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Author: Andreas Tremel

Project Management Trend Predictions for 2016

The New Year is just that – “new,” so the time is now to start thinking about what 2016 will bring the project management. In the ever evolving project management industry, project managers and teams need to stay ahead of the game and understand the trends that drive industry changes. Here’s what you can expect in 2016:  

The IoT and Big Data

The Internet of Things (IoT) was the buzzword of 2015, and it will continue to be in 2016. 

As the IoT grows, the role of the Project Manager will get more and more important as they have the necessary skills to handle the challenges of integrating it into existing systems and handle all the data it produces. 

Going hand-in-hand with the IoT is the issue of Big Data. Big Data, or to be more precise, analyzing and – another buzzword of 2015 – hacking it, is crucial for PM as it improves efficiency and accuracy. Project managers are constantly looking to improve data response rates and bring order to the vast amount of data that it offers. Of course, more data also means cyber-security is a top priority. 

Increased emphasis on mobility

Project teams working remotely is not new, but it continues to grow and isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. The increasing use of technologies, such as cloud project tools, enables project teams across all industries to work together even if they are geographically dispersed and need to bridge several time zones. Project Management professionals can expect the demand for web-based and mobile applications to increase steadily in 2016.

Virtual teams have the benefit of allowing team members to work from the comfort of their homes or cafes, while traveling to a client, or on their commute to and from work. Virtual teams are a benefit for businesses because it allows them to tap into a much wider talent pool than they could when hiring for a single location. Employees with children and millennials are particularly keen on having a flexible work schedule and location, which leads to a better work-life balance. 

Naturally, remote teams can come with challenges. Managing remote teams in different time zones, communicating across language barriers and cultural differences, as well as being able to differentiate between work time and personal time requires many soft skills such as intercultural competence and communication skills, emotional intelligence, and time management.

Need for more certified PMs

Tighter budgets, the pressure to deliver products and services quicker, and increasing scrutiny of the project’s process from various project stakeholders, can often make project management a difficult environment to navigate and succeed. This is why we expect an increased demand for certified PMs. We are already starting to see more Project Manager job ads with a requirement for a PM certification and expect to see more and more in 2016. 

For new and established Project Managers alike it’s worth looking into the possibility of acquiring a certificate. Not only because without it job opportunities will continue to be scarce, but also because it is a good investment to enhance and add value to your skills. Experience, of course, still and will always matter greatly, yet, a certified Project Manager simply holds the better cards to win in the job race.

Increased agility & flexibility

‘Agile’ has been the trend for a few years now, but will become even more vital in 2016. What was once a method limited to software development, Agile PM only now has spread across all industries and merged with classical project management methodology. The reasons are manifold, and the benefits of Agile PM have been recognized widely. The trend of adopting Agile PM methods has come hand-in-hand with the adoption of PM software solutions and applications that digitize and automate processes and benefit data analysis. This has increased the manageability of both complex and large-scale projects, as well as projects with extremely short, fast, life-cycles, particularly in innovation-driven industries. As the innovation-driven industries are expected to grow exponentially, we expect a larger and more significant adoption of Agile PM in 2016.


Increased agility also transforms stakeholder relations as there is more transparency. As a result, ‘teamwork’ doesn’t just include the project team itself, but also internal and external stakeholders. We predict that stakeholders and clients will be more integrated into project processes from the initiation phase all the way to the implementation phase. 

Project managers will have to make sure that the team is well-oiled and consistently keep stakeholders updated to make the project run smoothly. Teams that work together efficiently and effectively spend less time resolving issues and more time delivering results – a win-win for the customer and team.

A Project Manager’s New Year’s Wish List

Now that we’ve established what project management trends you can expect in 2016, what are the New Year’s resolutions for a Project Manager? In short, projects that run smoothly, with all stakeholders on the same page when it comes to expectations and demands, effective team communication, and project success. Easy, right? As 2016 progresses, it will be interesting to see how the project management industry continues to evolve.