Project Management 2.0

November 10, 2010

It can be argued that in the past 5 years or so, new generation technologies have altered the fundamentals of Web usage. And what is increasingly becoming the widely accepted superset for the latest and upcoming web technologies, is Web 2.0. A casual conversation about Web 2.0 with a colleague a while back led to the topic of Project Management 2.0. We wondered why with all the breakthroughs happening in software technologies, we haven’t heard much about any tangible shift in Project Management Paradigm? Why haven’t we seen advances that re-align Project Management practices to leverage the benefits offered by the latest web based and cloud based technologies. Why isn’t now the time for Project Management 2.0?

Some research showed that people have toyed with the idea on blogs and there are some products out in the market that support PM 2.0 style of project management. This post is an attempt to take account of the existing information on PM 2.0, summarize the concept, discuss the present, and touch upon the future of PM 2.0 a little bit.

Wikipedia says that PM 2.0 is being viewed as the natural evolution of project management practices brought by Web 2.0 technologies. A number of Web 2.0 applications and trends are influencing the way Project Management is done. Such applications include blogs, wikis, collaborative software etc. The trends include high dependency on virtualization and harnessing the power of ‘the Cloud’ to collaborate more effectively while executing projects. With broadband as the new utility, virtual teams now can work together much more efficiently by utilizing web-based project management tools. PM 2.0 is gaining popularity due to these tools mainly among the companies of smaller size that are finding the web based project management style to be best suited for achieving their project goals.

These web based tools challenge the original definition of project management. Traditional project management follows a WBS based approach where project managers follow a top-down approach of getting the project tasks done. This can result in inefficiencies of a certain degree in some cases. Especially, in projects where the project team members have the right experience, knowledge and skills to identify synergies and improved efficiencies that can benefit the project. In these cases, ‘Horizontal’ project management a.k.a. collaborative project management might be of some value. While it may be hard to manage large teams and projects, small teams can benefit to a great extent from a collaborative style of project management using the web based project management tools. For example, Basecamp is an online project collaboration tool well suited for small projects. Over 5 million people have used Basecamp to collaborate on over 4 million projects, track 57 million hours of work, share 46 million files, and complete 43 million to-dos (source basecamphq.com). Goplan is a similar tool for web based project management and collaboration.

While PM 2.0 may have found some believers along the way, it is important to note the criticism that surrounds calling this new style ‘PM 2.0’. It is sometimes treated as a marketing buzzword, which does not represent a new way of doing project management. It is viewed a misnomer with no real actionable project management practices, which is based on poor comparisons with no real path to increasing the probability of project success.

While I partly agree with this criticism and have no problem in shunning the name ‘Project Management 2.0’ or ‘PM 2.0’ in favor of something that may truly take Project Management to a new generation in the future, it cannot be denied that there is Project Management happening in the industry, which is different than what is dictated by PMI. And companies are increasingly following this new style of collaborative project management and finding value while doing so. Therefore, I believe that PM 2.0 or not – collaborative project management is here to stay and will be used more and more as technology enables us to bring the social aspects of Project Management on the web, where more people will participate in project management tasks, will do most of the work online, at a unique and easily identifiable location viewable by all project stakeholders real-time. And we all know that availability of a single source of accurate and latest information at all times has been a project sponsor’s dream for a long time.

By: Megha Goel

References –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_2.0
http://www.wrike.com/projectmanagement/
http://www.projectperfect.com.au/white-paper-project-management-2.php
http://herdingcats.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/09/project-management-20-how-can-it-be-described.html http://basecamphq.com/

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3 Responses to “Project Management 2.0”

  1. Paul McGuire said

    Loved it! Our project team for this term (which the author is a member of) has taken advantage of the cloud for managing the two major projects which we have been assigned to. The cloud has eliminated the geographical and time restrictions that come with traditional workplace models. Our team has been successful in moving forward with our projects through the use of collaboration spaces on Google Docs and communication media such as email and Skype. To effectively run projects un this model, however, a good project manager must have a trustworthy relationship with their team members, with perhaps even higher levels of communication than ever. I hope that this model continues to grow and mature!

  2. I totally agree with the author’s post and Paul’s comment! Technology is playing a major role in all aspects of our lives and project management is no exception. Companies that employ the right technologies and use them the right way have a significant advantage over their competition. I have toyed around with a number of project management platforms but haven’t tired basecamphp yet. I will make sure to give it a try.

  3. Mike Gann said

    I like the idea of using the more easy-to-access or free technologies to manage projects and keep a team on the same page. Use a wiki for your service desk knowledge base. Use Sharepoint Services to collaborate with geographically dispersed teams. Not only does it knock down barriers and make your organization a global thinker, it helps streamline processes and can also eliminate extraneous meetings or 5 minute hallway conversations.

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