5 Must-Know Trends in Change Management and Project Management

What are some of the biggest trends in change management and project management?

Below, we explore 5 trends and how they:

  • Affect change management and project management
  • Impact project and business results
  • Will shift over the next several years

In today’s fast-paced economy, effective transformation is essential.

Here are 5 trends that can help you better understand the changing landscape of change management, project management, and organizational transformation.

1. Soft Skills

Soft skills have always been critical in both of these management professions. 

But the digital age is shifting the balance – in one respect, digital transformation increases the importance of soft skills.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Change is happening more frequently than ever. In some organizations, continuous change has become the norm. These circumstances require an exceptional ability to manage employees and juggle projects. Soft skills, therefore, are critical.
  • “Digital-first” changes the balance between humans and machines. Digital technology propels disruption and change, shifting the dynamic between humans and their tools. This shift creates more uncertainty, a greater need for skills, and careful maneuvering of change obstacles.
  • Human experiences are critical to effective change. The human experience (see below) has become critical across change dimensions. Customer experiences, user experiences, and employee experiences must be managed carefully. Soft skills are essential to designing good, profitable experiences.

The increased need for soft skills has also resulted in a new business trend…

2. Human-Centrism

There are a few ways that the human-centrism trend plays out in change management and project management:

  • EQ – Emotional intelligence has proven to be a critical factor for success in the business world. This quality becomes even more important for negotiating and managing the complexities of change projects.
  • Training – Though digital technology is the fuel that powers many of today’s changes, skills are a prerequisite for successful transformation. Human-centered training, career development, and education are must-have ingredients for change projects.
  • Experience-Driven Design – User experiences, customer experiences, and employee experiences all play important roles in business. They affect relationships, perceptions, reputations, and ROI.

Regardless of the nature of the project, a human-centric approach will drive better results across the board.

3. Agility

Agile software development refers to a software development style that is responsive, collaborative, and flexible.

Like lean thinking, it is fueled by feedback, iteration, and adaptability.

Agile change management and project management have become more common in recent years.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • The ability to respond to change quickly. Responsiveness is a critical trait for success in today’s volatile marketplace. Agile management approaches offer speed and responsiveness, helping companies keep up with disruption.
  • Projects driven by human input and real-world data, not features. Collaboration, communication, and real-world input are the driving forces behind agile thinking. Responsiveness is given priority over following a plan.
  • Increased focus on teamwork, interactions, and collaboration. This is one of the reasons why agile has become so influential – it helps teams stay focused on the human element. The results: a human-centric approach that gets better results.

However, human-centric business models can’t thrive without technology…

4. Data and AI

Data is one of the most critical applications of digital technology.

It has found a home in every corner of business, by offering:

  • Insights and Information – Data, metrics, and analytics can help companies find patterns and gain insight. With that insight, businesses can identify weaknesses, spot opportunities, and optimize existing processes.
  • Improved Decision-Making – Companies with greater insights can make better decisions. Change managers, for instance, can plan more effectively and respond to changes more appropriately.
  • Predictions and Modeling – Historical data can help predict future trends. Applying AI to employee histories, for instance, can help predict team synergies, appropriate salary levels, and assist with project planning.

Data has become a core player in today’s organization.

To remain competitive and productive, data should be applied across business functions – including change and project management.

5. Software and Solutions

Change management tools have become critical in today’s managerial toolbox.

A few of these tools include:

  • Project Management Solutions – There are many project management solutions on the market. Options range from simple task management apps to highly complex, multi-faceted platforms with countless third-party integrations.
  • Data and Analytics Solutions – Analytics and metrics can track every aspect of a change project, from employee productivity to program efficiency. These tools can, in turn, enable new levels of performance.
  • Digital Adoption Platforms – Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) help change managers with employee training, software implementation, behavioral insights, and more. These tools are emerging as a must-have for any company engaged in workforce skills development.

It is important to recognize that the entire world is digitizing.

Regardless of the industry, tools such as these are no longer optional – they are necessary for success.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.