Project Management – Evolve or Die!

Socially Enabled PMO
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” - Lao Tzu

As project managers we are frequently running so fast with our projects that we rarely have the opportunity to pause to make some adjustments to make our efforts more efficient.  With the velocity of projects and project changes today we must evolve to avoid burnout and project failure. In today’s blog entry we discuss modern project management using a “socially enabled” approach to project management.

Project Staffing

Top down project staffing approaches that include a project manager having team members blindly assigned are over.  With the top down approach you don’t know what you are getting.  Is the resource a good addition to the team?  What other projects are they working on that could impact my project?  What are their skills?

In the new “socially enabled” project world team members have profile pages with skills, availability, and past project experience.  Project Managers can access the resource portfolio to find the available resources that best fit their needs.  The project manager can then request that the resource is assigned to their project for the desired amount of resource hours.

Task Progress Tracking

In the old days “project management tools” meant MS-Project, a spreadsheet, or some other bloated desktop tool.  It was: “the project manager updates MS-Project and distributes it to their boss, the team members, and other project stakeholders”. The problem is that we live in a fast paced ever changing environment. Updating project tasks, task status, and completion level, then manually distributing a static project plan by email is just too slow, labor intensive, and frequently inaccurate.

The “socially enabled” project world has project managers adjusting project tasks as changes occur.  It has team members adjusting level of completion as progress is made.  The PMO and project stakeholders can review the status as needed without requesting updates or opening emails.  The project manager can receive a daily report of lagging tasks across all projects.

Accountability and Governance

Project accountability and governance used to be a matter between the project manager and each individual team resource.  Fall behind on a task and the project manager would be calling you, shooting you an email, or otherwise engaging you in “where are we” conversations.  The only team level accountability might come up in project status meeting.  Emails with task assignment and to-do lists were sometimes ignored or overlooked.

Modern “socially enabled” projects have project assignments and ownership clearly defined and available in real time.  Activity streams depict all events taking place on a project as it happens.  Everyone knows who’s delivering on their tasks… and who isn’t.

Collaboration

Project collaboration in the primitive project world is at best a shared network drive of project artifacts. Project artifacts are shared in various formats using different tools.  Team members review documents with little context, and sometimes mix up the new version with the old one.

In the evolved “social enabled” world of project management all project artifacts are stored in a shared workspace and can easily accessed utilizing the browser of choice.  All previous revisions are captured, but there is no doubt which version is the most recent.  Project artifacts are not just available during project execution, but also after the project for support and maintenance and as reference documents for future projects.

Reporting   Project Status

Old school project status delivery is in the form of a project leader holding weekly meetings for status updates and/or sending emails with a static project status update.  With today’s fast paced business environment these meetings consume large amounts of time and emails frequently go unread.

The “social enable” project management world is one where updates are performed in real time and all team members see all status updates as they occur, in a collaborative shared space.  If desired, the project stakeholders can choose to have important alerts sent directly to their email automatically.

In Closing

Remember the old adage about insanity?  It is the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  Sticking to the primitive project tools that have been used in the last 15 years will lead to wasted time and reduced productivity.  Don’t get stuck in the past.  Evolve !

 

 

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