Project management 2.0 is one of these buzz words I don’t trust much. To make the thing more vague people label different thing with PM 2.0 name. Anyway in general I won’t be far from truth coming with a simple timeline: Web 2.0 brought Web 2.0 applications supporting project management, applications took “2.0” name as a differentiator and voila their users magically started doing project management 2.0. Some mixed that with agile growing into strength to make the meal spicier.
Similar position seems to be occupied by Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike, which I reviewed some time ago. In his guest article on Agile Software Development Made Easy blog Andrew stresses importance of tools in modern project management. Tools are there to help with on-line task actualization, easy collaboration and information sharing. In a role of Uncle Pure Evil we have good old MS Project. Andrew writes:
Traditional project management software applications, like MS Project, were created to support the waterfall project management style and are file-based. All the data on different projects are stored in various disconnected files and are usually accessible to the team members in the read-only mode. The existing combination of processes and tools does not encourage the team to contribute to project plans directly on a daily basis. With these solutions, someone has to connect all the pieces and bits of information into a bigger picture, and this person is the project manager. Traditional project management applications also are rarely suitable for distributed teams that work in a heterogeneous environment of multiple operating systems. This software is focused on the project manager and places him or her in the center of the project communications. It often means that the project manager must collect all the data and manually put the information into the project plan.
Well, sounds like using MS Project is crap. I’m no fan of the tool so you guys don’t need to discourage me to use it, but it still doesn’t sound appealing at all.
The problem is I used MS Project back then in 2001 and actually it solved every of problem mentioned above. We had mpp file deployed on a Project Server and the team was using MS Project Web Access (in their browsers) to update their tasks on a daily basis. Updates were instantly seen by team manager (we didn’t have anyone with “Project Manager” printed on their business card).
Sharing documents? Share Point Server dealt with this. Areas created for each version of software, design documents published, stored and edited there. Email alerts incoming every time something has been changed. And yes, it worked in a browser. I know SPS is a crap now. Imagine how crappy it was 8 years ago. But it did the job.
By no means would I advise you to use this combo (MS Project + SPS) now to aid your project management. The point I’m trying to make is that we basically done project management 2.0 back then in 2001 when no one even thought of that name. Why? Because good project management hasn’t changed that much over time. I fully agree here with Glen Alleman who points that project management principles remain the same.
OK we’re still trying to find better ways to reach our goals: better tools, more suitable methodologies, better adjusted practices etc but is that all so different than it used to be? Nah.
Above example shows how artificial are efforts to create new market just with new cool slogans. Yet it would be hard to say they’re completely unsuccessful too. Anyway don’t tell me PM 2.0 is great because it’s, well, 2.0, brand new, it’s all about collaboration and nice tools which come in package. Don’t tell me because we did it in 2001 already.