Trending Topics: Tech Tools in the PM Arsenal

October 14, 2015 by FlexPro

PMJust a few decades ago, project management was a completely different ballgame.  A PM’s job was built upon the same concepts as it is today – completing a long-term assignment, empowering those around them, and minimizing risk while pushing the plan across the finish line – but only those foundational pillars remain constant.

Rapid advances in technology have radically altered the way in which the professional world operates, no matter the industry or profession.  Project management reaches every corner of corporate America, making it that much more important for a PM to have a comprehensive understanding of every tool at his or her disposal before taking on a new venture.

For those who have been in the PM business long enough, memories of handwritten project plans, loose guidelines, and broad progress measurements may even illicit a smile reflecting simpler times.  Listening in to the same team meetings for just a moment today would reveal a vastly more wide-ranging, in-depth approach to the same job.
This week, we take a look at some of the technological trends that have caused that change and revolutionized the way project managers accomplish their goals.  The necessary soft skills required to unlock the potential of those around you remain the same, but the tools needed to get the job done undergo continuous transformation.

Project Tracking

When deadlines move to the right, everyone knows.  And while that can be a headache for a project manager, improved tracking is far better for a project team and a company as a whole.  Software like Microsoft Project has become commonplace, customized for each job and developed a little differently depending on the company.  A modernized tracking approach keeps everyone on the same page and allows all stakeholders to know what to expect moving forward.  Add in the tailored views and reports, and you’ve got home base for the modern PM.

Metrics Upon Metrics

Perhaps the most important tech trend in the PM community today is how stakeholders are measuring success and failure of each project.  Scorecards, dashboards, and stoplights have become the norm for those looking to check in on the health of the Project Management Organization.  Much like project tracking, pass/fail markers need to be customized to fit the needs of the project and change with the expectations of decision-makers. The depth of metrics in today’s project management world increases accountability while adding a level of objectivity to project evaluation.

Communication is Key

Managing a project team almost always means going global nowadays, making communication tools a necessity for any project manager.  The speed of business has evolved past returning emails or phone calls even in the timeliest manner.  WebEx, meeting applications, and video conferencing have emerged as routine practice for PMs, ensuring the fastest messaging possible in a world that truly demands it.

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