Project Management we see today is far more evolved than it first started. It is no longer about detailed documents a bunch of them in fact, phases and gates driven with multi-year timelines.
Gone are the times when projects meant a fat budget, huge resource allocation probable brought together from across the world to a single office facility.
On top of it, the answers to the question – “what the project is all about?” would never be the same from the people working on them. Each had his own interpretation.
Not that it doesn’t happen today, but on a much-diminished scale.
The point is, as everything else, project management today too has evolved a lot and for the better.
It has become better for the project managers, the project team, stakeholders and the business overall.
Primarily because Project Management today is more outcomes-focused than ever before!
How did the shift happen?
Disruptive Digital Transformation has brought about a sea change in the way we operate today. Teams across the globe are connected in real-time with the help of more and more communication platforms.
Be it chat, instant messaging, tagging, video conferencing or video chats; technology has made it really easy to access people and information with the tap of the thumb.
As a result, there is rapid information exchange, more visibility and increased collaboration at all levels across organizations.
Silos are a thing of the past. Instant is the new age mantra.
The workforce has become highly mobile. Work isn’t defined by a messy desk and office hours.
Enhanced mobility and connectivity have given way to boundary-less offices where teams connect, collaborate at will and remain highly engaged towards the goals at hand.
There are some downsides too, but it well-managed the benefits outweigh them by a huge margin.
Businesses have been able to mark their presence alongside their customer and as a result, there has been a marked increase in customer feedback and connect.
All of which leads to quick productivity gains, breaking away from silos, informed decision making, and quick issue resolution to deliver with more accuracy and agility.
Projects now are delivered iteratively and in increments with optimum customer inputs and satisfaction.
Staying disconnected or rather unaware of progress has become really hard. And as a result, improved scrutiny to project deliverables and result have only helped to up the ante and deliver with quality.
Yes, it is always about on time within budget. But now it is more about deliverables living up to promised outcomes.
Project Management today demands a wide range of skills from its project managers and project teams. Right from being a hands-on techie, to be adaptive to new technology trends to a host of soft skills.
Projects have become increasingly complex in nature along with the involvement of multiple stakeholders each with his own goals and way of getting things done.
So how can a PM keep his ducks in a row?
It’s the purpose of the project that each stakeholder has pledged their ownership to. Unless the team is aligned with the purpose even the most savvy project managers will end up with project failure.
And this is where adopting digital project management has proven beneficial.
- You get to keep the entire team aligned with the project goals (short term and long term).
- Project progress is highly visible.
- Real-time analytics and data help you take proactive measures as needed.
- Collaboration on issues and risks is faster and productive.
- Information sharing prevents multiple sources of truths enabling greater transparency.
- Teams become more focused, engaged and motivated to contribute due to the freedom obtained from adopting digital collaborative project management platforms.
Now, think of the second wave impacting project management. The advent of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
These niche technologies have already been adopted for medical research, biotechnology, meteorology, automobiles, personal assistants (chatbots), traffic monitoring, security surveillance, and automation to name a few.
Project Management has also adopted them with quite a bit of a success w.r.t to process automation, risk identification & mitigation, predictive analytics based on past project data to forecast project outcomes.
Imagine the onus these technologies put on the project managers. Project management skills alone can never keep them in good stead when the projects are being run with AI.
It is not a bad thing. Far from it actually. The PMs are positively impacted with the use of AI as it has increased the need for them to deploy more of HI (human intelligence) given the fact that automation has taken away their repetitive and manual tasks.
They allow for the PM and the project team to focus more on upskilling themselves, getting creative in delivering quality outcomes with precision.
Just imagine the fact that you are presented with factual insights about the outcome of the project you are about to take based on past project performance. You are certainly well-equipped for course correction, saving costs and time as well.
And the most important thing of note is both digital and transformative technology such as AI are well-aligned to the overall project management methodology.
Have the project management processes kept pace with technology?
The answer is a definite YES! But before that, take a look at how our processes have evolved. Waterfall to Agile has put us in a far more confident position than ever before.
Instant and iterative! Both these ingredients ensure we do it all right! Mistakes happen and will continue to happen. But the cost, strategy and time impacts have significantly reduced.
Why do you think we have a rat race among companies to adopt Scrum and Kanban methodologies?
The risk of waiting for that perfect product to go to market is humungous. Your competitor would have reshaped the industry by then. Or you may end up building/delivering something that the customer never wanted in the first place.
Well, this is an obvious and simple narrative. But what about the team morale, the loss of productivity and absolute loss of business reputation. Given the social mania we leave in, nothing can be brushed under the carpet.
Our processes have become far more resilient and highly adaptive to business. And the advent of technology has just propelled their benefits.
The key lies in the right adoption strategy and timing. It is not a one size fits all panacea.
Understand the nature of your project, the culture of your organization & that of your customers and strike the balance. Run your projects in a hybrid approach if needed.
Either way, you have all the technology, the tools and the processes you need to succeed with your projects.
The question isn’t so much about why or how; but WHEN?
Are you ready to get on board with the future of project management? I would love to hear……