There are a very big number of ways in which a business could approach and solve a problem. There is an equally large number of ways to approach projects deriving out of ideas. As a process, project management is certainly the best way to organize and run projects that can be beneficial for a business. These projects have one very specific purpose. That is to help the company move forward and increase the overall profit and revenue.
Just like with everything else, project management has trends. When it comes to businesses, these trends are very important. They can make or break the company depending on how well they are being implemented and if they work for specific types of projects.
It is a common mistake for a lot of project managers to choose the kind of technique/method that they know how to use the best, rather than the one that suits the project the most. This is why project managers must always focus on finding the techniques that focus on the project, not their special experience.
Before moving on to checking out the top techniques for 2020 as they appear based on surveys we must first look at two very important aspects that have been a big part of project management and will be a very big trend for 2020. Concepts that are here to stay.
An anthropocentric approach
The anthropocentric approach of projects. And by anthropocentric we are not just talking about the potential clients and customers that could come to the business after the completion of a good project. We are talking about the people behind the wheel.
Projects nowadays must look at the potential client as a real person not just as a wallet. At the same time, the team implementing the project is a team of people, not robots. Project managers need to understand that squeezing results out of the employees is not good. They are not going to get more like that.
On the contrary. If we do consider the employee as a machine we can easily realize that overworking the machine will eventually make the machine malfunction. In project management, employees that are not able to work in a calm and appreciative environment will not be able to give their best results.
In 2020, the most important trend is for projects to focus on the customers as people and not a wallet. At the same time, they should view employees as people and not machines.
There is no need to stress the importance of this particular trend. Mostly because it should not be a trend but a given. According to statistics only 20% of the projects in companies are being managed by women. A percent not even close to the 50% that it really should be.
Women are still not being taken seriously as project managers. Although that is something that has been changing over the past few years, it is still not changing fast enough. It appears that 2020 is the year for a big leap.
More and more companies appear to be giving women managerial positions. And not just to fit the status quo or be “politically correct”. Women are now being appreciated for their skills and competences. They are given positions they deserve and they excel at what they do.
The Project Management Techniques
In our previous article “Project Management Methodologies and How to Pick the Best” we spoke about some of the most famous methodologies on project management and how one can choose the best one for themselves. These methodologies are still very popular and their popularity is based on years of research and usage.
In this article, we are going to present the five project management techniques/methodologies that appear to be trending for the year 2020. If you want your project to be effective this year you will want to consider these following techniques.
What do techniques do?
A one can easily understand, project management techniques are the way to take all the raw skills and apply them to make the project system work. In other words, the team of people behind the project has a specific number of skills needed to complete the project. How will these skills be used? This is where project management techniques come in.
The project technique will act as a map. As a strategy on which the entire project will be based. It has to be very clear and it needs to be able to guide the team members, step by step. Here are the techniques trending for 2020!
The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Certainly a notorious technique, PERT is one of the biggest trends for 2020. The reason? Its visualization component. PERT is able to allow the user to understand the most basic components of the project by simply looking at it.
With PERT, you create a detailed plan aiming to track all the potential milestones of the project as well as the process of it, on a visual level.
PERT can most certainly be considered a great method for long-term plans. It allows the project manager to see the timeline of the plan more efficiently as well as identify any kinds of challenges that might occur in the future.
The Waterfall Technique
We have mentioned this technique in previous articles. Not only because it is the first project management technique to be developed but because to this day it appears to be a very effective technique that still holds a position in the most trendy techniques for 2020.
It is a very straightforward classic type of technique for project management and project planning, implementing all the basics, taking them to the next level. Waterfall splits the project into sequential levels and each level depends on the completion of the previous one.
Waterfall has a linear shape, counting from step 1 to step 2 and so on. The technique itself does not allow for any unexpected changes and although it is very effective, it might not be the best for long-term projects or projects with a lot of complicated results. This is why, Waterfall is often being combined with the Agile technique, creating Hybrid. Hybrid is combining the great aspects from Waterfall and Agile but it does also have certain glitches so any project manager working with Hybrid needs to know how to properly use it. Hybrid might not be a trend in 2020 but Waterfall really is. Especially for smaller, simpler projects!
The Kanban Technique
Maybe one of the most famous project management techniques out there, Kanban, was developed by a Toyota engineer, aiming to improve the manufacturing process. The name of the technique itself, if translated, is very easy to understand. It comes for the Chinese word Kan (看), which means to see and ban (板) which means Board.
Kanban means watching the Board which is basically a way to create a visual workflow, much like PERT. The main difference is that Kanban uses a series of tasks and not the graphic nature of the PERT technique. Using Kanban boards helps visualize the project status, whereas PERT focuses more on the timeline.
Kanban was first created at is excellent as a tool to overwatch management and take the pressure of individual members. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that, when projects fail, in many cases it is the fault of the management and not the team members. If the management did not meet the tasks in time or dropped important tasks to individuals that were already overflowing with work, project failure was imminent.
Kanban is all about teamwork, proper assignment of tasks, perfect planning based on those tasks and meeting deadlines by both managers and team members. Certainly, a trend in 2020, seeing as places emphasis on teamwork and encourages continuous delivery and less stress!
The Critical Path Technique
A 1940s technique that is a trend in 2020, the Critical Path Technique is a cornerstone of project management planning. It is all about mapping out the project’s critical tasks to use them as a timeframe and calculate how long a project will take to be completed.
The Critical Path also takes into consideration any outside factors that might influence the process of the project and each milestone.
The idea behind the Critical Path Technique is to identify the most critical path on every step of the project, simplify it and add it to the time of completion of it, aiming to identify the specific timeframe!
The Extreme Technique
This technique focuses on emphasizing project flexibility, openness, and collaboration. Extreme is all about the human element behind the project. It takes into consideration all the possible changes that may occur. This is important especially if the project has a rigid nature and stages.
As a result, Extreme is perfect for long-term and more complicated projects with a lot of outside factors and uncertainty in terms of the tasks and the possible results.
Working those tools
Project management techniques can be more complicated than one might think. They are not easy to implement by hand and controlling all the actions is nearly impossible This is why it is very important to make sure that you are going to find the right tools that can help you run the techniques.
There are a plethora of different tools that you can use, created specifically for project management. Depending on the technique you can choose to use smaller tools that will break down the processes. For example, one tool to assign tasks, another to determine and register the time for every task, a different tool for updates on the tasks and the project processes and so on.
These separate tools could be a great choice if you are managing a small project with easier processes. However, in the long run, you will notice that using multiple tools could actually be making the project more complicated. Moreover, multiple tools could mean higher expenses and this is something you would want to avoid.
If you are running a longterm one the best option would be to find a tool that will include all of the above services and even more. The tool might seem a bit more expensive in the beginning and possibly more complicated to use. However, as time progresses, using the tool will be a lot easier and it will save you both time as well as money.
Do not go for the obvious tool choice. Yes, there are some tools that are more popular than other but in most cases, they are more expensive as well. If you have enough budget to spend and the project is not very long and complicated, it is recommended that you try out simpler low budget tools in the beginning.
Even if you have to upgrade to something more expensive and more complicated in the future, you will have the experience of working with a simpler tool. That will make it a lot easier for you to understand the process of any other tool as well as know which services will need to be included in it.
Project management techniques that are trending in 2020 will determine the results of your work this year and maybe even the year after that. You do not want to fall behind so make sure that you are going to follow the best trends and take your company’s projects to the next level!