The use of advanced technology in business environments can sometimes be jarring. Adjustments can be difficult, and on top of that many employees across a range of industries worry that technology can make them obsolete. These can be legitimate concerns in some cases. But, more often than not, technology serves instead to simplify processes and, ultimately, make life easier on people as they go about performing their jobs. This is certainly proving to be the case where project management is concerned.
Project management demands and processes vary across different businesses and industries, which means that not all teams in this category can implement modern technology in exactly the same ways. Here we’ll examine a few key ways in which tech can and has changed project management for the better.
Communication & File Sharing
Maybe the biggest change that technology has brought about for project management teams is a simplification of communication among groups in a work setting. In 2019, our post on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams’ touched on the idea that various barriers to regular communication can negatively impact productivity. And the same is absolutely true for project management teams of all kinds.
Now, however, there are several different communications platforms that are being used in professional environments to streamline collaboration. Often enough, they’re used to simplify digital communications in office environments in general, providing a space where everyone from a manager to a part-time freelancer can log in, see shared information, engage in relevant chats, and generally stay up to speed. These platforms can also be invaluable for project management teams.
For instance, think about a fairly common project such as developing a website or an app for a business. These are projects that involve contributions from people with different skills in conjunction with one another. A page design can’t be completed without understanding of the content layout; content layout can’t be finalized without a thoroughly developed visual aesthetic, and so on. On these modern communication platforms, these matters can easily be discussed between relevant parties such that the greater project can move forward. Updates and examples can be shared, and people can easily work with relevant collaborators whenever they need to.
In the past, one issue that plagued some project management teams is how to get everyone on the same page in more multi-faceted projects. There haven’t always been structured ways for different aspects of one overarching project to be addressed in a cohesive manner. This is changing, however, thanks in large part to both abstract and specific software.
In the abstract, we can refer back to some of the communication and file sharing points just discussed. Cloud-based collaboration allows project management teams to talk and share information, at the very least, even if different people are addressing different tasks. However, we also see more options today for collaborative design in more specific areas.
Consider as an example- the design of printed circuit boards — something that is addressed by virtually innumerable teams supporting a limitless range of electronics around the world. PCB design for modern electronics is complex, such that a single PCB can involve various circuit board parts, different schematic layouts, and so on. Once upon a time, these components would all have been designed separately, or in a gradual sequence. Now, software enables projects in which all of the aspects of a single PCB design project can be viewed at once, and progress on each facet of the design is readily apparent.
This PCB design scenario is just one example, but it speaks to how specific collaborative design software can simplify project management and make team operations more cohesive.
Another major area in which technology, and specifically modern software is impacting project management is in scheduling. As any experienced project manager will tell you, it is absolutely vital to the success of a project to have a clear picture of when tasks will be completed, and when (and how) team members will be occupied. Without the use of technology, tracking all this information can be tedious and tricky, particularly for larger projects. Now, however, things are easier.
Numerous scheduling chart software options have become available in recent years, and they’re getting easier and easier to manage. These options enable project managers to quickly input information and visualize progress (or the lack thereof) such that they can always stay on top of tasks and team members, even where bigger projects are concerned. In this case, software is basically enabling an easier way to handle tasks that can be done by hand, or in spreadsheets. But the differences in convenience and effectiveness are significant.
There are without a doubt many more ways in which technology can affect project management in positive ways, where specific jobs are concerned. The examples above, however, apply across the board, and can make it easier to handle projects ranging from app design to the construction of a new building.
Exclusively written for testwithnishi.com by Julia Brooke
Author Bio – Julia Brooke has been working in the tech industry for over 6 years now. She began as an IT support specialist, before being promoted to IT lead. She now works as a web developer for a Kansas City-based startup. Cognizant of the demands of the industry, she wants to someday organize a support group for her peers.