The demands of an increasingly collaborative and digital business environment have highlighted the need for project management to get up to speed on the latest technological advances.
A recent roundtable hosted by Project looked at changes within the industry that are giving shape to modern project delivery. Hosted by Atos at its London offices in association with online collaboration software provider Planview, the event heard views from project and programme management experts on the skills, capabilities and cultural changes needed to embrace technology in the industry.
Getting things done
So what has technology brought to the project management table? In a word, effectiveness.
According to Steve Beaumont, solutions marketing manager at Planview, “what has changed is project collaboration: it has gone beyond the [traditional focus on planning] to getting things done.”
This has changed everything.
“The expectations have changed. Clients now expect faster delivery, maintaining zero failure and no outages in their business. And that has put real pressure on project management communities,” said Alex Bolton, vice president for solutions and projects, T-Systems.
Stephen Jones, director of the Nichols Group, says it goes even further than that. “Today, people expect to know what is going on right now and to have the systems to tell them what they should do.”
But technology inevitably raises questions, most often around security. David Swallow, head of digital plans at Atos, said even with enabling technologies like cloud computing, clients want to know that their data is secure.
Head of programme management at HS2, Andy Ranger-Walsh, admitted that having technology in the mix can require a huge culture change. How is this achieved? “[The CEO] needs to lead by example – [to avoid] a culture within which people are afraid to make decisions,” he said.
In the end, it’s all about trust. Tapping into technology can deliver significant business change, but this comes at a risk of failure.
“You need to introduce a real element of trust and partnership,” Bolton added. “I think we’re still quite a way away from that. We need to continue to become more mature as a profession and step up to the new world and expectations.”