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Effect of Technology and Project Management Tools on Project Management Processes

2900 words (12 pages) Business Assignment

26th Oct 2020 Business Assignment Reference this

Tags: Business AssignmentsProject Management

Abstract

How are technology and project management tools affecting the project management processes? In this report I conduct a literature review on how the project management precess is being affected by the current advances in technology. I reference some of the new and old project management tools that are utilized by the industry. In the modern world, many industries if not all are utilizing technology to simplify the way in which business are conducted. Technology makes certain processes more simple and effective. In project management there are many tools that assist project managers from the beginning to the end of a project. Tools in project management are used to create estimates, project plans, generate reports e.t.c. “Many tools and techniques have been discovered and applied widely for a long period of time among project managers around the world with great contributions to the success of projects (Quynh Le Hua Xuan, Massoud Moslehpour, & Dat Tran Tien. 2019)”

Introduction

Projects have been around us for as long as humanity has existed. A project is defined as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates that a project has a definite beginning and end (PMBOK)” There has always been the need to construct, designs, plan or build something. All projects regardless of size require some type of  management. There are different types of projects and they all require different types of tools or technology to be used. In this report we will look at a few  different types of projects and different types of tools used by project managers to manage them.

Advances in technology have come to simplify many aspects of our life. Everywhere we look there is something in which technology is being used either to improve its performance or to simplify the task. Project management professionals have also taken advantage of technological advances to assist and improve effectiveness with the management of projects.

This literature review explores how  the project management processes are affected by the new project management software developments or  project management tools. New software and hardware developments have been affecting the way in which industries bring about their projects. There are several project management tools that are utilized by project management professionals in  many different types of industries and projects. We look at how some tools or software are more effective than others.  Choosing the appropriate tools is ultimately a decision made by the project manger, but many times the type, size and complexity of the project have a lot of say in the selection process. Some projects do not require sophisticated tools for their development while others make use of a combination of them.  The consensus is that advances in technology have created project management tools that are very useful in assisting  project managers. The new era of project management tools makes it easier to solve many of the  challenges project managers face when dealing with complex projects.

Background

Projects vary in a large variety of ways. Every project is unique in their own way “Managing a project can be a complex and challenging assignment as all the aspects of the projects may be unique in nature and pose new problems everyday (Mishra, R. C., & Soota, T. 2005). Project management is different for every single organization or industry out there. The tools and the technology requirement for each industry are also different.

As with many industries and organizations technology has gone from being analog to digital. This has made it possible for communication and computing to be far more effective than it used to be.  The PMBOK uses the analog vs digital analogy to show that that the way projects are done today has changed.  In an analog system all resources are utilized to get one process done and the system is only capable of getting one process or task done at the time. In a digital setting work is broken down into smaller pieces,  this smaller pieces are known as packages, they go thought a process and are then sent to resources within the organization that are capable of executing those packages “digital communications, work is broken down into smaller pieces, carefully quantified, labeled, and assigned by means of the work package, and then routed to resources in the organization that are capable of executing the pieces of work (Project Management Institute, 2017)” All the smaller parts that were completed by different resources of the organization are the assembled to conform a final product. According the PMBOK the same way that telecommunications was affected by digital technology, is also happening to project management. Projects are no longer being viewed as a whole project in which all resources are used for its development but one project gets broken down into smaller projects  and then the smaller components get assigned to deferents resources that execute that part of the project.

According to the article (Project Management) some of the programs and processes used in project management continue to fall short in many different levels. Programs and processes are not producing the required outputs. This article calls for better management of technology resources in order to be more efficient. “There is also an apparent disconnect between technical activities and project management processes as well as difficulties caused by inadequate project planning (Collins, R. 2011)”  Collins also advices that project management processes can be improved by exploring the application of systems engineering and systems thunking to the management of projects.

Modern Project Management

The current changes  in technology have let products and processes to evolve at accelerated speeds. According to the article (Modern Project Management) the growing of computer based techniques and the use of the internet, e-commerce has opened new avenues for the exploration of web based project management. Web based project management technology has being very useful not only in assisting with the planning and development of new complex project as but is also assisting with risk management, and decision making process as well. Risk management is a very important part of project management. Project managers and stakeholders need to be aware of all risks associated with a project both negative and positive. Decision making is also very important due to the fact that organizations want to be able to not only accomplish a projects but also accomplish the right projects. “project.Decision-making is essentially a part of project management, today a project manager finds a lot of project management tools such as Program Evaluation and Review Technique(PERT), Critical Path Method (CPM), Quantitative Analysis Method, Decision Support Systems(DSS), Project quality control techniques, etc (Mishra, R. C., & Soota, T. 2005)”

Project management tools

Project management is defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements” (PMBOK, 2017). A project manager is the person who is in charge of managing all resources and creating a plan that will lead to the successful completion of a project.

Not all projects require expensive project management software or tools some projects can be completed using simplistic items like spread sheets, sticky notes or calendars “ Oftentimes, you may rely on spreadsheets, task lists, and sticky notes to try to keep everything in order (Richards, C. J. 2019)” Some projects can be completed with simple technology, but depending on the size and complexity of the project other sophisticated tools may be required. According to the article (Select the Right Project Management Tool) in the past when project managers wanted to use a project management tool to manage the work, project managers had to rely on clunky system that often offered more functionality than what was needed. Those tools are described as being overwhelming, often had a thick book of instructions that came with them and  trying to learn  to use them was extremely difficult. Project management tools are supposed to help make work easier not the other way around. There are several tools available in the market these days. Project mangers have the task to examine and make decisions on  what project management tools best meets their needs. There are simple tools that manage tasks well. Task management tools are good for projects that are not very large and do not have a great deal of complexity. Larger and complex projects require project management tools. “Project management tools are best for complex projects that require the integration of resource planning and utilization, the building of complex schedules, and applying sophisticated cost management analyses (Richards, C. J. 2019)” 

When choosing a project management tools project managers have to look at certain things such as: Project or organizational needs, cost, learning curve, user support, mobile or cloud feature, team collaboration feature among others (Richards, C. J. 2019) All of those items are very important when selecting the proper project management tool. Each project has its unique needs so the selection process needs to be treated on a case by case scenario “Different project management tools/ techniques or practices have different approach to support the project performance (Quynh Le Hua Xuan, Massoud Moslehpour, & Dat Tran Tien. 2019)”

Some of the areas of project management affected by new technology

Communication

As we already know, communication is key for the success of any project. Communication between project manager, stakeholders and the team members is detrimental for project or product success “Communications is the cornerstone of effective project management, and yet most of it is done ad hoc, driven by individuals, personalities, and preferences, rather than by needs, protocols, processes, and procedures (Pritchard , Carl L. 2014)” Project managers now are not restricted to just one form of communication. Project managers and the project team have many  reliable forms of  communication available  to them in order to ensure project success. Technology is used for all types of communication to include sending instant messages, video conferences, sending and editing documents over the web etc.

Efficiency in the cloud

Project management software has been around for several years, however many smaller organizations or companies were unable to justify paying for the expense as it was way too costly (Neyem, A., Diaz-Mosquera, J., & Benedetto, J. I. 2018). Cloud computing and software as a service have made it possible for all or most of those companies to be able to use mobile software services offered by many companies. Cloud project management technology is more reliable, easier to use and cost effective. (Neyem, A., Diaz-Mosquera, J., & Benedetto, J. I. 2018)

Real time updates and reporting

Back in the day, it might have taken project managers some time to get updates from stakeholders. The project manager would then update the project and distribute the updated status to the team. Now due to cloud based project management software, proejct managers can check on status, make updates and correct issues in matter of seconds.(Neyem, A., Diaz-Mosquera, J., & Benedetto, J. I. 2018)

Mobility

Because of advanced communication forms and improved web based project management software services teams can work on a project without having to meet face to face or without being in the same building. Teams can work on any particular project whether they are in different cities, countries or different continents. This can provide better alignment of resources and also improve the effectiveness of the team.

Collaboration

Project team members can use cloud collaboration tools to communicate in real time and organize all of their intersections and work documents in one location.

Conclusion 

Technology has definitively changed the way in which we live. It has changed the way we work, the way we communicate and the way in which we conduct business. Project management was not immune to the advances in technology. Project mangers and organizations have also taken advantage of the innovations that are available. Project management tools are now more reliable and effective. Advanced in forms of real time communication is responsible for more successful project completion. Advances in cloud computing and software as a a service (SaaS) have made it possible for software and project management tools to be more user friendly, faster and more cost effective. This reports only covers a few of the ways in which advances in technology have affected project management processes. There are many other ways in which technology has positively impacted project management as a whole.

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