Why Project Management 2.0 Is a Different Ball Game
that I attended in October, I met many project management practitioners. Some of them asked me about my views on Project Management 2.0. One of the questions was “How is Project Management 2.0  different from what many organizations have today?” I decided to summarize my answers and came up with a short list of key factors that distinguish Project Management 2.0 from traditional project management. They are: Environment. Manuel Castells, the author of "The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (v. 1-3)" and a visiting professor in 15 universities around the world, states that we are currently experiencing an IT revolution, just like our predecessors lived through an agricultural revolution and an industrial revolution. According to Castells, there is a shift from industrialism (mass production) to informationalism (flexible production), and this new type of economy is empowered by the development of technologies— first of all, the Internet. As the world shifts from an industrial economy to an information economy and big part of the workforce becomes information workers, the importance of innovation, creativity and productivity rises. In traditional project management, people are often managed like any other resource, just like bricks and machines. In the present economy, people cannot be managed the same way, as it will simply be counterproductive. In Project Management 2.0, people are encouraged to participate in project planning, to introduce their ideas on project development and to give their feedback on other team members’ jobs. Environment as the main differentiator drives the other distinctions listed below: Collaboration and collective intelligence. In an information economy, only organizations that are flexible enough, so that people and capacity can be rearranged and recombined quickly without major structural change, will be able to thrive. Quick access to information and rapid data-sharing become critically important in this environment, as they help companies minimize expenses, innovate, make better decisions and make them faster. Project Management 2.0 emphasizes the importance of leveraging the collective intelligence of the whole team, no matter where the team members are located, at the same office or on different continents. At the same time, Project Management 2.0 stimulates collaboration and catalyzes the change in processes. Here I’d like to paraphrase Andrew MacAfee’s quote about Enterprise 2.0 and apply it to the new trend in project management: Project Management 2.0 technologies are “trying hard not to impose on users any preconceived notions about how work should proceed or how output should be categorized or structured. Instead, they’re building tools that let these aspects of knowledge work emerge.” Emergent structures, one of the basic principles of Project Management 2.0, empowers people on the team level to easily share information and make changes to their part of the project plan. This way, bottom-up field knowledge makes its way into a project schedule, and the schedule becomes more realistic. Comparing this approach with the one represented by most current project management platforms, wiki inventor Ward Cunningham highlights an important shortcoming of the traditional way. He says: “For questions like ‘What’s going on in the project?’ we could design a database. But whatever fields we put in the database would turn out to be what’s not important about what’s going on in the project. What’s important about the project is the stuff you don’t anticipate.” The Project Management 2.0 focus on collective intelligence stipulates the next differentiator. Shift in the project manager’s role. Traditionally, the project management role is focused a lot on tight control of the budget and schedule. This part of the project management job becomes more subtle in a talent economy. Organizational agility requires a more flexible approach to budgeting and deadlines. At the same time, the importance of leveraging the human talent becomes more prominent.  Therefore, other parts of a project manager’s job, such as leadership skills, become more important. It's no longer enough for project managers to possess good people skills and to be fluent in project management best practices, tools and methodologies. To succeed today, project managers need enhanced leadership skills. They need to be flexible and focused on business value, writes Forrester Analyst Mary Gerush in “Define, Hire and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers.” Productivity. Web 2.0 tools allow an unprecedented productivity increase when it comes to information-sharing and communications. There are many examples spanning from the consumer arena to the enterprise space, from Wikipedia and Facebook to GE’s corporate collaboration system. Project Management 2.0 focuses on taking advantage of this productivity to achieve better results in shorter periods of time. Have I enumerated all the distinguishing traits of Project Management 2.0? What’s your take on the main differentiators of Project Management 2.0? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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