In today’s fast-paced business world, project management is no longer a luxury – it has become a necessity. As a profession, project management has come a long way since Henry Gantt invented the famous Gantt chart and allowed companies to closely monitor and control project schedule.
Of course, project management wasn’t even officially recognized as its own discipline until 1950s, when DuPont and Remington Rand Corporation developed the Crucial Path Method, and the US Navy developed the PERT chart.
The discipline continued to evolve in next 50 years, with the creation of Lean, Agile and Extreme project management approaches and tools like Microsoft Project, which eased the burden of task tracking and critical path management.
The Current State of Project Management
In a couple of decades, people will probably refer to these years as The Time of the Great Migration – the migration we’re talking about is, of course, the one from desktop software solutions to cloud-based solutions.
Today as Forbes reports, around 85% of corporate enterprises have a clear multi-cloud strategy – which is up from 82% in 2016. As you can see, the days when PM teams were confined to desktop management software are long gone.
This is not a surprise since the most efficient way to collaborate is using cloud-based systems that allow employees to do their work more competently and deliver much better results on time. And if you still haven’t made the transition to the cloud, you’re definitely missing out and here is why…
The Benefits of a Cloud-Based PM System
- Unlimited Access: With tools like the aforementioned Microsoft Project, every task in the software was originally stored on the manager’s desktop PC or laptop. This naturally limited the accessibility of the project from every team member except the manager. But when your project is stored in the cloud, every member of the team can access the project and make changes, depending on his or her permission level…
- Real-Time Collaboration: Before, you’d have a single project manager responsible for everything from entering tasks manually to creating a complete project plan. But the cloud changed that with the addition of different collaboration tools. Now, in addition to a shared project plan, most vendors will give you storage for shared calendars, documents and will send out a notification to the entire team.
- Project Forecasting: With old systems, project forecasting was always nothing more than a guessing game. But with cloud-based systems, you’ll have additional options such as resource management, revenue and cost estimate. Some solutions even offer “what if” scenarios that help managers decide what the best project to peruse is.
The Challenges of Switching to the Cloud
- Convincing your employees: The most common challenge business leaders’ face, when it comes to changing any software, is the hostility most employees feel towards the new solution. In most situation, they’ve been using the same software for more than a decade, and they feel at home with it. So when you suddenly pull the carpet from under their feet and start talking about a new system, they start seeing this as a problem. You have to realize that this is their livelihood, and you’ll be making their lives a lot more complicated with your decision – at least in their minds. So in order to combat this problem, you should list of improvements over the old system – for example – when you switch from desktop to a cloud based project management solution like Active Collab, you make sure to tell them that they will have additional features like budgeting, reports and invoicing.
- Possible security problems: For years at this point, cloud security has been one of the most common reasons why some people are still resisting the cloud. In fact, at the Cloud Security Alliance conference last year, data breaches were identified as the biggest security concern organizations had in 2016. This is not so surprising, seeing how most companies don’t invest too much money in security and how when dealing with a cloud-based solutions, you’ll have to deal with 3rd Plus, you’ll never be 100% sure who has access to your data and how much access they have. Nonetheless, there are certain policies your company could implement, which will ensure that your vendor is keeping your data secure and that they employee most modern security features. And don’t worry, you won’t compromise your security that much because according to 2016 Data Security Incident Response Report, most data breaches occur because of human errors anyway…
- Changing the way things are done: While this may sound like the first issue we were talking about – this goes well beyond it. The matter of the fact is, switching to a cloud system will change up things so much, that your employees might feel like the entire project management practices have been tweaked. Many people will have a problem with lack of emails, and it may take quite some time before they get used to the new messaging system. But once they finally settle in, they’ll realize it is a great load off, because these systems require less reporting and obsessing about the schedule. But since these systems require more input from the actual employees, some individual will find this intrusive when they’re working on their daily tasks. You’ll simply have to wait for a couple of months before all of the members of your team get on board.
Naturally, changing the way things are done around the office is never an easy task, especially if you have a couple of older employees on your workforce, who are not so keen on learning how to use new programs and how to communicate with their colleagues all over again.
However, implementing a modern, cloud-based PM system will surely have a good effect on your bottom line. According to research from the Standish Group, only around 30% of the projects are successfully on-time and on-budget – so if you want to be in those top 30% you’ll need all the help you can get.
So no matter how hard it may seem, using a cloud-based system is certainly worth it. With a little bit of practice, patience and time, your workers will realize that this new solution makes their professional lives much easier and that it’s clearly a much better option.