Projects in the Cloud: Are We Ready to Go There?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

The cloud is moving in and taking over. “Cloud computing”--a fancy term for running applications over the internet with storage managed through online services--is a strongly emerging trend. And as with our other corporate applications, so goes project management.

So what does this mean for the typical project manager? And as importantly, what does this mean for the organization considering moving its projects into the cloud? Clearly there are some benefits, but there are also some potential challenges. In this column, we examine both sides of the issue in an effort to bring some clarity to project management in the cloud.

Enterprise project management software has arguably failed to live up to its promise for many organizations. Not that there aren’t some success stories, but they tend to be fewer and further between. We’ve explored these challenges in previous columns, so I won’t repeat them at length here. What is worthwhile exploring, however, is the degree to which moving project management software into the cloud can help address challenges that are present for more traditional solutions.

One significant issue that has been encountered using enterprise project management software to date is access. With projects more often than not involving other organizations, suppliers, external resources, contractors and consultants, …

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