Project Management

Project Management 2.0: New Definition

My work on several previous posts, where I tried to dig into the nature and highlight the key differentiators of Project Management 2.0, pushed me to create a fresh updated version of the definition for this new phenomenon.

Project Management 2.0 is an approach to managing projects that is brought to life by the use of Web-based, emergent, collaborative project management software and that focuses on collective intelligence, productivity and project leadership as the basic factors of project success.

Here’s what I mean by some of the specific words in this definition.

“Emergent” means that the software contains mechanisms to let all people involved in a project contribute to project plans and knowledge, so that the plans become more realistic and true-to-life, and project knowledge evolves over time.

“Collaborative” means that the software is designed for groups of people or whole organizations to work together in an intersection of common goals by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. “Collaborative” also does not mean “excluding leadership.”

Project management software”  covers many types of software, including programs for scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, collaboration, communication, quality management and documentation or administration systems, which are used to organize processes and operations on a project.

“Collective intelligence” refers to the joint capacities of a group of people to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language and to learn. You are welcome to compare this to the Wikipedia definition.

Examples of Project Management 2.0:

•    Use of Web-based project management and collaboration platforms by Capgemini, Chicago Transit Authority, Australia’s Defense Force and millions of other organizations.

•    Fedora Project Wiki — a place for end users and developers of the Linux-based operating system called Fedora to collaborate.

•    What a Project! blog, which serves as a home to many projects at once. Use of other project blogs (Plogs). A project blog is a blog that is customized to record a project, or a deliverable task, with its goal, procedures and status changes. It includes a “completed” status, which puts an intended end to the blog when a project is completed.

Not Examples of Project Management 2.0:

•    Use of personal blogs written by people involved in the project. These are for individuals, and although these blogs may contain opinions and information on project management, collaboration and the nature of projects, blogs like these do not imply teamwork and the achievement of common goals.

•    Use of most traditional software systems, like Microsoft Project.  As discussed earlier, they’re not emergent and are not focused on collaboration.

•    Use of email and “classic” instant messaging for communications on a project. These applications do not allow interactions between people to be visible to the whole project team.

You may, of course, argue that this definition is too tool-centric. Well, when trying to elaborate on my old definition of Project Management 2.0, I was thinking about the role of technologies in this emerging trend, and I came to the conclusion that we should not underestimate the influence of technological innovations on the way we do business, communicate and live.

Following Manuel Castells, who wrote many scientific works on the IT Revolution, I’d say that “information technology is not the cause of the changes we are living through. But without new information and communication technologies, none of what is changing our lives would be possible.” This, in turn, brings me to the idea of a balanced project triangle: “people- processes-tools.” Tools are only a part of this chain, and this part is neither most important, nor insignificant. In order for a project to run smoothly, all three parts should be in balance.

Now I’d like to find out what you think about this updated definition. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

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