protocols for a worker infected with the virus could lead to workplace closures and enhanced cleaning measures, both resulting in major cost implications for an organization.

Wrapping Up

We can surely state that the pandemic may have brought catastrophe to the project management industry, but it has brought various opportunities to pause, reflect, and rethink strategies going forward.

Rather than using the outdated working model and methodologies, now is the right time to accept the bright future, embracing the trends likely to shape the industry in the coming months or years.

Project Managers can help businesses survive in the competition and even thrive in this pandemic if they implement technological-based systems, remote working approaches, get accustomed to volatility, learn new skills, and be creative. 

One of the most effective steps to take is deploying project management software to get started with a digital approach to project management. Find the best paid and free project management software at softwaresuggest.com

Shubham Rajpara
"Shubham Rajpara is a blogger for IT companies and creative agencies who writes extensively on AI, ML, NLP, Big Data, IoT, Blockchain, and all things Sales & Marketing. He is an aspiring clinical psychologist, who also loves to cook, and do poetry. Reach him out at shubhamrajpara1995efilwen@gmail.com."

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