Sunday, December 7, 2008

Microsoft Project Viewers

Using a Microsoft Project Viewer is simple way of saving money on Microsoft Project licenses. The best viewers that I have seen are from Steelray and ValleySpeak Project Server The first one is for desktop usage while the second one is hosted users.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Microsoft Project and Scrum

Read interesting stuff about using Microsoft Project as a Scrum tool. I wonder how that compares with dedicated tools like Mingle, etc.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Social Project Management - II

Wouldn't it be cool if we could marry project management software and twitter. "What are you doing?" isn't that what most project managers are asking constantly. So all we have to do it create a twitter like system where the tweets go under a task history. Imagine how many meetings that will save.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Social Project Management

Anything Social seems to be in fashion these days. All kinds of social networks are popping up everywhere. The world of project management still seems to be stuck in a world confined to an organizational boundary. In a global world it is quite common to come across projects that traverse organizational boundaries, yet there is no software that can reliably support this.

Why are project management software vendors still stuck in the Island mentality?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Who needs a Project Manager?

All this talk about Flash Projects led me to an interesting question. Why do we need a Project Manager? Why can't projects manage themselves? I feel someday they will . Project Management is more of an art than a science today. Sure there are theories abound, but they are not as mature as say management theories. Once the theories get translated into software, will we still need the Project Manager? Remember we are talking about 10 - 30 years from now. Day dreaming? You bet.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Flash Projects

A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, do something unusual for a brief period of time, then quickly disperse (source Wikipedia ). I feel that this type of projects will happen a lot in the future. People will collaborate on projects and then promptly disperse when the project is over. There is no thought being given to this possibility. All our Project Management software assume that people belong to a single organization. In other words the possibility of a Quasi-stable project is not considered.

Another interesting feature of flash mob is that it is totally voluntary, no one is forced to be part of it. This turns the ideas of information dissemination and motivation on their head. In the world of Flash-Projects how will projects be scoped? How will Projects Managers do Resource Management? Do such projects need a Project Manager? How will a Flash-Project Management software differ from traditional Project Management software?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Project Management Adaptware

Most software available today fall into three categories. You have a) Over the shelf (Microsoft Project, Office, etc), b) Customized (SAP, Oracle Financials, etc.) and c) Custom Created (Created from scratch for a single customer). I feel the future of software is Adaptware. It is a kind of software that is so malleable that the end user can literally feed business logic to it and make it behave in a unique manner without realizing that he is doing so. A "simple" example would be the Wikis of today. I feel Project Management is the first field in which Adaptware will show up. The reason is simple. All business activities eventually map to a workflow which are designed to accomplish tasks which are then part of larger projects. Each organization has a unique workflow, in contrast, most organization do not have a unique way of sending emails; so an email software does not need to be as malleable as a project management software.

An essential quality of this Project Management Adaptware engine would be self learning. As soon as it sees steps beeing repeated it will build work flows around them. This is not as sci-fi as it sounds. Such an engine will also learn to sense Issues and Risks associated with a project. It can automatically sense that Bob's Urgent issues are more urgent that Tom's Urgent issue based on historical data and other's feedback. It will be able to do analysis on people's classification habbits and calculate weightages for their classifications.

Too much attention is paid today by the Project Management vendors on the user interface and rightly so. This is primarily because Project Management is still in its infancy as a science. With Adaptware the GUI will cease to be important because the burden of creating the "perfect" GUI will be pushed to the end user. This will allow the vendors to focus on creating a smarter engine.

If only we could make that day come sooner, think about the quantum leap in productivity it will bring.