While much has been discussed around the business benefits of cloud technology and superfast mobile broadband, little has been said about how project managers are under more pressure than ever to adapt to the growing role of technology in organisations, the increasingly global nature of business, and customers’ evolving expectations.
Experts agree that new technologies will make true mobility and on-demand intelligence a reality, allowing people to work on their own terms and enabling leaner, more productive workspaces. However, according to a recent report, new technologies are also having an impact on European business habits and changing how people work together on projects. The study reveals that inefficient ways of working lead project managers to waste up to 20 working days a year, resulting in stress, missed deadlines and overextended budgets. Decreased productivity and project chaos ensue.
In light of this, how can businesses and their teams keep up with the 24/7, data-driven world? Following these three steps can help.
STEP 1: Be mobile
Teams need to be able to communicate and collaborate without boundaries and use tools which will allow them to access data and do their jobs from any type of device, whenever and wherever they want. But despite the growing number of cloud-based, virtualised tools available for laptops, mobile phones and tablets, lack of communication between team members is still a big headache for businesses.
By embracing integrated, easy-to-use systems that reduce organisational complexity, companies can get rid of communication chaos and enjoy the benefits of true mobility, boosting accessibility amongst teams, whilst still gaining the control they need to properly plan and manage projects.
STEP 2: Build an online workspace
Lean collaborative workspaces call for the right tools to ensure effective collaboration and maximum productivity gains – regardless of where each team member might be. With more and more companies of all sizes having geographically dispersed teams and adopting flexible working policies, today’s businesses are in search of cloud-based tools to set up virtual project rooms, where they’re able to communicate and collaborate with their teams as effectively as if they were sitting across the table from each other.
Most project managers believe that replacing outdated project management tools with better collaboration platforms would empower them to manage their time, budgets and teams more effectively. Despite this, only half say that their IT department supports the use of new technologies.
It’s crucial that businesses get their IT teams’ buy-in for more innovative ways of working, such as digital Kanban and Gantt tools, which can empower teams with collaborative planning and execution in the cloud, while providing the project manager with a complete overview of the progress made.
The latest technology trends are also driving changes in physical work spaces. More and more organisations are transforming their offices to help build a more agile and lean business both online and offline. The lean collaborative workspace is all about co-creation amongst peers rather than change from above. It’s about fostering happier, more communicative teams who are more committed to achieving common goals and to the business as a whole.
STEP 3: Secure your data
Technology is seen as a solution to many of today’s business challenges. In fact, three-quarters of project managers expect new management and collaboration tools to lead to fewer project delays and two-thirds think these technologies can help them control costs better.
Nevertheless, it also poses risks. Keeping data safe has never been as important as it is today. But while two-thirds of project managers can access sensitive data in their organisation, only half can see who has actually read, changed or downloaded a shared document.
It’s important to remember that not all clouds are created equal. Many free tools could put sensitive data at risk because they have major flaws that could easily be exploited. Only the appropriate safeguards can protect managers, their teams, and their organisations’ revenue and reputation.
Businesses need to ensure that teams know about the risks of using free tools, opting for those that have been certified by a third party, and are equipped with the latest encryption technologies. By adopting a simple, open, company-wide policy and achieving a balance between security and user friendliness in any technology choices they make, companies can avoid data ending up in the wrong hands.
Achieve project harmony
Businesses that embrace innovative ways of working with the help of the latest technologies will lead the way in turning project management chaos into harmony in today’s digital world.
In order to be able to manage projects successfully, project managers need to balance several elements, including motivated teams, easy collaboration, smooth communication, and getting things done on time and within budget. When balance is achieved, projects run like clockwork. But, if just one of those elements slips, the balance is disrupted and chaos follows.
Though ever-changing technologies might sometimes catch businesses off-guard, the latest advances are proving vital in empowering companies to face chaotic, inefficient ways of working head-on. By using tools that enable new ways of working, they can propel smarter, goal-driven collaboration and ensure project success.
Maria Nordborg is the director of customer relations at Projectplace
Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs