By guest author Mridula Velagapudi
With a string of conceptual terms such as Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, SaaS 2.0, Project Management has also found its foothold in the term Project Management 2.0.
It all started with the term Web 2.0, which denotes the evolutionary phase of the World Wide Web where it allowed users to participate in information sharing as well as collaboration both as creators and consumers of content. Similarly, Enterprise 2.0 liberated employees from using legacy communication and productivity tools. It helped employees, customers and suppliers to collaborate and organize information. And SaaS 2.0 is known more as the next generation business management platform that can compete with traditional enterprise applications and not just as an application utilized in a hosted format.
The ‘2.0’ classification indicates the generational progress of concepts and technologies that have been enabled due to the emergence of Web 2.0. It is an underlayer for crucial technology development trends from 2012 onwards, and indicates how future organizations will have to manage more distributed teams and keep them connected.
Enterprise 2.0, Agile Methodologies and SaaS 2.0 together have given rise to the concept of Project management 2.0.
The ‘2.0’ terminology in Project Management discipline points to the social media zeitgeist that promises to grip this discipline as well. Project Management 2.0 is more of a cultural change that will have to be built-up around the traditional discipline of project management. Startups and SMBs (or any small and distributed team in any business unit) will definitely gain a lot from creating cultural change by adopting Project Management 2.0, as it will not only give them a chance to take advantage of other SaaS applications and globally dispersed teams but also help them reduce time-to-market for their new ideas and be agile and more responsive to the needs of their customers.
So, how do we go about creating cultural change with Project management 2.0?
Use the Right Tools
Whether you decide to go for Agile SDLC, traditional Waterfall SDLC or a mix of both, you will need to use the right project collaboration tools to manage the project. Let us assume that you want to launch a startup. It is highly likely that you will start working from your parents’ or your friend’s garage, until you build a prototype and start getting paid customers. You and your co-founder may not be able to meet all the time and will need a project management tool that facilitates project management discipline virtually. A Web-based project management tool would be the most prudent choice.
The tool must have features such as wikis, an intelligent ticket management system, milestones tracking etc., so that your small and distributed team can work effectively. Apart from these essential features, the tool must have collaborative features such as wall, activity stream, email integration and document sharing embedded in it to facilitate building a collaborative culture.
Adopt the Bottom-Up Approach
Perhaps the single best strategy for creating a collaborative culture in project management is to adopt the bottom-up approach. According to Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams in the Harvard Business Review, the culture of collaboration is created best when it comes from the top executives. It fosters a sense of community within the team and engenders higher creativity.
But the pure bottom-up approach has been criticized for its lack of control and clarity. Perhaps a mixed approach is best, depending upon the nature of their project.
Today, the business requirements of organizations have changed a lot. Executives need to match their business objectives strategically with how their businesses operate and get structured. Business objectives such as quick response to market changes, keeping costs low and retaining the best talent need to be strategically aligned with lean organization structure, agility and virtualization, in order to beat the competition. To achieve all this, there has to be synchronization with collaborative culture.
The aforementioned conditions will ensure easy accessibility and free flow of information sharing that will in turn foster creativity.
Project managers have to be the facilitators of communication and be able to utilize the knowledge from within their teams to be able to reduce operational costs and deliver superior quality products or services. They can do this by being proponents of Project Management 2.0.