Project Management Trends for MBA Students to Watch in 2021

December 10, 2020

What to expect in the new year

Pic of an MBA school student writing on post its
A look at some of the important trends in project management.

Organizations and businesses around the world require project leaders highly skilled in the management of people. They need professionals who know how to handle the various stakeholders of a project and understand the need to achieve sustainable results. It’s also critical for these leaders to know how to predict and identify trends and changing needs within project management itself, so they can stay at the forefront of efficiency and innovation. Each year typically presents its own unique challenges that must be addressed, with the global pandemic of this past year presenting significant new challenges for project management initiatives. To understand more on some of the top trends to expect for 2021, let’s examine a few more closely.

Developing the Remote Working Model

While many businesses had already adopted a solid virtual working model prior to the global pandemic, the practice is now increasingly becoming the rule rather than the exception in almost every business niche. Those taking an MBA degree will be interested to learn that many businesses also appear poised to keep the practice post-pandemic, with one recent study in the U.S. revealing that 57% of small and medium-sized businesses plan to maintain the option for employees long-term.

While virtual working has many benefits - such as eliminating commute times and costs, opening up recruitment to global talent, and, in some cases, removing a physical shared office space altogether and its associated costs—the remote model can also present significant challenges to project management leaders. The dynamic synergy of in-person collaboration cannot be denied of its ability to foster team-building, brainstorming, and other important benefits. Knowing that some tasks will be more challenging under a remote model, project managers will need to find strategies for maintaining clear, consistent communication so that resource allocation continues to be optimized, and project goals and deadlines are continually met.

MBA school students in a virtual meeting
Virtual work is firmly in place at many businesses following the global pandemic.

MBA Students Should Understand the Adoption of Hybrid Project Management Approaches

Professionals attending MBA school will come to understand that one of the most critical components of project management today is adaptability. This element is a requirement for evolving with an ever-changing business landscape and the inevitable impact this has on a project’s needs. With this in mind, many businesses today have veered from the traditional path of the single project management framework. Instead, many choose to adopt more agile workflow practices, applied effectively using hybrid project management methodologies structured uniquely to the demands of a specific project.

Pic of an magnifying glass looking at the word agile
More businesses are likely to adopt agile project management models to remain resilient.

The idea behind the hybrid model is to manage a project by exploring more than one approach, and harnessing the one that makes most sense for a specific project and the team’s desired outcome. Heading into 2021, with businesses all over the world continuing to shift and adapt to the global impact of the pandemic, project management leaders can expect even more dependency and reliance on these more adaptable approaches.

Integration of Emerging Technologies

Another shift to expect in 2021 will be a continual adaptation to emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, machine learning, blockchain, and more. Companies and organizations will be looking to hire project managers who can demonstrate an awareness of the level and rate at which one or more of the newest technologies are entering their own unique sphere of business. Additionally, the most invaluable of leaders will have an understanding of which technologies are best to adopt to the business’s advantage, and how to harness them for continued success into the future.

Are you interested in pursuing a thriving project management career after attending courses at an MBA university?

Contact WU Executive Academy today to learn more about our specialized programs.

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