As we all know, the project manager in organizations traditionally has the burden of compiling plans and information for the team’s work. The information is then kept in disconnected files, no matter if it is a Microsoft Word file or a Microsoft Project file. The manager is struggling to bring the project plan to life as all the information on the project is concentrated only around a single person – himself. He first has to pull facts out of employees by meetings and e-mails, then put them into a file, then update the information, then communicate it to upper management and clients. The usual means of getting information from your employees turns out to be time-consuming and effortful. This “bottle-neck” effect creates additional, but unnecessary, duties for project managers.
The new generation of Web-based tools unleashes the power of collective intelligence and changes the pattern of project management. It allows associates to collaborate on project plans.The working process is coordinated not by a single manager, but by other employees, as well. Thus, collective intelligence can influence not only managing projects, but the whole organization.
Enterprises are now interested in using collective intelligence in two directions: inside the organization to improve productivity of project work and outside the organization – that is from organization to its customers.
An example of the inside influence of collective intelligence would be an organization with lots of projects developed simultaneously. Some people are involved into different projects at the same time. The new-generation software gives associates an opportunity to create a more efficient working environment. This environment is flexible, easily customized and perceived intuitively by team members. The software enables project participants to contribute to collective work and has details of all the project processes in the company. At the same time, it allows coordination by the manager, who can follow all the processes easily. The result is boost of productivity by transferring some of project manager’s burden onto the software. Project management 2.0 tools are able to make the communication between co-workers easier and faster, which again means more effectiveness and less bureaucracy for the company.
The outside effect is that companies gain more advantage from their communication with clients. The operations become more transparent to the customers; they can easily follow the progress of a project and send their feedback. Project management 2.0 is building new customer interactions and thus improving customer satisfaction.
There are many more directions in which collective intelligence brought by project management software can influence business processes. Later I will continue to speculate on what the opportunities and challenges of project management 2.0 are and will give you my ideas about how we can benefit from them.
If you want to be interviewed for this blog, let me know how you unleashed collective intelligence in your company and what your gains were. There are several tools on the market that support collective intelligence in the project management sphere. I work for Wrike, online project management software provider, which leads the area.