Project Management 2.0 – The Ultimate Benefits Of The New Approach To Project Management

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESSES BROUGHT BY ENTERPRISE 2.0

The social network phenomenon has already transformed the consumer Web into so-called “Web 2.0.” Now Web 2.0 is affecting business processes in thousands of organizations by offering incredible communication and collaboration opportunities known as “Enterprise 2.0.” “All these things that are thought to be consumer services are coming into the enterprise,” says former Oracle Corp. President Ray Lane, now a general partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Major corporations all over the world, such as IBM, Procter & Gamble, and Walt Disney, have embraced Enterprise 2.0 technologies. We are witnessing the transformation of traditional ways of doing business, and this transformation is caused by the new-generation applications.

The term Enterprise 2.0 was coined by Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, in spring 2006. Professor McAfee introduced this term to describe the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their peers (partners or customers).

Through the adoption of wikis, blogs, collaboration planning tools, social networks, and other “weapons of mass collaboration,” as Don Trapscott calls them in his book Wikinomics, collaboration patterns are changing in today’s organizations. Enterprise 2.0 software and business practices provide managers with access to the right information at the right time through a system of interconnected applications and services. Examples of thousands of small companies as well as giants like Microsoft, Toyota, and many others show that Web-based Enterprise 2.0 applications let businesses obtain a huge competitive advantage in the form of enforced innovation, productivity, and agility through access to the collective intelligence of many professionals.

Efficient gathering and sharing of information, facilitated social connections within enterprises, and improved customer interactions are not the only benefits that Enterprise 2.0 software delivers to small companies and huge corporations. Let’s see how these tools can help to manage projects.

THE NEW APPROACH TO MANAGING PROJECTS

The Enterprise 2.0 movement is naturally affecting and captivating project management in organizations. Blogs, wikis, and other second-generation tools offer better opportunities for communication and collaboration. Thus they provide a great potential for improving existing project management practices.

Traditionally, a project manager is the major link in all project-related communications. This directly influences the efficiency of the team, as well as the manager’s own productivity. Nowadays, many companies still utilize Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or traditional project management applications, like Microsoft Project, for tracking their projects. E-mailing text documents and spreadsheets is still very popular, despite its many shortcomings.

E-mail is a closed communication medium, and many companies confirm that it does a poor job of capturing and sharing knowledge. For example, if you e-mail a document to two people, you then have three copies of this document to manage, merge, and differentiate. It is hard to work on this document simultaneously. This is not the only problem. Knowledge is buried in e-mails, as it is available only to the sender and the recipients, so all the other team members cannot benefit from it. For example, if an employee e-mails a status update to his manager, the change will only be visible to other people after the manager manually updates the schedule. This produces unnecessary work and delays the exchange of information. There is little visibility and control over the project if all information is buried in thousands of e-mails residing in employees’ mailboxes. The list of disadvantages could go on.

Traditional project management tools are not focused on collaboration, either. They were mostly designed with the top-down approach in mind and are not meant for open collaboration. These tools are focused on a project manager and make him the core element of the project communications. He first has to pull facts out of employees through meetings and e-mails, then put them into a file and communicate the project plan to upper management and clients. The process is then repeated every time something changes. The project manager also needs to play the role of an alarm clock, reminding employees of their deadlines and overdue tasks. The whole process turns out to be time-consuming and effortful, and it results in a heavy burden for a project manager. The amount of routine work sometimes does not leave the manager time for leadership.

Enterprise 2.0 technologies catalyze innovations in project management. These innovations can be called Project Management 2.0. The term highlights a new approach to project management, characterized by a dramatic shift toward having collaboration as the heart of managing projects. The new-generation tools take care of the routine part of a project manager’s work: reminding team members about deadlines, merging status updates into a single plan, and communicating changes. New tools also let people collaborate and share information easily. The role of the project manager is changing; he is becoming a project visionary, instead of a taskmaster. New-generation tools give him more space for being a project leader.

What makes the new technologies so effective? I will list the five key benefits below.

Making It Simple to Collaborate

One of the major constraints associated with traditional project management software was its complexity. Traditional tools have hundreds of features, which take months to master. Adoption of traditional project management software is often connected with spending a lot of the employees’ time and the company’s money on training. In contrast, the second-generation project management tools are lightweight and easy to use. They provide an opportunity to start collaborating immediately, without any delays for extensive learning and initial set-up.

New project management tools can be easily utilized even by unskilled computer users, making it possible to involve more people in project collaboration. A well-known example is blogging. It is very simple to share ideas in a blog and get feedback in comments. Simplicity drives adoption. When people like the software, they use it more often.

New software tools provide a much better user experience, which helps to solve one of the biggest challenges of traditional software packages. One of the major problems with traditional tools was the users’ unwillingness to update data regularly. Plans often got outdated and became useless because of that. New tools are much more convenient to use. For example, they let you create tasks in the system by sending e-mails from their Blackberry devices. This level of simplicity and convenience engages users and thus helps to keep information up-to-date. This is a critical component for successful project management software implementation. The power of new tools comes to the surface when they turn simple actions of individual users into a great product of collective work. In Enterprise 2.0 terms, it is called collective intelligence and emergent structures.

Collective intelligence is the capacity of human communities to evolve to higher order complexity and harmony, through differentiation, integration, competition and collaboration. In other words, it is a form of intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. This notion is closely connected with the term “emergent structures.”

Emergence is a way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. In plain terms it is a form of collective behaviour, when parts of a system do together that they would not do by themselves. Therefore, emergent structures are the structures that appear as a result of multiple, relatively simple interactions of a number of individuals. The interactions are uncontrolled, but are purposeful.

Together these two powerful principles make project management 2.0 tools powerful instruments for improving teams’ productivity.

Taking Advantage of the Wisdom of the Whole Team

The new-generation, Web-based tools give team members an easy way to contribute to the common repository of tasks and plans. These tools unleash the power of collective intelligence and change the pattern of project management.

In his book The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki states that “groups are remarkably intelligent and are often smarter than the smartest people in them. Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people in order to be smart.” He also stresses that “decentralization’s greatest strength is that it encourages independence and specialization on the one hand while still allowing people to coordinate their activities and solve difficult problems.”

With the new technologies, people get a more efficient working environment where they can gather and share knowledge from different fields that each project team member is an expert in. The project manager guides the team’s work and chooses the right direction, based on the information received from the individual employees. The tools even help the manager to merge this information, turning an e-mail mess into well-organized timelines.

At the same time the new-generation tools let project managers control changes and the progress of the project work. Reporting is highly automated on all levels, including corporate executives, who get their view of the project automatically.

The reports are pulled on the fly from real data, so they are up-to-date. All these factors boost the team’s productivity and help the company make the right decisions at the right time.

Collective intelligence goes hand-in-hand with emergent structures, another practice that has a great impact on contemporary project management.

Many-to-Many Structure Benefits

Microsoft Project and many other traditional management tools allow you to have only a strict, one-to-many work breakdown structure of tasks (and other similar items). This creates several negative consequences. First, there can be only one view of the project, while in real life there might be a need to have many different views of the same project. Project marketers, business analyst, engineers, and testers might want to slice the project in different ways. Often, the same person needs different slices – for example, by release and by feature. This inconvenience makes the software less usable and thus people become hesitant to check plans and update them regularly. On one hand, these factors lead to obsolete and useless project plans. On the other hand, the necessity to select one work breakdown structure greatly increases the cost of mistake for the project manager.

The whole process becomes very tricky and requires a lot of up-front thinking, predictions, and responsibility for the project manager.

Project management 2.0 tools have fewer restrictions. They let structures emerge, without strong central control. These structures are born from lots of little interactions that are designed to solve specific problems. For example, collaboration planning tools, like Wrike allow work-breakdown structures to emerge from the bottom up. What employees design as the best work-breakdown structure for their tasks becomes a part of a bigger picture seen by the manager.

In these tools hierarchies are many-to-many, in contrast to the one-to-many hierarchy in Microsoft Project. This effectively means that you can pick any reasonable sub-set of tasks, create a view and share it with someone who needs this view. It is not like all-or-nothing sharing of a file. At the end of the day more people can collaborate. As the new tools allow team members to make changes to the initial structure simultaneously, more people can organize and reorganize their views, and more structures emerge. The resulting structures fit project participants much better than one stiff work-breakdown structure.

This agility helps to bring iterative and incremental practices into project management without giving away the control.The project manager’s job becomes more about coordination and guidance than routine manual updates, and the whole team can react to changes much faster.

Project management 2.0 tools allow you to start with one task, add twenty more, organize them, add more tasks, reorganize them, and repeat the process on a daily basis by many or your employees and managers. When seven employees share their daily to-do lists with a team leader, the team leader gets a bigger picture. When five team leaders share their teams’ plans with project managers, a picture gets bigger. When it goes through directors and the vice president to the CEO, the whole structure evolves from what was one task into a big ecosystem that perfectly suits the organization. All with a help of very simple tools and very powerful principles that stay behind those tools – collective intelligence and emergent structures.

Empowered by emergent structures and collective intelligence, project managers can combine field knowledge coming bottom-up with the guidance coming top-down. There is also a significant benefit for executives: emergent structures emergent allow you to get complete visibility that bridges the gap between strategic corporate plans and daily to-do lists of employees. Getting the Bigger Picture

Full insight into what is going on in the organization is vital for aligning internal business resources with the requirements of the changing environment. For example, if we speak of software development, the bug fixing schedule may affect the next release schedule. The next release schedule in its turn may affect the marketing campaign, which may affect sales plans. Sales plans will naturally have an impact on financial plans. Having the whole picture helps corporate executives to make a better choice for allocating internal resources when there is a need to react properly to the changes in the business environment. Project management 2.0 tools empowered by emergent structures and many-to-many hierarchies are naturally able to provide this big picture view. Emergent structures help to turn separated strategic plans, quarterly plans, project plans and daily to-do lists of team members into one business development master plan. Many-to-many hierarchies let corporate executives see each project and their whole organization from different points of view. These two powerful principles allow managers to drill down to each team member’s tasks and follow the work of the whole enterprise at the same time.

When project managers can easily view every detail of their project development, and corporate executives are able to use their business resources most rationally, projects bring value faster.

Productivity Boost

With new tools, project managers save hours on routine operations related to aggregating the information from e-mails and meetings and keeping it up to date. Reporting is simplified on all levels, as part of it can be easily achieved by sharing the related part of the collaborative workspace. Second-generation project management software gives every team member an opportunity to be aware of the changes in the project without unnecessary meetings, e-mails, and phone calls. The collaboration becomes much faster and much more productive. It results in faster project delivery and faster return on investment.

To start innovation and improvements in your organization is easy. As was already mentioned above, new tools are very user-friendly and easy to adopt. You just have to pick the right ones.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2.0 TOOLS: A NEW COLLABORATIVE SPACE

Perhaps the most popular of the new-generation applications that companies can benefit from are blogs, wikis, and collaboration planning tools.

Blogs

Both internal and external use of blogs can be advantageous for a project. The major benefit of internal blogging is that it gives the opportunity to facilitate direct communication between various layers of an organization. Blogs allow team members who otherwise would not have been aware of or invited to participate in a discussion to contribute their expertise. Thousands of companies now use blogging tools like Blogger, LiveJournal, Typepad, Movable Type, WordPress or Radio UserLand. For example, British Library and University College London collaborate on a project called the LIFE (Lifecycle Information for E-Literature) through a blog. A blog is a way for these two organizations to work together more efficiently and keep all the project information in one place.

External blogging helps to encourage the strongest community goodwill, and this goodwill, in turn, promotes significant marketing and sales gains. Thousands of companies are already reaping the rewards of their investment in external project blogging. For, example, companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Sun Microsystems, and SAP write project blogs on a regular basis. The number of non-technology organizations that have their own project blogs is rapidly growing, too. One of the most prominent examples is the From Edison’s Desk blog – a blog for the GE Global Research project. It offers an opportunity for technology enthusiasts around the globe to discuss the future of technology with top researchers from one of the world’s largest and most diverse industrial research labs.

Wikis

A wiki is another technology that can be successfully applied to managing projects. Its basic advantage is that it lets users to create, edit, and link Web pages easily. Wikis usually have very few restrictions, thus they tend to accumulate a shared knowledge that was traditionally kept out of stiff corporate enterprise software and intranets – the knowledge that was usually buried in e-mails. A good example of wiki usage would be Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment banking division of Dresdner Bank AG that gained an e-mail traffic volume reduction by 75%. They also slashed meeting time in half. Another example is a Linux-based operating system called Fedora, which uses a project wiki to bring the end user’s point of view into the product development. There are a lot of wiki solutions that are be successfully used by many companies. The most well-known is an open source wiki called MediaWiki, the one that is used by Wikipedia.

Wikis and blogs are good generic tools that can help to share knowledge much more effectively than e-mails. To gain visibility and control over operations, companies also need to empower their managers and employees with a collaborative planning solution.

Collaboration Planning Tools

New collaboration applications and platforms combine the level of control associated with traditional project management software with the benefits of Web 2.0 applications to give a productivity boost to companies and bring better visibility. The best tools in this field are integrated with e-mail and easy and inexpensive to adopt. They democratize project management software. Can you provide some examples

Collaboration planning tools bridge the gaps between employees’ to-do lists, project plans, and strategic goals. With the help of these tools, a project manager gains complete visibility of all the projects he is responsible for. The upper management knows what is going on inside of every project and has the whole picture. The software takes a lot of routine operations on its shoulders – turning e-mail mess into a nice-looking timeline, reminding people about overdue tasks and building reports. These tools help to collect information and make it accessible to any team member anywhere. This expedites information sharing and accelerates decision making.

Governmental, educational, commercial, and non-profit organizations all over the world are embracing project management 2.0 tools to improve their project management. Corporations like McDonalds, Walt Disney, Apple, Toyota and Capgemini utilize second-generation project management applications within their departments.

CONCLUSION

The use of innovative project management technologies promises to have a profound and far-reaching effect on how projects are managed today. These technologies let companies acquire the key ingredient to success in any business – they help companies make better decisions faster. Project management 2.0 gives a great productivity boost to project managers and their teams.

Today, the project management landscape is changing, opening new competitive advantages for companies. While some companies are struggling with the pains of traditional project management tools and e-mail, others are becoming more efficient and innovative by leveraging the benefits of the new technologies. I hope this article will help you adopt some of the Project Management 2.0 tools and practices.

Cleaning Your Home Without Any Use of Chemicals

We have gotten used to relying on a whole range of chemical products for the cleaning of our homes and offices without paying attention to how harmful such substances can be for the health or the environment.Every household actually uses stain removers and all sorts of solvents to get clean clothes, impeccable kitchens and germ-free bathrooms. However, with the development of the environmental awareness, some companies have started producing eco-friendly cleaning products. Most spot and stain removers in the eco-category are now derived from natural resources, with plant or vegetable ingredients in organic solvents.

It is false to absorb that eco-friendly cleaning products can not eliminate resistant stains and stains such as nail polish, wax, ball-point ink, glue, resins or dyes from solid or textile surfaces. If we manage to eliminate such prejudices and actually try some eco-friendly cleaning solution, we may be pleasantly surprised by the results. It is paradoxical how we soil and litter our planet while making efforts to remove the dirt from daily life. Why switch to eco-friendly cleaning? First of all your home will be clean from toxic fumes and chemicals, you will sleep better and enjoy a great sense of well-being.

There will be less health hazards for children and babies who may come in contact with toxic cleaning residues. Nor will there be any more fumes from spray bottles. Poisons should be a no-no in our lives. You can eliminate the hazardousous substances by using household pickup days, and replacing them with safer versions. Eco-friendly cleaning provides a safer environment for your children. Moreover, the fewer chemicals you use, the fewer toxic materials will be evacuated in the waste water stream. If you do not have eco-friendly cleaning products ready-made for a certain task, there are homemade solutions available too.

The Internet abounds with eco-friendly cleaning tips, you just need a bit of time, interest and patience to see how to deal with the issue. Not only the cleaning agents should be changed with eco products, but the cleaning accessories as well. Sponges, mops and rags should be all reusable and natural. A responsible human being living in the 21st century should mind the durability, health and environment impact of the products he / she purchases for home use. This kind of changes will also bring considered savings.

Information to Gather Before Appointing a Real Estate Attorney

Real estate attorney is basically an authorized legal advisor or representative who can help you sell or purchase a particular property. The property may include any tangible ground, homes, land, furniture or fixtures. Others may include organizations, huge shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and many such properties. Real estate attorney deals in issues including partnership contracts and transactions, economic failure or bankruptcy, licensing agreements, business leases and several other issues of similar nature. Are you facing difficulties in dealing with a specific asset or land? Your difficulties have now come to an end with the growing number of experienced lawyers. You can now appoint a good real estate attorney to deal effectively with your property issues. If you have made a choice of appointing a lawyer to put a full stop to your problems, you have made the right decision. Hiring a real estate attorney will save you from a lot of time consuming things like paperwork.

Once you have made a choice of appointing a real estate attorney, the question that arises as to what to do in order to select the best real estate attorney. This article will bring to your knowledge the answer to this question. With growing economy, realty business is also evolving with time and the need and demand of a real estate attorney is also increasing as he is the only person who can guide you rightly to deal with property related issues. Some people may prefer consulting a professional adviser without realizing the fact that these advisers do not have the legal expertise required like a real estate attorney. A real estate attorney can better deal with property issues as compared to professional advisers.

Best Attorney will not only provide you with legal advices but also support you and guide you with property related problems that you may face in the coming years. Through the process of finding an appropriate lawyer, take advice and assistance of your close links, neighbors and relatives. Refer to people who have personally experienced similar situation and can provide you with useful and valid information. Other possible and easily accessible source is the internet. Everything can easily be found over internet including a good Attorney. Almost, all law companies have an official site. These websites contain all the required data about the attorneys available in their company. You can draw down the names of the lawyers suitable for your case and arrange an appointment via telephone or email. This information can also be obtained from the bar association located in your town. There is some information that is essential to obtain from an attorney before making your final hiring decision.

Some inquiries that are required to be made are discussed as follows:

-Question regarding their past work experience in this field and the kind of issues that they had dealt with in their past cases.
-Verify his education and status.
-Inquire about the work environment in their firm and the resources that he uses to resolve a problem.
-As you will be paying him for his time and expertise, it is important for you to know about his availability. Make sure that he is able to give you sufficient time.
-Last, but not the least, inquire about the fees he charges and evaluate whether the amount he is charging is worth the services that he is offering you.

Obtaining the above information will help you appoint a good and an experienced real estate attorney for all your property or land related problems.

Construction Engineering Jobs Are Critical In A Building Boom

With the recent decline in home sales and the increase in foreclosures, we are poised for yet another change. New home sales are predicted to be back on the rise in the coming years and with the increase in new home sales will come an increase in construction engineering jobs. New construction will again take hold as soon as home prices are said not to go any lower. This leaves room for the prices to go nowhere but up.

Anytime you have new homes being built you will have construction engineering jobs being created. Over the last couple of years, many people got out of the industry as many companies were losing bids and jobs they had previously held. One company, for example, would routinely build hundreds of homes per year. However, when the housing crisis hit they went from hundreds to only building 10 homes in 2010. This of course left them to the only course of action to save their business and that was to lay off over 80% of their staff.

When these layoffs occur, you have many people out of work. When you have people from the construction industry out of work, they typically try to stay within the industry somehow. Therefore, what you end up with is possibly a construction engineer job being taken by a person who used to manage a job site. In addition, you will have a site electricians position being applied for by a plumber. It is not uncommon for people to switch trades when jobs are scarce.

When the economy is in trouble, people scramble. During this period, we had many people learn new trades and are now able to fit into multiple positions within the industry. Estimates now have the economy being revived in the next 3 years. In this period, we will see many new homes being built and this will result in new jobs being created. Some of these new jobs may be filled by people who are new to the industry while some will be filled by people who worked in the construction industry before the crisis and have since just changed the job they do.

Construction engineering jobs pay very well. In addition, any job that pays well will usually require some time spent in school. These are not jobs that just anybody can do. They require training and technical expertise. With all the layoffs over the last couple of years, many people went back to school. There were a percentage of people who had money saved and were able to take the time during their layoff to go to school. In addition, those who did and wanted to remain in the construction industry would have been smart to go into construction engineering. The amount of jobs available to a person with that training under their belt is almost triple what would have been available to them before going to school.

Therefore, with the housing crisis now estimated to be over within the next year or two many people will eventually be getting back to work. With new home sales comes new home construction and that brings jobs. Many who were out of work in the past will soon be able to return to work. If they were once in the construction industry, they may now have a chance to return to work as jobs in that industry will soon be on the rise. There will be many construction engineering jobs available to those who have the knowledge and training. Many people over the last couple of years have sought to gain that education and are now ready to put it to work.