Technology has been a catalyst in most facets of life. In project management, for example, technology has redefined the way we work, use information, and generate results. And while we must be open to accepting that project management did not digitize itself as fast other branches did, there are serious transformations in the way project management is being, well… managed.
Here are seven general ways by which technology has changed project management:
#1. Storing and sharing information
Technological advances have made it possible to store and transmit information in a plethora of ways. Team members of a project can now access a report, for example, by pulling out a file saved in Dropbox or Google Drive. This was remotely possible during the time of our grandfathers and grandmothers who relied heavily on an efficient and organized secretary to file reports orderly in large filing cabinets.
Now, there are a myriad of apps that allow us to work on documents using our phones, phablets, laptop or desktop computers. We no longer have to be confined in a conference room to meet and sift through documents. Now, we can analyze these documents wherever we are. One’s mobile phone is no longer restricted to making phone calls; it has now become an important tool of the trade. As the projects accumulate reports and information, there are a wide variety of software applications that can be used to back-up information and access them at a later date. I have seen quite a few requests for Apple Watch apps from project managers who’d like to have status reports delivered straight to their wrist.
All these were made possible by advances in technology, and the roller coaster will not stop there.
#2. Reducing time and saving money
With these apps at work, work has never been faster and more efficient. Technology has helped projects reduce the time they spend on working for the project. It has also significantly reduced the cost it would take to get the job done. With these devices and apps that make the job easier, businesses begin to realize savings that are in turn diverted to other areas of the business.
Time and funds are barely only a result of hardware technology advancements. Having access to information within seconds (via something called Google) and the world’s largest encyclopedia reduces research time by the hours every working day.
There are applications that also helped streamline the organization for redundancies.
There are findings that with new technology, businesses or organizations now have found a way to make do with less people, which may be considered an issue.
#3. Improved Communication
The proliferation of various communication devices has allowed people to do business anywhere. Some companies have given their business executives more flexibility so they can work from home using their devices. And they don’t get to miss meetings because they can participate via teleconference either on the phone, via Skype or other platforms.
To be even more precise, around 40% of project-oriented companies use PM solutions from Microsoft or Oracle (Microsoft Project or Oracle Primavera), so these are becoming recognized as industry standards and employees are expected to be familiar with them.
Some businesses may use WhatsApp, Skype, or any other app that makes real-time messaging possible.
#4. Paperless operation
Nowadays, cloud computing has made it possible for storage of large chunks of information which obviates the need for printouts. Rather than sending printed reports, now an organization can share digital files with the members of the organization.
With the emergence of PDF editors and digital signature software solutions, companies can conclude deals faster and shorten sales cycles.
#5. Safety and Security is paramount
It can be said that with these latest gadgets, applications or software solutions, a workplace has never been safer and more secure. However, this is more a matter of perspective than a factual statement. Cyber threats and even the cyber-terrorism emergence have established themselves as real threats to businesses worldwide.
Large corporations are still hesitating towards moving their resources to the cloud solutions provided by major industry players such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, mainly due to security concerns. However, serious steps have been made in this direction, and even though 2015 did not live up to the expectations, there are serious indicators that the adoption of cloud storage services will continue.
The latest in technology have truly aided project managers in accomplishing their goals under budget and in less time. Soon, project management will come to mean that lean is mean – less people in the workforce performing a variety of functions at the same time.
#6. Bring own device to work trend
As mentioned above, employees now have access to project related files from every device. The seamless integration between desktop, web and mobile devices gave birth to a trend which really bloomed in 2015, referred to as “BYOD” or “bring your own device” to work trend. This is a major transformation with both a variety of positives and negatives to bring to the table.
The positives include supercharged collaboration, insanely quick information gathering and sharing. Many argue that this trend leads to a higher productivity in the workplace.
However, there are several precaution steps your company needs to take to ensure the BYOD trends does not harm your company in any way including:
- Implementing a MDM (Mobile Device Management) software in your environment to enable surveillance of all mobile devices in your company.
- Implement a policy in your company to make sure everyone has guidelines to behave among.
- Train your employees, and inform them about the dangers if their mobile device falls into the wrong hands.
#7. Less focus on project management certifications
Project managers and pm training companies may not be too eager to hear this, but it appears that with the rise of technology, the methodologies with which they operate change even more quickly and project management certification seems to be losing its significance. At least, that is what the last Wrike survey shows.
With all these transformations taking place, project managers really need to manage change more effectively and work towards removing the silos who resist change within the company.
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