Behind every great project is a manager (as any PM will take delight in telling you) and the success of any and every scheme hinges on the ability of these professionals to plan, procure, coordinate and oversee how different strands of a project come together. These managers work across a multitude of sectors and areas, covering everything from the construction of smart cities to the commitment to a greener, cleaner future. It’s worth noting that project management is far from an immutable discipline – it’s not an ancient practice from time immemorial, never to be changed. It’s constantly evolving and adapting. The more that technologies and ideas develop, the greater the capabilities of successful project management. The team here at Munday + Cramer wanted to examine the trends, therefore, currently turning heads within the field.
The Main Challenge of Construction Project Management
The construction sector is one that relies heavily on efficient project management. Construction projects teem with cogs, processes and intricate moving parts, with an often-huge number of contractors and sub-contractors involved at any one time. Arguably, the biggest challenge posed by this wealth of information – because that’s, in essence, what these ‘cogs’ introduce – is the lack of a reliable single source of truth that can be shared between project members. That’s why, as we’ll see, AI software has been so-often touted as being the next ‘big thing’ within the industry.
An Increase in Remote Management
Without actually mentioning the dreaded ‘C’ word (because let’s face it – we’ve all heard it enough by now), the pandemic, to which we’ve found ourselves in over the past year, has affected virtually every industry and project management is unfortunately no exception to that. With most industries limping only weakly towards the end of the year, there are no (and have been no) indications to suggest that we’ll be abandoning these new working methodologies anytime soon.
Remote working has been one of the biggest changes of 2020, however, in reality, many industries initially found it quite difficult to transition towards this novel practice in anything like an agile fashion. The pandemic revealed structural weaknesses in the way that projects were run, in so much as that many projects simply didn’t have the infrastructure in place to adapt and continue, should it be forced to for whatever reason.
If Ever There Was A More Appropriate Skillset…
Fortunately, given that their entire discipline pretty much centres around organisation, management and collaboration, the transition towards more remote and flexible working has been relatively easy for project managers, certainly when compared with other industries.
The Continued Adoption Of Data Analytics And AI
Over the past few years, data has been increasingly leveraged by project managers to streamline their operations in various ways, and it’s a good job too. With project managers having to balance an ever-increasing number of process ‘plates’ – such as BIM, quality inspections, daily site reports, scheduling, RFIs and more – the ability to integrate and tabulate their information in a way that serves them both easily and intuitively, is essential.
The potential implications of artificial intelligence (AI) within the field, for instance, are noteworthy – the automation of more menial tasks, for example. Whilst a large part of project management is dedicated to problem-solving and abstract thinking, there’s still a substantial quantity of mundane tasks that occupy a PM’s time. This ‘recoverable time’, as it’s known, looks to be one of the key pieces of completing the project puzzle, in years to come. A report by Gartner in 2017 found that by next year, AI augmentation will help recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity. This freed up time will enable PMs to focus on the issues which require critical thinking and problem-solving.
Hybrid Project Management
There are as many different approaches or schools of thought towards project management as there are different philosophies towards life (though perhaps less existential in nature…). Increasingly, though, PMs are ditching their quasi-tribal levels of loyalty to singular management methodologies, in favour of a more versatile approach.
Whereas traditionally, PMs might die on the hill of ‘agile’ project management, or nail their colours to the tried-and-tested mast of ‘waterfall’ management, now they’re increasingly adopting more bespoke, hybrid approaches, individual to the particular project at hand. The reason for this? Well, many of today’s projects (in whichever sector they’re being carried out) often have less easily defined end-products and therefore a less prescriptive approach can prove beneficial.
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They may not get the same kind of attention that some perhaps more ‘glamorous’ professionals do, but without PMs and the concerted work they put in, we’d not be where we are today! In fact, according to the APM (Association for Project Management), the economic value of the project management sector (in terms of gross value added) outweighed various other major sectors, in 2019, including both construction and financial services, going to show just how invaluable an industry it really is.
So, if you’d like to find out more about our various architectural and building services – including project management – then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing at email@example.com.