Significant changes are occurring in nearly every industry as technology advances and attitudes surrounding work and leadership evolve. Project management is no exception, and the styles and strategies for managing both the technical and human aspects of team projects are being adapted to accommodate the new workplace landscape emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the 2023 project management trends that we anticipate growing in the year to come.
A Continued Shift Towards Digital and Remote Work
In our post-pandemic world, fully remote and hybrid work options are here to stay. Gallup reports approximately 56% of full-time employees can fulfill job requirements entirely from home. The transition to fully remote work during the pandemic further illustrated productivity and effectiveness in the workplace could be maintained, even when a majority of employees were working from home.
Pros and Cons
From a project management standpoint, this transition has its pros and cons. Working in the same physical location as other team members promotes team-building and spontaneous collaboration that can be otherwise limited in a virtual workspace. Despite the perks of in-person collaboration, however, remote employees enjoy the flexible nature of working from home and report increased satisfaction with their work. When given the choice, many remote employees would prefer to remain remote or partially remote instead of returning full-time to the office.
As we move into 2023, project managers are challenged with navigating team dynamics and productivity in an increasingly digital environment.
Preference for Cloud-Based Operations
The transition to more remote working environments has created reliance on cloud-based computing solutions and communication networks. Cloud-based systems can provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional operations without surrendering performance and function. The ability for employees to access cloud-based networks from any location has made them the new standard for modern companies.
The Changing Responsibilities of a Project Manager
The scope of a project manager’s responsibilities is shifting, with more emphasis placed on flexibility, team dynamics and contributions outside of the project requirements.
Project Management and Change Management
In recent years, companies have enacted increasing numbers of change initiatives to organizations and the structures within. Project managers are learning to integrate the requirements of these change initiatives into project management strategies and plans. It is crucial to create a flexible methodology for integrating change initiatives with specific steps and protocols that your team can follow. These skills will continue to be relevant in coming years as companies grow and conform to the ever-evolving workplace standards.
Project success strategies have traditionally relied upon adherence to a single project management methodology. Recently, an increasing number of companies have merged multiple approaches to project management in an effort to increase flexibility and create a style that’s adapted to the needs of the individual project. Hybrid approaches also work well when faced with the task of integrating the expectations of new change initiatives presented by company leaders.
Increasing Connection Between Projects and Strategy
Project managers increasingly are asked to expand the scope and scale of strategies in growing workplaces. Rather than simply focusing on individual projects in isolation, project managers are being tasked with learning how individual projects relate to one another and how they work together to advance the goals of the company. This type of understanding can promote the strategic use of a project manager’s skills and help them to consistently make decisions that align closely with the company’s vision.
Advanced Project Management Tools, Solutions and Software
Technological advancements and improvements in software and automation have made their way into nearly every industry, project management included. Digital tools can help make the job of a project manager more efficient.
Increased Prevalence of AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning and data collection and analysis are rapidly becoming critical elements in project management strategies. According to PwC, 77% of high-performing projects utilize project management software to help streamline their work and meet their goals.
AI has the capacity to evaluate outcomes and provide insights into performance strengths and weaknesses, provide organized data to guide important decisions, predict outcomes, estimate timelines, analyze risk and optimize resource distribution. Project management tools and software can also automate time-consuming administrative tasks normally performed by the project manager, leaving the project manager free to focus time and energy on more critical or more nuanced tasks.
Project managers who take the time to understand how the AI and automation processes in their organization can complement their role will be well-prepared to take advantage of this resource.
Increased Focus on Data
Project management and data go hand in hand. A project manager who successfully uses available data to gain insight into key metrics can craft a targeted strategy to improve existing processes and further the goals of their business. Project management software can assist with both data collection and analysis, and provide concise evaluations and visualization tools for project managers to refer to in team building, productivity and time management efforts.
Emphasis on Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence
As AI and automation take over aspects of the more technical side of project management, more emphasis is placed on the soft skills a project manager needs to effectively connect with, motivate and manage teams. These skills include emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, mentoring and training, adaptability, time and risk management, leadership, team building and decision making.
Choosing the Best Project Management Software
Project management software can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness and efficiency of a team and its leaders. With so many options to choose from, it may be challenging to know which software best fits the needs of your team. We’ve reviewed many of the available options and created a list of our picks for the best project management software based on ease of use, cost and fees, features and functionality, customer support and customer reviews.
Smart Cities World‘s Climate action on why satellite data is key to smarter, sustainable cities is all about information relayed to enhance sustainability in the built environment generally and/or help in an easy and less costly understanding of smart cities development.
Why satellite data is key to smarter, sustainable cities
By Gaetano Volpe: CEO, Latitudo 40
Satellite imagery can act as “a time machine” for cities battling climate change, says Gaetano Volpe of Latitudo 40, helping us understand the past and future.
The image above is of Latitudo 40’s solution that brings together satellite imagery and artificial intelligence.
An IoT sensor is great for collecting data on the state of air quality from the moment it is deployed but that data tells us nothing about what happened previously to create the current environmental conditions.
If data is to truly help us build more sustainable, safer, healthier and greener cities, we need technologies that enable us to understand what has happened in the past and predict how a situation might evolve in the future. It isn’t a lack of datasets standing in the way of doing this but rather knowing how to use the ones that already exist.
In Europe and around the world, initiatives such as the EU’s Climate-Neutral & Smart Cities mission and its Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change are helping to galvanise climate action but nobody is under-estimating the scale of the challenge. What these initiatives have in common is the need for constant monitoring of a city’s territory and environment to assess the current situation and check progress. Moreover, this monitoring needs to be put in context with information from decades past to gain the necessary deeper understanding.
This was the aim when developing the climate change adaptation and mitigation platform Latitudo 40, that allows cities to be constantly monitored. It uses raw data generated by earth observation satellites, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), to understand how the earth’s systems have changed and predict how they will evolve in the future. It is designed to provide a more sustainable and resilient approach to urban climate action.
If data is to truly help us build more sustainable, safer, healthier and greener cities, we need technologies that enable us to understand what has happened in the past and predict how a situation might evolve in the future
In our specialist field of satellite remote sensing, we see a lot of valuable data available, but cities are using only a small portion of it to support key decision-making. To change this, we combine data from satellites with data produced within the city and, through a fusion of the two, create information models that help inform urban planners where to invest money and resources when it comes to protecting and futureproofing their cities.
A typical example is our dataset for estimating urban thermal comfort, which brings together information on urban heat island areas, tree canopy (or lack of it) and the age distribution of the resident population. A digital representation of a city can be created in a matter of hours that quickly highlights and offers insight into key climate and sustainability issues.
Satellite technologies are now several decades old but, due to their complexity, have never reached a mainstream level of usage in the market. Image search and image processing requires specific skills and complex processing systems that aren’t typically available within cities. To make the best possible use of the information potential of these images, we have developed what we call “complexity simplification,” a cloud-based processing workflow that automates image search, analysis, and interpretation.
Computer vision and AI algorithms complete the process by extracting the parameters of greatest interest to cities and presenting a simple representation of the evolution of the urban scenarios over time.
Continuous and frequent monitoring
Crucially, unlike the aforementioned IoT sensor, satellite imagery allows for a historical representation of the city, almost a time machine that facilitates an understanding of the starting- and end-point and what happened in between, as well as continuous and frequent monitoring into the future.
Thanks to satellite imagery, we can easily understand whether there has been land consumption and how much the relationship between green areas and urbanisation has changed; the state of urban green spaces and how they contribute to mitigating environmental phenomena; and what phenomena have triggered a specific event, such as a flood or the failure of urban infrastructure in the past and activate the best monitoring systems to prevent them occurring in the future.
It’s one thing having the data and tools, though, and quite another ensuring they are accessible to those who need them. If they are to be truly effective, they need to be embedded in the daily operations of urban planners and decision-makers just like spreadsheets and email.
Thanks to satellite imagery, we can easily understand whether there has been land consumption and how much the relationship between green areas and urbanisation has changed
This thinking underpinned the development of Latitudo 40, which we describe as “a digital information factory in the cloud”. It can be accessed by a standard web browser and the processing made available through APIs that allow easy integration with existing spatial information systems. No special knowledge of data processing and geospatial analysis technologies is required and analyses provide a representation of the city with an easy-to-understand map, graphs and automated reports.
From this information, cities can set specific sustainability goals such as increasing green space per inhabitant, reducing the incidence of urban heat islands per inhabitant, and improving climate comfort in metropolitan suburbs. Every city can verify these goals and achievements via monitoring.
Our experience has made us realise that when it comes to data collection and reporting, city managers often allocate high-end budgets for consulting services that can stop with the creation of a static product. What’s needed going forward is a more agile approach facilitated by business models such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and backed by real-time, accessible data and services. Only then will we be able to turn data into actionable information and use it to build more sustainable, resilient safer, healthier and greener cities.
Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning? wondered Nicole Bennetts, Senior Urban and Regional Planner in an ARUP blog. The answer follows.
Is digital trust the key to sustainable planning?
Our growth challenges in cities globally are becoming more complex. Now more than ever, we need new solutions and creativity to help us shape more resilient and sustainable cities in the future.
For the first time in history, we have access to dynamic urban data to understand people’s collective behaviours in real time. If used, this expansive evidence base can help planners, designers, and decision-makers make more informed decisions about the future of our cities.
However, the timing dilemma is an obstacle in harnessing this data. While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.
So how does the planning industry keep pace with digital technology to create sustainable outcomes? One way is to improve our relationship with the digital world and put trust and confidence in digital tools and innovative solutions.
While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.
While urban environments typically develop every 50 years, technology moves more rapidly, significantly improving every five years, creating a disparity between urban planning and urban living.
Why should planners trust data and digital?
Our cities are where urban planning and living come together. They are a super ‘neural network’ of interrelated systems. To create intelligent, responsive cities, urban development must embrace new possibilities using data and the internet of things (IoT).
Technology and data have never been more available. As a result, urban planning has a massive opportunity to unleash its full potential by investing more time and resources into harnessing data and digital planning.
Tools like the ‘digital twin’ are likely to become an indispensable part of future ‘urban infrastructure’, enabling the seamless integration of the ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ worlds and redefining how we plan.
Similarly, digital master planning is a framework to test thousands of options based on various variables and parameters to test failure, resilience, adaptative pathways, optimal living conditions, human health and welling, energy efficiency and more.
The planning industry must adapt to this changing paradigm, by matching the efforts and confidence invested in building the cloud system and IoT coverage, or risk being left behind.
To create intelligent, responsive cities, urban development must embrace new possibilities using data and the internet of things (IoT).
How Arup planners are using the power of digital
Projects worldwide show the value and credibility of digital tools to create growth and provide sustainable outcomes.
Cities urban tree canopy is a critical component of green infrastructure providing comfortable environments and reducing heat. Arup’s leading Urban tree canopy analysis used is a study for the City of Gold Coast, which uses a computer algorithm to determine the percentage of vegetation cover over different time intervals to show canopy changes.
Terrain is Arup’s bespoke artificial intelligence and land use analysis tool. It harnesses the power of data analytics, machine learning and automation to accurately digest large quantities of data and satellite imagery. Using this tool, we calculated seven cities’ sponginess by measuring the green and blue infrastructure areas to understand how cities can better use this infrastructure to face increasing threats from climate change – including heavy rainfall and extreme heat events.
Another Arup tool is the City Algorithm Tool (CAT) which tests hundreds of growth scenarios using different development and community value parameters to determine optimal outcomes for urban living. For example, Smakkelaarsveld in the Netherlands used algorithms to optimise the scheme design against multiple KPIs, including sustainability and environmental objectives.
Similarly, digital master planning can test site and precinct options based on various variables and parameters to test failure, resilience, adaptative pathways and optimal living conditions.
The last example, solar analysis helps test hundreds of layouts and orientations to achieve optimal living conditions and thermal comfort. For example, for Mahindra World City Jaipur, we used solar assessment tools to determine the optimal orientation for the plots and streets to provide thermal comfort in a hot climate.
Small risks, great rewards
Trust in the planning process is the foundation for our cities to take the best path to sustainable growth. Taking small, calculated risks in improving our digital capabilities now can lead to great rewards for our cities.
Taking small, calculated risks in improving our digital capabilities now can lead to great rewards for our cities.
Speed and efficiency, automating tedious and repetitive tasks and allowing more design and collaboration time.
Test 3D scenarios, assessing hundreds or thousands of options during the planning process against agreed parameters or criteria.
Facilitate approval process, comparing design scenarios with consented planning schemes and existing site conditions for faster agreement on key issues.
Identify client priorities; testing many possibilities can help identify what is most important.
Improve participatory design; with more data, we can understand community needs and improve community engagement.
Hadi Khatib of IMFInfo.com asks what are some Favorite destinations in the Arab world for Digital Nomads and provides answers that would not be a surprise for anyone who knows the MENA region. But before we get into Hadi’s thoughts, here are some of Kamel Daoud‘s in his latest article in Liberte. It summarises well our situation at this conjecture, specifically that of the MENA region.
Strange paradox: the journey dies in the very century that has overcome gravity, distance, arduousness. As if after inventing so many Herculean engines, it is the vengeful immobility that becomes our lot.
Flying today? It is a long, expensive act, which requires availability, compelling reasons, health tests, a rare visa and other passage documents.
Go to sea? It goes through death, or shipwreck, or uprooting. It is no longer a journey, but a swim against the current.
Here is Hadi Khatib’s
What are some favorite destinations in the Arab world for digital nomads?
The evaporation of the traditional office workplace last year shifted the spotlight to the role digital nomads play choosing to work from anywhere thanks to special visas issued by a number of countries around the globe
Entrepreneurs and young CEOs may be categorized as digital nomads when constantly exploring opportunities
Working online and remotely depends on inflation’s stability and low costs of living
The Arab world has quite a few places where remote work is possible
The evaporation of the traditional office workplace last year shifted the spotlight to the role digital nomads play choosing to work from anywhere thanks to special visas issued by a number of countries around the globe.
The UAE recognized this role and issue a special visa to attract those workers. Dubai’s Remote Work Visa provides digital nomads with the chance of mixing business with pleasure. Valid for one year, requirements extend to providing proof of employment with a minimum income of $5,000 per month, or proof of ownership of a company. The fee is $611 and must be accompanied by valid health insurance with UAE coverage.
But, as COVID-19 winds down, is a return to the office imminent? Airbnb’s introduction of long-term rentals is one indication that this model for work-life balance may have some staying power. Just like desert nomads, digital nomads are not always on the move, and often settle for periods of time before moving on again.
Who are digital nomads?
Digital nomads are mostly freelancers – the likes of bloggers, writers, editors, content creators, web programmers, translators, consultants, and photographers. Additionally, entrepreneurs and young CEOs may also be categorized as digital nomads when constantly exploring opportunities.
Digital nomads are typically drawn to destinations that meet certain requirements and that are anchored by accessible visas that allow them to legally stay in a foreign destination for a good amount of time.
While remote and exotic locations certainly are attractive, these places could quickly lose their appeal if they lack strong and reliable internet connections.
Costs of living
Working online and remotely depends on inflation’s stability and low costs of living. When paying the bills, like rent, electricity, groceries, and internet becomes a concern, it’s time to return to nomad life again.
Crime rates and safety ratings
Nomads like the presence of other nomads to hang out and share war stories with. Without them, they could feel isolated and dependent on the friendliness of locals. One thing that must be taken into consideration when choosing a destination is whether locals like foreigners and whether or not crimes rates are high.
Morocco has multiple cities that are fun to explore, such as Rabat, Marrakech, Fes, and many more. If you’re more of a beach person, Morocco has that too. English, Arabic and French languages are spoken. It’s pretty safe as a country and visas are relatively easy if you have a passport from a Western country.
You can stay in Morocco for up to 90 days with a tourist visa, which is easily extendible. In the cities, Morocco has pretty good internet access whether it is through cafes and hotels. There are also options to buy data plans for relatively cheap. Outside the cities, though, it might be tougher to find places with strong internet, but they do exist.
Morocco has multiple residence options depending on your budget. There are hostels (the cheapest option) and Riads (hotels typically created from houses in the medinas, and are the most expensive option), and many choices in between. As for the cost of living, Morocco is cheaper than the US.
Tunis, the capital, is right on the coast and is a great place for remote work. There are many places to travel to within Tunisia to see beautiful landscapes and historic ruins. People do speak English, especially in cities, but not everyone. Tunisia is also pretty safe. The tourist visa for Tunisia allows for stays up to 90 days and is free for people with US passports. Longer than that, though, and you will need to fill out another application and pay for another type of visa. The visa application is now available online.
Internet speed in some places in Tunisia is slower than in other countries, which does make it harder for remote work, but there are places with faster internet.
With amazing places to visit like Petra or Aqab, Jordan makes an amazing country for digital nomads to work from. Jordan has a lot of places to visit, food to try, and sites to explore. Many Jordanians in Amman speak English and overall, Jordan is safe.
In Jordan, the visa process is simple. You can get a visa at the border for single entry, two entries, or multiple entries. The single-entry visa is $56.50 and is valid for 30 days.
The prices of the visas increase from there. If you want to stay longer than 60 days, you have to register at a police station.
For internet access, there are many cafes in Amman that have internet. In addition, data plans are available to buy and are somewhat cheap.
Airbnb, hostels, and renting from locals is available. To get around in Amman, taxis are probably the best option.
The cost of living in Jordan is more expensive than in Morocco or Tunisia, although the food is cheaper than in the US. On average, the cost of living is about $1330/month.
Egypt has many places to visit including Alexandria, Luxor, Dahab, and more. Not every place in Egypt has Ancient Egyptian sites, but there are places that have beaches and are fun to explore. Not everyone speaks English but you’ll find help with the language very quickly. Egypt is relatively safe.
The visa process for Egypt is different than the other countries. A tourist visa for someone from the US costs $25 and is good for 30 days only. Beyond that, you will probably have to get a visa before traveling, which is available either online or at an embassy.
Internet in Egypt is typically pretty slow. It would be hard for digital nomads to use the internet, but in some places, like in Dahab, Egypt, there are good spots for the internet. Beyond that, though, it might be better to get a modem or find a “coworking space” to work in.
Hostels are good options for long-term stays.
As for the cost of living, Egypt is much cheaper than the U.S. The average cost of living for a single person in Egypt is $750/month, with some variance in cities.
Makarochkina, Senior Vice President, Secure Power Division, International Operations at Schneider Electric, highlights how the data centre industry in MENA can benefit from the recovery in economies across the region
With an end in sight to the major public health measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery and renewed development is high on every business agenda.
The data centre sector in the Middle East and North Africa is poised to take advantage of the recovery in economies across the region, as businesses and consumers adapt to new realities, while also looking forward to new opportunities.
With forecasts of significant growth in spending, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the sector to achieve digital transformation goals, incorporate new technologies and build a base of sustainability that will see it thrive into the future.
According to a recent report from IDC, after a contraction of some 4.9% in 2020, IT spending across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) will make a return to growth this year, increasing 2.8% to $77.5 billion. Furthermore, spending on digital transformation is set to accelerate in the post-pandemic period, increasing from 25% of total IT spending in 2020 to 37% by 2024.
Within that spending intent, the analyst reports that public cloud services spend will grow 26.7% to $3.7 billion, with SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS spend growing 24.5%, 30.6%, and 30.7%, respectively. Attendant with this is a professional cloud services spend growth to a total $1.6 billion.
The spend is reflective of the growth in demand for cloud services generally, combined with the pandemic effect that drove many consumers and business increasingly online for all manner of services.
From a data centre operator perspective, the pandemic has had many distinct effects. Not only is there a growth in demand, but it has been combined with limited access for hands-on operations, a general skills shortage and an increased requirement for resilience and availability.
To adapt to the increasing complexities of the industry, data centers and providers are shifting their priorities to meet the unique needs of these facilities who are facing numerous challenges from these growing, complex environments.
The general skills shortage in the technology sector across the region, combined with the desire for increased availability and resilience, is also driving renewed interest in preventative maintenance for the data centre. With the new levels of instrumentation available and greater capacity to monitor and manage infrastructure, preventative maintenance will be more effective than ever in reducing downtime, increasing availability and improving total cost of ownership, allowing operators to best leverage what specialist skills are available.
For the required growth in capacity to be met quickly, modular approaches to data centres are being widely adopted, further reducing the demand for skilled technicians on the ground. It is expected this approach will also deliver benefits for energy efficiency and operational costs while bringing capacity online quicker.
New approaches to enterprise architecture are being adopted too, in the form of cloud-based integrated digital platforms to span silos of data and services. IDC had highlighted siloed initiatives as a potential stumbling block for digital transformation efforts in the region. It had reported that 44% of organisations in the region said their digital transformation initiatives are not integrated, and more than half (51%) highlighted siloed data as a challenge, driven by limited understanding of existing data assets and a lack of enterprise-wide data management. Almost two thirds (62%) of organisations reported concern over siloed technology environments.
To continue to attract investment in the sector, data centre operators will need to have sustainability at the core of activities, with transparency and standardised reporting. A key factor in these sustainability efforts will be energy supply and consumption. Recent information from market data firm MEED Insight has found that so far in 2021, renewable energy project contract awards in the region have surpassed those for conventional power plant projects.
Building on this momentum, it will be possible for data centre operators to engage in power purchase agreements (PPA) for energy from renewable sources. PPAs will contribute significantly to reducing carbon footprints overall, while driving the development of RES generally in the region, with wider benefits for all from an increased supply of clean, renewable energy.
Challenge and opportunity
Despite challenges such as skills shortages, siloed initiatives, and changing patterns of usage and demand, the advent of new technologies, increasing supplies of renewable energy, and targeted investment, mean that the data centre sector in the MENA region will have the resources and the demand to grow significantly while building in the latest technologies to achieve new levels of service and sustainability.
As the market for data services becomes increasingly global, the unique characteristics of the region can build a vibrant industry, leading in digital transformation. The widespread availability of digital platforms and services can spur further economic development and drive innovation generally, ensuring a more prosperous future for all.
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