"Reinventiion of Project Management"
by Steve West for the Forbes Technology Council
Since the dawn of the digital age, there isn’t one industry I can think of that hasn’t had to reinvent itself in some way, shape or form in order to remain relevant. Forward-looking businesses that remain on the bleeding edge of technology excel in their fields, while those that fail to adapt slowly fade away, condemned to not-so-flattering social media commemoration.
Project management is not exempt from this natural selection. Technology has changed the way people work. Therefore, the way work is managed must change as well.
As smartphones and other digital innovations proliferate, teams are more dispersed than ever. A 2016 Gallup survey showed that 43% of employed Americans spend at least some time working remotely. Further, the eruption of enterprise application software has offered employees seemingly endless options for how they perform their work. This often leads to different teams preferring to work with different tools. For project managers to succeed, there is a growing need for a common interface that brings teams together.
Think about how Microsoft (a Project Insight partner) left its early competitors behind and went on to transform the workplace with its Office suite. In the 80s and 90s, WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 offered competitive word processing and spreadsheet programs, but Microsoft’s Word and Excel offered commonality in interface, scripting and the ability to embed parts of one document inside the other (not to mention one-stop shopping). Microsoft Office has advanced significantly over the years -- for instance, shifting from desktop software to web-based -- and continues to offer more conveniences for users as further technological advancements are made, such as mobile access and real-time collaboration. Microsoft understands that collaborating and sharing ideas from anywhere and everywhere is the new way of today’s workforce, and it facilitates that dynamic for the user.
This is the type of thinking project managers need to adopt for their teams. Sure, project managers don’t compete for market share as companies like Microsoft do, but they need to remain relevant and successful amongst an array of work management options.
Project management software should act as a center point for teams, where work can be done across various programs, while information and project updates sync seamlessly with the project management tool. Instead of the added chore of logging in to a separate program to cross off a list or enter a billable time, project management functions should be embedded into the team member’s regular routine.
The days of tracking email threads to communicate internally are long gone. Conversation style software, such as Slack (which Project Insight collaborates with) and Teams, is a growing phenomenon in the workplace. By providing mobile access and connecting employees all over the world, these kinds of apps have and will become a universal resource in project management. A solid project management software provides integrations to the various applications teams use to perform their work. It should also integrate with these collaboration tools that teams rely on to communicate with one another.
The reality is that project management suffers from a major usability gap that needs to be addressed. The solution? Reinvention by the way of automation, integration and accessibility. Project management is no longer for large corporations alone, companies of all sizes can benefit from a project management solution that cultivates a seamless user experience with essential project management functionality. Project management solutions that can keep up with the fast-paced tech industry will help teams grow and succeed, especially when it comes to the adaptation of artificial intelligence.