Back to the Future Day caused many to look back on what could have been and what can still be. While we don't have hoverboards or flying cars, the film correctly predicted a handful of technologies that are now part of our everyday lives - from drones to flatscreens. The disconnect between the movie's 2015 and reality's present might be caused by a disruption in the space-time continuum, but more likely, recent technological innovations such as smart devices and the cloud have sent us down a different path.
In regard to project management, the same can be said: Decades ago, no one could have anticipated the massive popularity of the cloud and mobility, and as a result, the reality of modern project management doesn't represent the past's predictions. After all, 10 years ago, everyone was using Microsoft Project, and now, people are dying for alternatives to that cumbersome platform.
That said, let's take a look at what project management could look like in a decade.
As technology progresses rapidly, data is piling up faster than employees can collect and read it all. Similarity, the fast-paced nature of modern business calls for productive and efficient workflows. Enter automation. With automated tools, project tasks can be completed without manual input, but more importantly, team members will spend less time entering data and more time working.
CIO magazine contributor Brad Egeland reported that in the next 10 years, project managers will rely on project dashboards that automatically sync with other enterprise IT solutions. Not only does this ensure that everyone stays up to date on the latest projects, but it means that projects will be more likely to be completed on time and under budget.
"Each project will soon have its own unique set of rules and guidelines."
Business process outsourcing and freelancing is especially useful in the tech sector, and soon every organization will turn to external teams to manage projects. Business 2 Community contributor Alexandra Levit cited a Gartner presentation from Michael Hanford in which Hanford asserted that each project will have its own unique set of rules and guidelines, making singular approaches unscalable for all initiatives. In that regard, having one project manager might not work out, and therefore, outsourcing a specific team for each project will make the most sense.
Egeland predicted that "holographic meetings" will be commonplace for project teams in the future, but the technology for that isn't even on the horizon. More realistically, it's likely that video conferencing becomes standard for projects in the next decade or so, as bandwidth improves and face-to-face collaboration increases in value.