How Project Planning is set to Change from 2020 Onwards

Project planning is one of the areas that is going to see big changes in 2020. Planners and managers will have to create a project plan that will be adaptive and versatile.

We look at the biggest changes coming your way in the field of project planning in 2020 and beyond, and outline what you need to do to adjust your methods.

Diversity in Project Planning

A recent workplace trend that is encompassing businesses beyond the scope of project planning is the increase in diverse and inclusive teams.

This has had a favorable impact on project execution—diverse teams mean an improvement in the resources that businesses can tap into.

When more people of different ethnicities, genders, orientations, and abilities join an established team, they bring with them new ways of seeing the world, and new ideas.

Making the workplace more inclusive will thus become a priority for project managers in 2020—something that needs to be done in concert with the HR team.

Because it is important to make your diverse crew feel like they are welcome and respected in the organisation. There is no point in bringing in new people if they are othered from the get-go.

The world of project planning has often been seen as narrow and unyielding—but this closed off attitude is beginning to dissipate, and will see a steady move towards more diversity in 2020.

Gig Economy and Project Planning

Another change that is quickly taking over the project planning field is the rise of the gig economy—taking a series of contract jobs or part-time jobs for a number of companies.

With jobs becoming ever more scarce and the economy around the world fluctuating, more people are having to participate in the gig economy.

This means that a single project can employ several people who exist outside of the company but, for a short period of time, work within the confines of the business as team members.

Once the project is complete, these gig workers will move on to new projects, and new gig workers will be brought in—unless some of the previous teams get new contracts.

The mindset for project managers will thus have to adopt—a number of gig workers are younger than your company’s employees. Their loyalties are to the project, not to the brand.

A significant amount of time will need to be spent on training gig personnel—especially if you plan to honour the end of their contracts and bring in new gig workers for each project.

The gig economy offers benefits to the project manager such as a larger and more diverse pool of workers. Most contracts also don’t need to offer benefits, which saves the company money.

However, losing out on talent after a project and having to adapt to changing personnel can be a challenge, so you need to define what works for you and your project.

Remote Project Teams

The way employment and the economy have changed in the past couple of years has had a profound impact on project planning.

We have already mentioned how diversity and gig workers have impacted project management, but there is yet another aspect that managers need to be aware of—remote workers.

Remote work has grown immeasurably in recent years and it is affecting how companies work with and manage their employees.

Many gig workers or contract employees work out of their homes, instead of taking up space in offices, and a number of them are located in other countries.

This definitely expands your resource pool, and gives you access to a wealth of knowledge that you would not have been able to reach in the country your company is located in.

But it also means having to navigate multiple time zones and trying to ensure effective communication when your team isn’t working at the same time or at the same place.

Project planners will have to invest in team collaboration tools that will ensure that everyone is on the same page, no matter which time zone they are located in—which means more training.

Once again, a change of mindset is required to make these new circumstances work but the benefits of having such a diverse resource pool outweigh any challenges.

Project Management Automation

Automation has become the key to project planning success—mainly because of the improvements in automated technology and project management software.

Artificial intelligence, in particular, has grown in leaps and bounds. Machine-learning software now powers AI, making it much more sophisticated, powerful, and accurate than before.

There are numerous ways for project planners to use AI in 2020 and beyond—task scheduling, prioritising project elements, assigning roles to resources, and sending reminders.

With the use of AI and automation, project management will become more streamlined and more efficient, and help avoid scope creep.

Managers won’t have to spend as much time on manual or repetitive tasks—software will take care of that—freeing personnel up to take on more important duties.

Multi-Skilled Project Planners

From 2020 onwards, project planners will need to seriously work on upskilling themselves, because it won’t be enough to have excellent organisational skills.

Planners and managers will need to have more technical knowledge—especially with the rise of AI technology.

But soft skills are going to become just as important as technical ones—with an over-reliance on automation, a lot of the emotional connections in project management are affected.

It is important for planners to have those soft project management skills—making clients feel comfortable, and communicating effectively with teams are important to a project’s success.

With internal communication becoming more complicated due to the increase in gig workers and remote teams, ensuring smooth communication needs to be a priority for planners.

Rise of Hybrid Project Planning

There are a number of ways to plan a project—from agile project planning, to waterfall, or scrum—the way you plan and execute a project has an effect on everyone involved.

But as we take our first steps into 2020, one thing is becoming clear—rigidity in project planning and management no longer works.

Instead of choosing one method to execute a project, it is becoming more important to choose a combination of methods—such as a hybrid project planning method.

This will mean going beyond just the popular agile project management method—you need more flexibility than is currently being afforded by individual methods.

Look at the various kinds of project management methods available to you and decide which combination works best for the project.

Data-Driven Project Management

One of the side-effects of increasing AI software in project planning is a large amount of data that can be generated and collected—using sophisticated project management tools.

In 2020, project planning will have to start including data analysis as a key component of the process—going as far as hiring data analysts.

Because if you can generate the data, you should be examining it and using those results to drive your project management in the right direction.

However, you need to determine which data is important to the project—just because there is data being generated doesn’t mean it impacts your planning process.

This is one of those areas that will require a fair amount of tact and planning before you implement it—but if you can sift through your data, your project can be executed better.


Project planning is seeing massive changes in 2020 and we have outlined how those changes can impact planners and managers.

It is important to understand what works best for your company and for each project, and to adapt your resources, your software, and your planning method accordingly.

Make these changes as quickly as possible so you can start your 2020 off on a positive note.

Project planning is one of the areas that is going to see big changes in 2020. Planners and managers will have to create a project plan that will be adaptive and versatile.

We look at the biggest changes coming your way in the field of project planning in 2020 and beyond, and outline what you need to do to adjust your methods.

Author’s note: Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic and design platform. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, sharing productivity tips, examining pop culture, and championing the need for representation.
Twitter: @Venngage

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