In response to project management challenges, project teams have turned to technology to attempt to reduce the costs of collaboration. The most visible recent development in technology-enabled project collaboration is the movement called “Project Management 2.0”. Project Management 2.0 has been defined in a number of ways, but the basic definition given is that Project Management 2.0 is the use of web 2.0 technologies to enable project teams to better share information, increase collaboration and to empower teams to get things done.
“Problems” with Project Management 2.0
Defined by technology
However, a problem with the current understanding of Project Management 2.0 is that it is difficult to define what it is, without discussing the role of technology. Additionally, it is difficult to define what makes a particular technology a “Project Management 2.0” technology. The most common example used is the “Project Wiki”, where all of the team members can update as necessary the tasks required, the status of tasks, project documentation and the like, and blogs have also been proposed as PM 2.0 technology, but other technologies as diverse as Voice over IP (VoIP), internet search engines and wifi have been put forward as PM 2.0 technologies. Because all of these technologies are general purpose technologies, it is hard to define when their use is for “project management”, rather than general collaboration, or simple user enablement.
Although they helped teams to collaborate, web 2.0 technologies came at a price. First, the technologies were islands. Users had to maintain accounts with a variety of providers, project team members might have to use multiple technologies for the same interactions across different projects. Second, many companies could not make use of the “free” web2.0 applications due to regulatory, privacy or other security & administrative reasons. Companies in this situation would need to provide internally hosted web 2.0 technologies, reducing the cost benefit of utilization. Third, few of these technologies were integrated with the enterprise architecture.
Project Management Process Largely Absent
Finally, the project management 2.0 “wave” seems to have left the Project Manager behind. While project collaboration can be significantly enhanced, and project task management and tracking is possible, web 2.0 technologies do not address the core challenges that the project manager faces, nor do they assist the project manager in the aggregation of information about the project. In fact, because of their distributed nature, these technologies increase the project manager’s difficulty of assessing progress and status.
What about Project Management 2.0 integrated systems?
Greatly improving upon the ad-hoc use of Web2.0 technologies, PM 2.0 platforms such as @task, and (many) others emerged. While these platforms integrated Web 2.0 capabilities into a unified project management platform, adoption still involves the creation of a technology island, usually hosted in the cloud, with little visibility outside the immediate project team members who are given access to the platform.
Even with these “problems”, we believe that Project Management 2.0 was and is a positive development for project teams’ collaboration and knowledge sharing. Project Management 2.0 empowered a project team to collaborate to complete tasks. What is needed, and what Social Project Management endeavors to make possible, is the next generation of project management visibility, taking the benefits of PM 2.0, integrating rich and rigorous project management tools, and adding to that the engagement of the full social network of the project community, in order to achieve the project’s goals.