The Hybrid Era: Project Management Embraces the Fit-for-Purpose Approach

Our latest findings from the 15th Annual Pulse of the Profession survey reveal a surge in the adoption of hybrid project management methods across organizations. Edivandro Conforto offers a sneak peek into how this shift to tailored approaches empowers organizations to thrive amidst the constantly changing business landscape.

Written by Edivandro Conforto • 23 February 2024


In today's ever-evolving world of project management, organizations of all shapes and sizes are on a quest to streamline their operations, innovate rapidly, and incorporate cutting-edge technologies. And with any complex business landscape, challenges exist, each as unique as the organizations themselves.

For instance:

  • Picture a pharmaceutical company looking to expedite specific innovation projects within its portfolio to ensure growth opportunities in a changing market.
  • Imagine an automaker working to enhance the integration of auto parts design and software development techniques, aligning with their shift towards more digital products and services.
  • Finally, consider a finance company implementing a digital strategy considering yearly budget planning and resource allocation for projects, and balancing a value stream approach with traditional, big-budget projects.

These scenarios display a quest for efficiency, innovation, and adaptability.

Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a surge in project management tools and methods. From frameworks for managing teams at the product level to applying agile methods on a larger scale, the landscape has expanded. However, it’s evident that these approaches often operate on a “one-size-fits-all" basis, overlooking the varied and complex nature of organizations. Recognizing and adapting to the uniqueness of the organizations and their projects is paramount, which is why we’ve focused our research on hybrid approaches.

Hybrid Adoption is Surging

Our newest research confirms the growing adoption of hybrid project management frameworks. The 15th Annual Pulse of the Profession survey (to be released 29 February) reveals that adoption increased a staggering 57.5% over the last three years, from 20% in 2020 to 31.5% in 2023.


Why the rise in hybrid approaches? The answer lies in its adaptability to diverse project needs and environments. From resistance to enterprise-wide agile adoption, level of complexity in some industry sectors, the restructuring movement in some organizations that started their digital transformation in the last decade, to the advance of technology and new challenges impacting organizations’ operations, it is evident that the success and benefits of projects depend on multiple internal and external factors. This brings a lot of complexity and dynamism to the project environment, where organizations need to create and adopt specific, tailored solutions. In the current business scenario, hybrid pays off, and this is the main reason why hybrid approaches are becoming the next management trend in organizations.

When done right, hybrid project management methods can deliver performance and project results as good as any predictive or agile methods. Results from our Pulse research show comparable rates of project performance regardless of the approach used, because most organizations are now consistently using the right approaches for their projects. Organizations (and the project professionals in them) are aware of the benefits of different approaches and frameworks and how combining different practices, tools, and techniques can maintain a steady level of project performance.

This adoption of hybrid approaches reflects a paradigm shift in project management, where organizations prioritize a fit-for-purpose approach over a singular management framework implemented across the organization. This shift underscores the importance of aligning management practices with specific project needs, challenges, and strategic objectives – and empowering project teams to make the right choices for the projects they manage.

How to Thrive in the Hybrid Era

The work and business world has become more digital since the pandemic, leading to new routines, breaking down geographical barriers, and increasing the scale of risks, challenges, and opportunities that were local just a few years ago. This situation calls for hybrid solutions and a different way of thinking. Here are a few tips to thrive as hybrid becomes the new norm:

  • Acquire new skills and knowledge to modernize processes and practices, especially in emerging technologies such as AI and Generative AI. Align and customize the management approach to the specific needs, challenges, environmental factors, industry traits, organizational culture and structure, and strategic objectives.
  • Cultivate a comprehensive understanding and proficiency in diverse practices from various frameworks and management approaches to effectively develop hybrid project management models.
  • Prioritize business acumen, incorporating industry knowledge and expertise to enhance alignment and drive improved project performance and outcomes.

Organizations poised to thrive in the era of hybrid will foster the development of new competencies and skills among their employees so they will be more prepared to identify the specific requirements of the project environment and understand how to tailor and adopt customized project management methods.

What’s next?

As we move forward, project professionals must embrace this new frontier of project management, leveraging a combination of skills, competencies, and adaptable methodologies to navigate complex landscapes effectively. Organizations should provide flexibility and empowerment to align management approaches with organizational priorities while fostering a culture of continuous improvement. In this way, organizations can unlock their full potential and achieve greater project success.

Learn more in our upcoming 15th Annual Pulse of the Profession survey, coming 29 February.

Edivandro Conforto headshot

Edivandro Conforto
Director, Thought Leadership | PMI

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