A new year is here and I'm shaking my magic 8 ball to see where Project Management is headed in 2014 ...
5. More teams will be virtual. As the workforce ages it will become harder and harder to find the right employee locally. As PMs we will need to leverage tools to help bring together our teams to build relationships.
4. Documentation will move to the cloud making it easier for our clients and teams to access their project information. Project files flying around via email will start to decrease.
3. We will increase our connections with our clients and team members via Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. Again this will help build critical relationships with our team members.
2. We will start to use more online tools to manage our portfolio so we will have an easier way to forecast resource needs.
1. We will continue to see more organizations trying out Agile. Some will adopt and will see quick wins and a boost in morale, and others will fail.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Multitasking is not an unfamiliar term for many of us. It has happened so many times in our lives that we had to juggle between our professional, personal and other type of tasks. The pressure to execute important tasks intrudes into our mind and we cannot relax till we have finished them.
But we also have been through moments when we forgot to remember important tasks just because we had so many tasks at hand or we simply forgot them to perform them at a right time. Such human forgetfulness can land us in awkward situations. For example we have to face the ire of our seniors/bosses on account of forgetting to do an important task entrusted to us or lose trust and goodwill of our friends and acquaintances when we forget to extend them favors which we promised at some point of time. At such moments, we definitely feel the need of some assistance which would have made us remember that we had an important tasks at hand to perform.
We need to reorient ourselves and set true priorities for our tasks, so that we can give them due focus and perform them until their appointed time. We ought to know clearly which are our most important tasks that we need to perform urgently and which are our lower priority tasks which we can do later, so no ambiguities remain. But merely setting the priorities would not help much. We still need help to know when we need to do a particular task, otherwise it will slip off our memory.
Writing down our tasks on a piece of paper, setting up alarms in our mobile may help us at a personal level, but such tactics would not be very effective at the organizational level where so many workers are working in an organization and are entrusted with a variety of tasks. Here also the tasks that need to be performed vary in importance. Some are truly important tasks with higher priorities set for them and other tasks that are associated with a lower priority. In such situations missing tasks can also create problems or even catastrophes may result if the higher priority tasks are not performed at the right time.
But as is the case with humans, they fail to perform important tasks at the right time due to their forgetfulness, negligence or on account of being too busy and an organization cannot afford such an erroneous conduct and has to pay for such blunders right through its nose.
Let us take the example of a surgeon failing to bring out the needle from the abdomen of patient after an operation and the patient thereafter is complaining of constant pain. And for this reason, he has to be operated again. If the surgeon had cared to make a checklist of the instruments used in the operation and had simply counted the number of instruments both before and after the procedure and found them to be equal in number, such a situation might have never arisen. Sometimes a small wise effort saves us from enormous suffering later.
Choose Mediums That Organize Tasks
Such ugly situations can be effectively avoided if they we choose some mediums that help us in proper and accurate documentation of tasks and help us in their timely and planned execution through proper tracking. These aids should be easy to access and use.
In the organizational context, one important thing that needs to be kept in mind is that nowadays workforce in many organizations around the world comprises of employees who are based in different locations in the world and are from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. So such mediums should be easily accessible to all such men and facilitate their working as a team and abridge their cultural and geographical differences.
Our search for such effective mediums for task documentation, execution and tracking ends at task management tools though there are other applications around like spreadsheets, etc, but which help up to a limited level. These web-based applications enable proper classification, description, documentation, allocation, execution, tracking and controlling of tasks. By using these tools, an organization can streamline its functioning and perform its tasks in an organized and planned manner. By adopting these, an organization can work more efficiently and save costs and time and boost its profitability. As these are online tools, they remain within the easy reach of various employees based in different locations and they can easily connect with their organization through these.
Challenges In Choosing The Best Task Management Tool
Those organizations who have come to know about the efficacy of these tools for better management of their tasks and those who have never used these tools ever before, have a new challenge at their hand; how to choose the best tool for their needs. As there are so many task management tools out in the market who are shouting at the top of their voice that they are the best, is confusing the prospective users even more. These organizations are not sure where to start and whom to give the favour. So where lies the remedy?
The easiest thing for them would be to go with the reviews of a particular tool and spend time reading and analyzing them. These reviews have been written by some great technology enthusiasts who love to test new applications and give their input on these. So this at least can give them some idea over how a particular tool is faring. But in some cases different technology experts may rate the same tool differently. So the same application being ranked differently by different people will not always provide clarity over such matters. But this idea does hold some merit.
Another thing that may enthuse the prospective users, is the free trials offered by some of these application providers. An organization can choose to go with a free trial being offered by a particular task management tool. Usually these trials span a fixed number of days and in most cases these are a month long. During this time, an organization can use the application and have a feel of it and see how it benefits their work. Thus an organization tends to know how a particular application works and can accordingly make up its mind for upgrading to its paid version, if it is satisfied with the results.
Different task management tools have different set of features and cater to different types of organizations. Some cater for freelancers, while others are designed for small sized, medium and large sized organizations and some of these are scalable for all sizes and flexible for all types of organizations. So an organization before choosing to go with a particular tool, should know pretty clearly what its needs and requirements are and whether a particular tool can do justice to these and whether it would be suitable for its size.
More Clarity on How These Tools Work
There are numerous videos on display in famous video viewing sites which gives a fair idea on how various task management tools function, so that is going to help the users know how to proceed while working with a particular application.
Users can also approach support staff of various task management service providers and inquire should they have any queries or confusion about their use, so that would also help.
Multitasking Can Indeed Be Achieved
The availability of such tools gives us a hope that we too can perform our multiple tasks with precision and focus without ever forgetting them if we choose to prioritize them in the right manner through such aids. Using these tools would incur costs, but such costs are negligible considering the benefits these would bring. Organizations using these would be saving their time, costs, improving efficiency, pushing their sales up and will be able to provide timely and quality services to their clients and customers. These tools provide immense scope for organizations to grow and prosper. Forgetting tasks will become a thing a past as humans can easily forget these, but these tools never will.
Sharon is a Business manager of ProofHub, a web based project management software that facilitates management of projects and helps in their faster and accurate accomplishment as per schedule. It enables the team members who are spread out in different locations in the world to collaborate over project matters. They can define, document, discuss, organize, coordinate, review and control different project matters efficiently which results in their quick resolution. With its use, organizational objectives can be achieved effectively along with the generation of intended gains and assets.