PMO Trends 2021
I think you’ll agree that 2020 has been a very strange year. In some respects, it never really got started. In others, it’s been incredibly busy and challenging for so many people. We’ve seen changes in how we’ve been working over the past months, and in how we engage with clients too.
Many things feel different, but we couldn’t let this time of year pass by without what is fast becoming an office tradition: the annual debate about what trends are going to affect the PMO and project community over the coming 12 months.
After much discussion, here are the five things we think you should be aware of as we head into 2021.
PMO Trends 2021
1. Artificial Intelligence
We talked about robotic process automation in our 2020 trend predictions, so it probably isn’t a surprise that tech tops the trend list yet again.
This year there has been a huge focus on technologies that help businesses get more done by streamlining the everyday stuff. Whether it’s automated workflows, big data processing, analytics or smart scheduling, data is everywhere and we need it more than ever.
It’s perhaps particularly relevant that in times where managers need to be making contingency plans for how to keep the business going if staff have to take time away from work for sickness absence, that more routine work is automated using the enterprise project management tools and AI options available.
There seems to be an underlying worry that AI will ‘take our jobs’. We don’t see it that way. It’s an evolution of the way we work, much as other innovations in the past have evolved working practices. Removing some of the routine number crunching and report production from the PMO gives us the time to elevate the role into something much more strategic and value-driven.
2. Hybrid Project Methods
Developing project management skills is going to be even more important as we move more into a world where PMOs have to support agile, predictive and hybrid methods.
Research carried out by the team at GirlsGuideToPM.com shows that 60% of project managers are using hybrid approaches – a blend of iterative and predictive approaches that provide a fit-for-purpose delivery framework aimed at allowing teams to use the tools that best suit their ways of working.
The big change here will be in what that means for PMO teams. PMO leaders need a team that understands and can support project managers delivering using all kinds of different methods, and that can have an impact for reporting, scheduling and resourcing the work.
3. Online Training
We can’t ignore the impact that the pandemic has had on the way people are able to build their skills. More and more learning has moved online and we predict that there will be a growing increase in the number of people taking online courses next year. Udemy, the online learning marketplace, has been valued at US$2bn – there is clearly demand for educational content delivered over the internet.
Studying online is convenient, flexible and often cheaper than attending an in-person course, especially when the course material lends itself to computer-based learning.
We’re already ahead of the curve here, as we have offered online courses in Primavera P6 for some time. Many of our training courses are available with online options, either as self-paced learning or led by an instructor in real-time, and we also provide bespoke video training as organizations find that sometimes better serves their needs.
4. Flexible Change Management
Organizational change management has been a hot topic in the latter part of 2020 and we see that trend continuing. It’s important to acknowledge the immense pressure that some businesses have been under. Many have pivoted to offer new services or offer them in a new way. We particularly appreciated the online gin tasting evening organized during lockdown! A box of various gins and mixers arrived at the front door, and then we dialled into the Zoom meeting to be guided through the tasting by an expert.
Change management is something businesses are going to have to get familiar with over the coming year, because it’s likely we’ll see continued impact from the pandemic and digital disruption. It’s so important to be able to bring along your colleagues when things are changing, and to make sure everyone buys into the vision.
5. Supporting Staff with TQ
TQ is Technology Quotient: a person’s ability to be able to use and manage technology as required by the project or business need.
PMI says that TQ is defined by three things: curiosity, inclusive leadership and being able to future-proof the workforce so they stay current.
The PMO can lead on all of those things. It’s particularly important at the moment to be able to use collaborative technologies for communication and teamwork on projects. Tech changes quickly, and the PMO must be able to keep up. Having staff with the right mindset and skills will help teams take advantage of new opportunities.
What do you think of these 2021 PMO trends? Perhaps you have already started to see them affecting your PMO and are now considering how to make the most of them over the coming year.