In my new book, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers, I explore the opportunities for project teams working with new technology.
Here are two emerging themes in both project management and in social and collaborative technologies that are worth knowing about.
1. Digital PMOs and the Role of the Digital Leader
Disruptive technologies such as big data are hitting businesses across all functional areas, not just project management. Companies have to come up with practical ways to incorporate this massive amount of change and to sift through the trends that are worth adopting while ditching those that are not relevant at this time.
This is starting to come to the fore in the form of the chief digital officer or other digital leadership position at the very top of businesses. We are also seeing digital PMOs—divisions supporting the project structure in the way a traditional PMO would, but with a leaning toward paperless, integrated, and online ways of working, along with the culture changes that brings.
2. The Culture of Collaboration
It’s not all about the tech. Part of the challenge facing the digital leader, be that a project manager or a PMO director, will be managing flatter teams, both across business teams and within projects.
Employees will create their own internal networks outside of the traditional hierarchy, which potentially makes many of the formal line management structures redundant and forces the organization to become flatter. The digital divide—those employees who are familiar with digital working practices and those who are not—is a further team-related problem that digital leaders have to face up to and proactively manage.
"If virtual teams are to be successful, and if collaboration tools are to be fully embedded in the working practices of the team, then it’s important for businesses to invest in collaboration offline as well."
Successful collaboration and teamwork comes from a culture that supports those ways of working. If virtual teams are to be successful, and if collaboration tools are to be fully embedded in the working practices of the team, then it’s important for businesses to invest in collaboration offline as well.
We’ll see greater investment in building corporate culture, fostering employee engagement, and creating the environment to deliver successful change. All of this underpins the use of any technology and supports the business objective of getting the right people to do the right things the first time, which cuts down on overall project costs.
3. Knowledge Sharing
A collaborative culture also supports the urgent need for knowledge sharing in a global economy that is facing significant talent gaps. As the Baby Boomer generation leaves the workplace, taking with them an incredible amount of organizational knowledge, companies need to find alternative ways to capture and maintain their knowledge assets. Technology (like wikis) has a part to play, as well as collaborative work environments where knowledge is freely shared.
What trends have you noticed?
If you're interested in finding out more about how project teams can benefit from using collaboration tools, you can get a copy of the book from the PMI Marketplace here.