Project management in the age of Web 2.0

They already managed ages ago! So why don’t we manage to realize something as simple as a web application? That’s more or less how I started my yesterday evening’s presentation at the 3Camp meeting in Gdańsk. Ages ago people managed to fulfill miraculous projects with hardly any tools. Today we can choose from a wide range of tools, but still we do not manage to run a project according to the client’s needs. What goes wrong?

A quick poll showed that fortunately most of the developers, I guess about 60%, claimed to use at least some procedures or ways of working that could be called “project management”. On the other hand this still means that we can gain a lot. In my opinion you shouldn’t start any project without a minimum amount of project management rules and tools involved.

Usage of basic project management rules will directly improve your project

Defining your project, dividing tasks and preparing a time line make that you continuously will be aware whether the project is going well and when a release can be expected. It enables you to answer questions of clients and management and if somebody interupts you and will try to add some functionality at least you will be able to show the impact of this change for the deadline, budget, scope or quality of the project. Because what ever change will be introduced, this will always have to influence something. As we all know clients and managers will always try the opposite. In general more needs to be delivered cheaper and quicker and the quality level should be the same. It might be clear that in my opinion this is a mission impossible.

Choose the best of both worlds

To be honest that above is not new and far from “Web 2.0”. This is common sense that we also learned ages ago. A lot of this common sense is grouped in “best practices” like the Prince2 project management approach. But knowing Prince2 doesn’t mean that you are a good project manager. Managing projects is something you need to learn by doing. And while doing you need to find out what best practices are the most applicable to your situation. For sure an approach like Prince2 can support today’s projects. The main disadvantage might be the rather static and control focused approach. Therefore, I advice to combine Prince2 with a more Agile approach, by combining the best of both worlds.

The business case within Prince2 is f.e. something I really would like everybody to use. Because too often people want to build or realize something without really knowing and understanding why. Recently I found out that a simple question: “How are you going to earn money with it?” very often couldn’t be answered. In such a case you have to think twice before you start the project.

Use the best of both project management worlds

Tooling has increased dramatically

The main difference in between “old” and “new”  ways of managing projects is probably the amount of tools available today to support you in managing your projects. Some years ago one of the main tools was Microsoft Project. Probably this is still a widely accepted standard, but today a lot more online services are available that support collaboration in between the team and the client.

Especially these tools make that today a lot more people are working together in a dramatically different way than we did several years ago. Working remotely is a lot easier. Teams spread over the whole world manage to cooperate by means of these tools.

Relatively cheap or even free ways of communication like VoIP and Skype make that people can easily discuss with each other on a daily basis to make that everything is clear. All kind of web based ticketing systems enable people to work on the right things and it shares the needed information with the whole team. Integration servers build the new release enabling daily releases if needed. Information can easily be shared through f.e. blogs or Twitter accounts and documents can be shared through a central document sharing platform. In fact you are able to work where ever you like.

Project management and team collaboration tools

For sure this new collaboration approach demands another type of project manager. The project manager 2.0! Feel free to check my presentation at Slideshare. In case of any questions feel free to contact me. Please share your opinion below or discuss online on Twitter: @PetersOpinion

22 comments On Project management in the age of Web 2.0

  • Yes I do agree Peter.

    Project management is changing. We need to go from very strict and formal ways of managing projects to a more flexible way with this availability of Online tools.

  • Yes I do agree Peter.

    Project management is changing. We need to go from very strict and formal ways of managing projects to a more flexible way with this availability of Online tools.

  • It is kind of a pain that projects these days or so overcomplicated that we need to use all of these complicated project management tools, but complicated results need complicated processes i guess!

    • Thanks for the reply Santex. To be honest, I feel a bit the same. I prefer to look for simplicity as well. An overkill of procedures and tools is not productive. It’s a real challenge to find the proper balance and I am not going to claim that I found the best balance yet. Sometimes it is just “trial and error” to find the best working way. Besides every project and every client demand different approaches.

  • It is kind of a pain that projects these days or so overcomplicated that we need to use all of these complicated project management tools, but complicated results need complicated processes i guess!

    • Thanks for the reply Santex. To be honest, I feel a bit the same. I prefer to look for simplicity as well. An overkill of procedures and tools is not productive. It’s a real challenge to find the proper balance and I am not going to claim that I found the best balance yet. Sometimes it is just “trial and error” to find the best working way. Besides every project and every client demand different approaches.

  • Both Prince and Agile have value to add to a project. I advocate using Prince to run the bigger project, provide milestones, measures and some best practice templates. Most large software projects do not need an agile approach of every deliverable. Many organizations use traditional SDLC methods for most of the project and use agile for critical, time sensitive original coding. There is a place for use of both in a single project, but Agile is great for individual deliverables, but you do need more than Agile to manage the overall project.

    At CA we provide a Prince accelerator for the overall project control methodology and support agile practices within the CA Software Change Manager supported deliverables, where needed.

    • Thanks Pradeep for your great reply. For sure I agree that both Prince2 and Agile have useful parts. And when you are looking for control Prince2 could suit you better while running a big project. However, the question is how an Agile approach could change “big” projects. There are already several benchmarks available that prove that an Agile approach results in big efficiency gains for big projects as well. The main issue is probably that many people prefer to choose the safe route. Hardly any project manager will be fired for choosing Prince2. But if the project would fail because of an Agile approach ……

  • Both Prince and Agile have value to add to a project. I advocate using Prince to run the bigger project, provide milestones, measures and some best practice templates. Most large software projects do not need an agile approach of every deliverable. Many organizations use traditional SDLC methods for most of the project and use agile for critical, time sensitive original coding. There is a place for use of both in a single project, but Agile is great for individual deliverables, but you do need more than Agile to manage the overall project.

    At CA we provide a Prince accelerator for the overall project control methodology and support agile practices within the CA Software Change Manager supported deliverables, where needed.

    • Thanks Pradeep for your great reply. For sure I agree that both Prince2 and Agile have useful parts. And when you are looking for control Prince2 could suit you better while running a big project. However, the question is how an Agile approach could change “big” projects. There are already several benchmarks available that prove that an Agile approach results in big efficiency gains for big projects as well. The main issue is probably that many people prefer to choose the safe route. Hardly any project manager will be fired for choosing Prince2. But if the project would fail because of an Agile approach ……

  • Hi Peter, interesting article and you are right, the Pyramids were a major project and are still standing today, yet many of the projects we run today reach completion, let alone mature into international treasures.

    Having PM’d for 10 years now, I have never aligned myself to any particular Project Methodology, finding it much more appropriate to adjust my ways of working to suit my Employers or Clients ways of working. Whilst this has worked for me, it would not necessarily suit everyone.

    In addition, wherever I work, I lean very heavily on one document type, that being my Risks, Actions Issues Log which is updated day by day.

    Over the last 2 years my company have developed a tool called CredAbility (http://www.credability.info), which is marketed as a Project Control tool and wraps up Risks, Actions, Issues and others in a Hierarchy that also facilitates Corporate Reporting.

    Its a great tool, take a look … http://www.credability.info

  • Hi Craig, thanks for your reply. In general I also prefer to follow a more flexible approach that fit the client best. Several methodologies are just to strict. I prefer cherry picking.

  • Hi Craig, thanks for your reply. In general I also prefer to follow a more flexible approach that fit the client best. Several methodologies are just to strict. I prefer cherry picking.

  • Hi nice post.
    I noticed that you have a link linking to prince2.com using the text PRINCE2. I thought you probably meant to link to the official prince2 website: prince2.org.uk.

    It is probably more appropriate to link to prince2.org.uk, especially that APMG (the accreditation body of PRINCE2) is becoming increasingly concerned with the copyright issues in terms of domains that contain the word PRINCE2.

    Out of good faith I thought you might want to know this and update the link.

    best regards,
    Jay

    • Oh, i also thougt that prince2.com is the official site. Obviousely not…prince2.org.uk is the right one.
      Thanks for the information.

      *********************
      IT-Beratung

  • Hi Jay, thanks for your reply. You are right, the link was wrong. I replaced it with the appropriate one.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Site Footer