In an interview on PM411, there is a description of the attributes of PM 2.0. Setting aside the product promotion, I feel compelled to review the notions on which PM 2.0 paradigm is built.
As a practicing program manager in a variety of industries, I'd like to take each sentence and address the misinformation being used as the basis of the "next new thing."
Traditional project management is focused on the project manager being the center of the team’s communication hub. It places the manager in the center of the project work, as they need to collect all the information from team members, process it, and then communicate to various project stakeholders, including upper management.
Let's start with what PMBOK® 4th edition has to say.
- Chapter 10 - Project Communications Management makes it clear that "project communications" evolves everyone on the project.
- Starting with the identification of the stakeholders, the primary goal of external communications is to mange the expectation of these stakeholder.
- A critical issue in this chapter is the distribution of information inside and outside the project. §10.3 describes how to assess the needs of the project for starting with the "sender-receiver" model.
Project planning can especially be hard and time consuming since all the project information is concentrated only around a single person — the project manager.
This of course is complete nonsense. Any credible project management method involves all responsible parties in the planning process. This ranges from the full team in a Scrum project to the Control Account Managers and their Technical Leads in a large defense programs.
Where this notion that planning ... is concentrated only around a single person - the project manager, may come from missing information on how GOOD project management practices are applied. No doubt the author may have experienced BAD project management, but a simple read of PMBOK® would provide the needed guidance to see the statement is without merit.
There are alternative "planning" processes, PRINCE2 for example. IMP/IMS is one we use in defense.All credible planning processes involve "everyone impacted" by the plan. To do otherwise would be blatant ignorance of the role of "project management."
This contributes significantly to what a project manager spends 90% of their time doing – communicating.
This of course is one of the unsubstituted claims so common in the "next new thing" approach. Because if you're trying sell a new concept, one of the first impulses is to claim the competition is flawed.
New-generation project management tools make it possible to create a collaborative team space, and everyone involved in the project is able to contribute to the project work in this space. Project planning and communication is distributed around the whole team, and each team member has the full information on the project. Project progress is visible to everyone on the team.
The project manager’s role is transformed from the traditional taskmaster to become a project visionary as they focus more on the right direction for the project development. The new-generation tools take away part of the typical traditional burden of project management and allows the project manager to focus more on leading the project team.
I guess the web based collaboration tools, ones that have been in place for a decade, are insufficient to meet the PM 2.0 paradigm.
Of course this is one of those unsubstituted claims again. My sense is it comes from not having been a project manager before 2001 when all those things described above were in place in many forms - not Web 2.0 forms of course. Many were implemented in crude ways - sticky notes on the wall, or the Big Visible Chart hanging in the hall of Building O6 at TRW. Yes it was printed out overnight - every night - and not interactive through a workstation. But the first Sun Workstations were used to "display" this information. Bill Joy, BTW, helped us debug the memory manager for our embedded version of Real Time BSD Unix.
This may be the basis of PM 2.0. All the GOOD PM processes that have been around for ever re-hosted on Web 2.0 tools and re-branded as PM 2.0. But of course that's not what the author is saying.
As a short story of the each team member has full information on the project or the supposed missing information in PM 1.0. When we came in through security process every morning, if you saw your name in the Big Visible Chart in RED, then you knew shortly the Control Account Manager would be dropping by.
With Project Management 2.0, the project management of a project is built around the work, rather than the work being forced to conform to a particular project management system.
This of course is more nonsense. The only reason for a project is to produce an outcome. This outcome comes from work being forced to conform.
So now it's clear. The project participants are predisposed to "follow the particular project management system." This is the very basis of projects and project management. Whether this "project management system," is XP, or Scrum, or Crystal, or all the way up to DoD 5000.02 IMP/IMS the success of a project depends on conforming to a particular project management system.
Now, New-generation technologies have brought collective intelligence into the project management process. and open the way to another successful practice, emergent structures, where the one-to-many approach of conventional Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) is replaced by a many-to-many approach of work package delivery.
This is a fundamental violation of one of the immutable principles of project management - describe what "done" looks like in units meaningful to both customers and suppliers. The many-to-many relationships violate the transitive closure problems in databases. Multiple - and likely inconsistent - descriptions of the same thing.
So the take away from the PM 2.0 description seems to be:
Use PM 2.0 to do your own thing, 'cause we sure don't want to be hemmed in by following a particular project management process do we?
So How Can PM 2.0 Actually Be Put To Work?
- Use tools to remove impediments to visibility by homogenizing the information. This means standard units of measure, predefined assessments of "done." Things like that. This of course is difficult in any enterprise because of missing Enterprise Architecture to gain access to the needed information.
- Use tools to build a seamless traceability up and down the "fidelity" chain. From Capabilities descriptions in the business case or Concept of Operations down to working product test scripts. This is a real challenge since these tools started as standalone domains.
- Significantly reduce the cost footprint on the desktop. With multiple applications on the desktop the cost of information access is prohibitive, forcing a small number of users being allowed to this information.
- Provide "work flows" that can adapt to the changing needs of the project. This means tailoring within a PM method at the project level.
This last piece from PM 1.0 is the real burden on the project. The suggested burdens above are simply BAD PM. Provide low cost access and this narrow access channel to project information is removed. And you get PM 2.0.
So do this and stop all the red herring blather, which is simply BAD PM'ing from day one. Read PMBOK or any BOK and learn how to do PM right.