What are the future trends in project management?

Home project management What are the future trends in project management?

As the organising partners for the Dubai International Project Management Forum (DIPMF) for nine consecutive years, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has played a pivotal role in shaping discussions around project management in the MENA region.

During my session ‘Future Trends in Project Management: Successfully Dealing with AI-driven Disruption’ at DIPMF’s 9th edition on 17th February, I talked about AI’s impact across industries such as construction and within the project management profession, and how important it is to support leaders for project success during this transformation.

The role and impact of AI as emerging technology in construction

The construction industry in the Middle East, valued at $187 billion, is witnessing a significant transformation fueled by ambitious megaprojects that require state-of-the-art emerging technologies such as AI.

Every stage of engineering and construction, from design, preconstruction, construction, and operations through asset management is being reshaped by AI and machine learning. Project professionals who are embracing AI technologies with their planning, designing, building, running, and maintaining infrastructure are enhancing project efficiency, safety, and quality.

AI’s integration facilitates automated project management tasks, enhancing productivity and allowing managers to focus on strategic thinking and advise on business strategies. The benefits extend to construction site monitoring, where AI evaluates data from diverse sources, such as sensors, drones, cameras, and documents, for real-time insights and suggest decision-making recommendations. It is helping project managers visualise project progress, identify potential dangers, and optimise budgets and schedules.

Emerging technologies like digital twins, 3D models, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) platforms are enhancing collaboration in the construction industry, optimizing material and resource use. These technologies enable real-time data gathering, sharing, and analysis throughout a project’s lifecycle, facilitating communication among stakeholders.

However, challenges include obtaining accurate project data shortage of skilled professionals, and the upfront cost of implementing AI are evident. The MENA region has been establishing a robust regulatory framework around blockchain. Some of the challenges occur when integrating blockchain into existing systems which may disrupt established workflows, emphasising the need for seamless integration with existing project management tools and processes for success.

Embracing sustainability in project management

Across the MENA region, sustainability has become a top priority as national initiatives and ambitious human-centered projects have been established that are revolutionising urban landscapes, infrastructure developments, and tourism. The region has hosted COP27 and COP28 in Egypt and UAE respectively in the past two years, committed to reducing the region’s environmental footprint and promote sustainable development.

“It’s critical that project professionals integrate sustainability into every phase of large projects to address environmental concerns and promote responsible business practices,” says Jennifer Tharp, PMP – Director, PMI Board of Directors.

Many construction projects in the Middle East are adopting green building certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Estidama, which are becoming increasingly important for project managers in the field. Project Management Institute (PMI) has developed The Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP)™ to help project professionals build a more sustainable future.

Lean construction principles are gaining traction in the construction sector, promoting efficiency and waste reduction. Value stream mapping helps project managers make targeted improvements to streamline workflow and enhance overall project efficiency by optimizing resource utilization, reducing project delays and improving quality.

Project managers are also turning to explore innovative solutions such as modular construction, 3D printing, AI, and smart building technologies to enhance environmental sustainability.