Project management today differs from project management in previous decades in that we have the added complexity of collaboration and social technologies built into the tools we use to complete our jobs. Hundreds of such tools currently exist, with everything from Microsoft Project to CentralDesktop claiming varying degrees of project capabilities. More important, many of them combat three common problems in project management:
- Complexity. The tools have many functions, and they are not easy to use or learn. They were originally created for professional (trained) project managers, which 99 percent of users are not today.
- Linear working. Generation Y is often said to be the multitasking generation and can parallel process several different projects at once. However, some project-management software often makes the assumption of a single track of tasks and resources, which is not the way we do business today.
- Poor project communication. There are often just email notifications of a change in status or a project object. No conversation, no buy-in on tasks and no real-time communication support. In fact, Ginger Levin, a project-management consultant and educator based in Lighthouse Point, Fla., who is DPA-, PMP-, PgMP- and OPM3-certified, says,“Ninety percent of a project manager’s time is spent communicating with stakeholders.”
Avoiding these pitfalls leads to smoother processes, more-productive workers and, ultimately, better business practices. This piece discusses each of the above issues in more detail, as well as analyzes how new tools and project management software are creating solutions to these problems. Current tools deal with today’s greater project complexity, parallelism and communications in a variety of new ways. Many projects are part of a community and are more team-oriented. And the tools are often much simpler and don’t require users to be certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI).