Projects In Another Dimension

Bob Tarne, PMP, CSM is an accomplished consultant, speaker, and writer. He is currently an Engagement Manager with IBM as well as an active volunteer with the Project Management Institute. His blog can be found at zen-pm.blogspot.com.

Business technology solutions continue to evolve, including virtual reality applications, which allow multiple users to interact in three dimensions. While many may still view these applications as merely sophisticated games, our author explores their potential value in distributed project environments.

In the book Disclosure, best-selling author Michael Crichton describes a virtual reality application being developed by the fictitious computer company DigiCom. A user of this system wears a special headset and walks on a set of rollers in order to interact in three dimensions — not exactly the type of system that could be easily deployed in most project management offices! However, virtual reality has come a long way since Crichton’s book was published in 1993. Interactive virtual worlds such as Second Life allow participants to travel in three dimensions using just a computer and high-speed Internet connection. While these systems are interesting, can they be used to make your project more successful?
 
Perhaps in a sign of things to come, 1800Flowers.com set up a virtual greenhouse in Second Life. According to Barbara Porter, director of Order Capture Services, the greenhouse was a way “to reach out to customers in a non-traditional way.” The experiment attracted good “foot traffic,” and the company gave away samples, but it was …

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