What is it?
Project Management 2.0 isn't really that significant of a change from regular project management. What it is truly about is the ability for distributed teams to collaborate on projects. The concept of a geographically dispersed team tied together with Web 2.0 technology. PM best practices are still important - they still apply if you want to give your projects and teams the greatest chance for success. What's really different is the level of complete control the project manager has over the status of the project through collaborative tools and the amount of collaboration that can happen on the project.
There are understandably some perceived pros and cons associated with the concept of PM 2.0. Everyone has their argument and many aren’t interested in change or turning over control to traditional practices.
As mentioned, some PM camps see turning over areas of control to the project as a bad thing. When our teams are traditionally becoming more dispersed, this is actually a good thing. Team work is as important as ever, but we must do it in a different way in order to be productive and responsive to what must happen on our projects. Involving the team in project status management and ownership of task status is a good thing in almost every instance. Responsibility for collaborating and maintaining up to date project information on tasks breeds stronger ownership of those tasks and for the goals and missions of the project as a whole. The project manager still retains overall ownership of the project schedule and project oversight, and must ensure that the integration of key project management information into a central repository is actually happening – nothing changes there.
Collaborative project management is also a green concept. Using collaborative tools such as web-based ‘in the cloud’ project management and business tools like web-based PM software, wikis and knowledge sharing sites, and social media avenues like closed Facebook groups and Twitter to share information with team members and customers allows for more online work and remote management. Travel for ‘onsite’ meetings is decreased and printing of hardcopy schedules and status reports is decreased.
One major concern organizations have over PM 2.0 and the ability for it to be scalable to large projects. Many corporations still feel that a desktop solution with an onsite project manager or a fully onsite team is the answer to control, productivity, management, and customer service and satisfaction. Reality tells us, however, that it can be very productive. Many professional service organizations that are producing on project engagements for customers around the world have gone to a virtual team concept necessitating PM 2.0 type project management and collaboration as a means to remain productive and proactive. In those cases, relying on old school project management processes could cause failure and definitely would make it difficult for the PM, customer and team to have up to date project status and task information. And without that, success is extremely difficult. This is true for $20,000 projects as well as $20 million projects. Two-month engagements as well as two-year engagements.
Is PM 2.0 good or bad? I believe it is good, it is here today, it is necessary, and it is a likely and necessary transition – in today’s business world – from more traditional project management methodologies and communication practices to what best suites our project needs and our customers in today’s world. As I mentioned, best practices are still best practices. Those still must happen. Communication is still the most important responsibility for the project manager. And with organizations serving customers globally now rather than just locally, collaborative concepts that Web 2.0 and PM 2.0 technologies bring to us must be adapted and coordinated into the way we do business. Our customers expect it and we must deliver.