16 Nov 2021

5 key actions for project managers in 2022

Project management trends
5 key actions for project managers in 2022

Our fourth joint report with KPMG, the 2021 AIPM and KPMG Project Management Survey, deep dives into the current trends in project management in Australia to help elevate the quality of project delivery.

It highlights issues facing project management professionals, such as:

  • 71% believe that projects are becoming more complex

  • 58% reported that projects were moderately or significantly disrupted by COVID-19

  • 30% identified difficult conversations and conflict management as their weakest skill

Overall, the picture is positive but there is still more to do in this environment of constant change and upheaval. Successful organisations must adapt and implement quickly, demanding more of Project Managers than ever before.

Here are the five ways project professionals can ensure project success in 2022.

 

1. Effectively utilise the PMO construct for project and program success

This is related to an organisation’s project and program management maturity. That success cannot be a product of the project or Program Manager alone.

Our results illustrated a large gap between perceptions of individual and organisational capability, a notable difference between those organisations with and without a project management office (PMO).

The strategic role of the PMO is vital, with responsibilities including:

  • Aligning the project portfolio to business strategy, navigating risk, enhancing governance and accountability, and managing talent.

  • Ensuring that a program or project’s objectives and intended benefits are at the forefront of delivery, and that stakeholders are fully engaged.

  • Through consistency of project management practices, establishing the trust of the executive, the delivery leads and the Project Managers.

  • Supporting effective project delivery and the project team.

     

2. Nurture the project professionalcommunity

As we are seeing in many industries, the Australian market is struggling to keep up with the demand for experienced and qualified Project Managers. The role of Project Managers has been shifting away from Technical Managers to encompassing strategic leadership roles for transformation and realising change.
 

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Complex projects need a steady and experienced hand and a particular set of skills for successful delivery, highlighting the importance of investing in certified Project Managers who have proven their professional knowledge, and skills are at a demonstrated level of experience.

Project professionals must seek to develop their skills beyond technical capabilities and strengthen interpersonal skills to continue to be relevant and effective in an environment of increasing project complexity.

Recognition by organisations of the value of professional project experience and certifications will build support for the profession to grow and continue to develop required capabilities.

 

3. Invest in project delivery and collaboration tools

Consistent with previous survey findings, investment in collaboration tools and project delivery tools has proven invaluable, especially in the COVID‑19 world; when face‑to‑face engagement isn’t always possible and collaboration tools contribute substantially to project success.

Project Managers need options that will help them deliver. And that means being able to choose from predictive, iterative and hybrid ways of providing the work and blending what works to get the best results.
 

“Project Managers will not be able to rely on the traditional approach to management of teams, with more remote and geographically dispersed workforces in the future.”

Matthew Connors, Commercial Director, KBR


The survey highlights an opportunity to watch out for is the potential for Artificial Intelligence to really contribute to the effectiveness of project management.

 

4. Ensure success by being agile

Project management methodology is never one size fits all, and this year’s data highlighted the importance of adopting the approach best suited for the organisation’s environment. Agile can contribute to organisational and project success but requires several pre‑requisites.

To ensure the success of Agile project outcomes, organisations need to ensure they have project professionals with the right skills, qualifications and experience in agile who can drive adoption and understanding.

To be truly successful with Agile, organisations and project leaders will need to upskill and develop leaders and project staff.

Regardless of the methodology chosen, aligning project outcomes to the organisation’s strategy and goals, ensuring active stakeholder engagement, adapting to changing project environments, and appointing skilled project leaders are fundamental factors of successful implementations.

 

5. Mobilise transformational change

Half of the survey population has played a role in a transformation project or were looking forward to being involved. We believe the importance of transformation projects will continue as businesses focus on digitising.
 

“A shift in both mindset and behaviour will be necessary, in addition to some reskilling. Transformation projects have different complexity and requirements; therefore project professionals will need to become more strategic in their thinking, with more influencing and change management skills needed, as well as core business acumen.”

Rob Loader, FAIPM CPPE, AIPM Board Member and General Manager, Strategic Initiatives Management Office at Bank of Queensland


A carefully planned and executed transformation can change the organisation’s future. At times, this may involve dramatic strategic changes, but in most cases, it’s about building a better version of what the organisation is today.
 

The future of project management

What makes the winners win? At the heart, we believe it’s fundamentally the same principles that have driven successful projects all along: leadership, professional project delivery capability, and a strong integrated team.

But with transformation and digitisation occurring at such a fast pace, it will be crucial to continue upskilling in technical and interpersonal areas. The key is to stay agile and resilient, and be open to change – Project Managers who can’t adapt will be left behind.

At the Australian Institute of Project Management, we can assist you with:

  • project leadership courses to advance your communication and influencing skills

  • membership, so you can access our mentoring program to get career guidance from experienced industry leaders, and become certified at various levels to demonstrate your experience and skills, and enhance employability, among many other benefits

  • organisational partnerships for discounts on employee memberships and branding opportunities.
     

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