9 Project Management Trends to Know in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

AI, cloud computing, and environmental regulation are just some factors influencing project management trends this year.

[Featured Image] A project manager works with a colleague on their latest project utilizing generative AI.

Project management is critical to countless organizations and industries around the world. From planning project milestones to heading off potential risks and compiling project reports, project managers perform a wide range of complex tasks that contribute significantly to an organization's long-term success. 

But, new technology, shifts in work styles, and large-scale regulatory changes are transforming how many organizations do business today. And, to ensure these organizations succeed, project management will have to change with them.  

Want to know the top trends in project management for 2024? Read on to learn more about what you can expect from the field this year, while also exploring ways to build the skills you'll need to stay on top of them. 

The work world is transforming faster than ever, and project management is evolving alongside it. Here are nine major trends that are set to shape the field this year: 

1. The influence of generative AI will grow. 

Generative AI, such as and , is quickly transforming how professionals across every kind of industry – from health care to finance, IT, and more – complete their day-to-day work. And, there's a good reason why both employers and employees are keen to use the novel technology in the workplace: research from MIT indicates that highly skilled workers who use generative AI within the bounds of its capabilities can actually improve their performance "by as much as 40% compared with workers who don't use it. [1]"

These benefits have driven increased adoption of generative AI within countless organizations, workstreams, and . In 2024 – and throughout the next decade – this trend is expected to accelerate exponentially. According to research on Statista, for example, worldwide revenue for generative AI is projected to reach more than $1.3 trillion by 2032, significantly higher than its 2020 valuation of just $14 billion [2]. 

Project managers looking to keep up with these transformations would be wise to build their skills with generative AI this year, particularly as it’s just being adopted by organizations and integrated within existing technology. 

2. More project management tasks will be automated.

As the development of AI advances and the technology is increasingly integrated into existing platforms and workstreams, project managers can expect the automation of more and more of their daily tasks. According to one 2019 study by Gartner, 80 percent of all project management tasks are expected to be eliminated by 2030 thanks to advancements in machine learning, big data analytics, and natural language processing (NLP) [3].

Project managers shouldn't fear that they're bound to be replaced just yet, though. According to research highlighted in a 2023 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, only 35 percent of current projects are considered successful, while a shocking 65 percent are plagued by "wasted resources and unrealized benefits" due partly to the outdated technology professionals rely on to manage them [4]. The authors note that AI will likely improve project managers' efficiency as they do everything from planning projects to assessing risks and collaborating with others, but that could take the better part of a decade to fully realize. 

As more mundane tasks are automated, many project management professionals will likely find that they have more time to focus on high-level concerns critical to a project's overall success. 

3. Remote and hybrid work will hold steady.

Today, remote and hybrid work are relatively common work styles – and that's unlikely to change this year as more and more employees come to expect them as the norm. After experiencing a sharp rise in 2020 due to the worldwide lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, fully remote work took a tumble once vaccines were rolled out and employers demanded that workers return fully to the office. But, despite employer's best efforts, Gallup research indicates that fully-remote positions have remained relatively steady, and hybrid work has actually climbed higher over the past several years [5]. 

Reflecting on this trend, Stanford economics professor Nick Bloom told USA Today, "Return-to-office died in '23. There's a tombstone with 'RTO' on it. [6]"

This change in work style means that organizations must pivot how they manage employees and projects. According to Barbara Larson, executive professor of management at Northeastern University, companies should spend less time focusing on how many days employees spend out of the office and more on how to manage them while they’re away. [6].

Project managers wanting to ensure their place in a shifting landscape should work to build the skills critical to maneuvering hybrid approaches and managing remote teams, such as , emotional intelligence, and mastering collaborative tools that make asynchronous work possible. 

4. Tech skills will be more important than ever.

The that many organizations and workflows are undergoing as AI, remote work, and hybrid processes become normalized means that tech-oriented, digital skills will be more important than ever. The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2023, for example, notes that more than 75 percent of surveyed companies said they're looking to adopt big data, , and AI technology over the next five years, leading to increased demand for high-impact job skills like creative thinking, analytical thinking, and technological literacy [7]. 

Project managers hoping to achieve the project success that employers want to capture might consider building the technical skills required to manage these new, digital technologies. Top areas to consider include AI, cloud computing, and

5. Technological changes will increase the need for certain human skills.

As employers invest in new technologies like AI and cloud computing, the need for employees with excellent interpersonal skills grows ever stronger. While a thorough understanding of these new technologies is an inevitable requirement for using them effectively, workers must also hone their problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills to confidently maneuver these new, ever-evolving technological environments.

In a 2023 paper describing the role of "soft skills" in the modern labor market, a group of researchers analyzed five years of job postings from 19,000 distinct, technologically-oriented organizations and found that there was a marked demand for employees with skills like "critical and analytical thinking, problem-solving, communication... and creativity with flexibility. [8]" These findings align with what the World Economic Forum highlights in the Future of Jobs Report 2023, particularly the increased demand for creative and analytical thinking among employers [7]. 

While these changes will inevitably impact all types of office workers, project managers might feel them more acutely as more and more teams work remotely and rely on new platforms to help them do it. Project professionals looking to prepare for this future might consider honing the in-demand interpersonal and social skills required to ensure positive project outcomes within technologically advanced remote and hybrid work environments. 

6. The environmental and social impact of projects will be more important than ever.

Organizations' impact on the environment and society is increasingly important to consumers and regulators alike. According to research published in HBR, for instance, a majority of consumers are concerned about the environment. Businesses that can remove the purchasing barriers for this group's most sizable segment  – "conscious nonconsumers" – could tap into a market potentially worth $365 billion on top of the already established $278 billion eco-conscious market [9]. According to another study published in HBR, sustainability promotes trust among consumers, particularly among the younger consumers who will be the power shoppers of tomorrow, and can have a significant positive impact on an organization's market value [10]. 

Governments worldwide have also taken a similar interest in organizations' environmental and societal impacts. In the summer of 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined its 2024-2027 National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives, which focused on mitigating climate change and pollution by enforcing new standards on organizations to protect communities around the country [11]. These changes represent a movement toward environmental sustainability that will likely only get more strict in the coming years as nations seek to hit lofty carbon-neutrality goals – and fast. 

To help organizations tap into the coveted eco-conscious market and ensure they meet regulatory demands, project managers should expect to center sustainability practices in the coming years.

7. More focus will be paid to change management.

If there's one word that sums up what employers and employees can expect from 2024 and beyond, it's "change." New technology, work environments, and regulations mean changing to new systems, processes, and legal structures that organizations must effectively integrate into their day-to-day operations to thrive in the marketplace. 

Project managers, then, should expect organizations to place greater emphasis on over the next year (and probably several more). According to research from Prosci, the top changes organizations expect in 2024 include [12]:  

  • technology and digital transformation (37%),

  • regulatory changes and compliance (9%),

  • environmental sustainability and climate change (9%),

  • talent retention and turnover (9%), and

  • cultural and organizational change (9%).

Project and change managers should keep these concerns in mind as they consider their career trajectory and professional development throughout the year. Building leadership skills for change management may set some professionals up for success later down the line. 

 Read more: What Is Change Management? + How to Use It Effectively

8. Organizations will prioritize resource management to stay efficient.

Over the next year, many organizations will likely prioritize resource management to keep costs down and optimize profits. The emphasis on resource management will likely overlap with other organizational changes, such as integrating AI-enabled platforms and workstreams, to ensure a reasonable return on investment (ROI) for the technological transformations needed to remain competitive in a perpetually shifting marketplace and global economy.  

As a result, many organizations are poised to increase investment in resource management solutions in the near future. Research and Markets, for instance, projects that the market size for enterprise resource planning in North America will reach $31.98 billion by 2029, up from its 2024 valuation of $20.30 billion and representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.51 percent [13]. 

Inevitably, project and will play a central role in organizational-wide efforts to optimize resource efficiency. Professionals with an eye toward the future might consider enhancing their skills with generative AI for project planning, resource allocation, organizing project teams, and managing project costs. 

 Read more: What Is Resource Management? Definition, Jobs, and More

9. Cybersecurity will be more vital than ever.

Cloud-based platforms enable teams to work collaboratively worldwide, effectively ensuring remote and hybrid project management is actually possible. That's a huge plus to organizations as they change their work style. But, it also means they're potentially exposed to various cybersecurity , such as malware, phishing scams, and injection attacks, that put their data and finances at risk. Organizations will keep cybersecurity top of mind as they undergo this new wave of digital transformations. Per research published on Statista, in fact, the global market for cybersecurity is projected to reach $657 billion by 2030, or nearly three times its 2022 valuation of $222 billion [14]. This increase in investment will likely be necessary as organizations rely more on global networks to get their work done. 

Project professionals interested in standing out from the crowd might consider deepening their knowledge of , protocols, and architecture.  

Build project management skills on Coursera

Now that you know the top project management trends for the year, it's time to build the skills you'll need to get ahead of them. Develop job-relevant skills through courses, specializations, and Professional Certificates from industry leaders at Google, IBM, and more on Coursera today. 

In Google's you'll gain an immersive understanding of the practices and skills needed to succeed in entry-level project management roles, learn the foundations of Agile project management, and practice strategic communication, problem-solving, and stakeholder management. 

Through IBM's , you'll master the most up-to-date concepts, tools, principles, and language used by project managers while also building a portfolio to showcase your proficiency to employers. 

Article sources


MIT Management. “How generative AI can boost highly skilled workers’ productivity, https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/how-generative-ai-can-boost-highly-skilled-workers-productivity.” Accessed March 5, 2024.

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