For the fourth post in this series, where I talk to the "Top Project Managers to Follow on Twitter", I asked each of them to tell me about their views on cloud-based technologies and how they are changing the project management landscape.
Dan Schawbel: How do you believe that cloud-based technologies are changing the project management world?
Cheri Essner: We are a collaborative profession. We do not like to recreate the wheel. If we can take lessons learned from other projects we will be far more successful on future projects. The cloud makes it much easier to share information and collaborate. The new technology of cloud has, in a way, simplified the implementation of software products as the burden of housing the software, storage, and hardware, upgrading releases by your IT dept, etc, is not required. All is done for you. You just need to have a secure connection to the cloud service provider and they do the rest for you. What is most important is to understand the type of information that this cloud will be storing for you, and whether it is sensitive information or not.
Cloud technology does come with some risks that some companies may not want to be engaged in. Questions that should be asked are, how secure is the cloud, what steps have you taken to avoid intruders, where are the data centres (Europe, NA, etc). It is very important to work with your security department ahead of time, so that they can engage with the provider and request all the appropriate security audits, certifications, etc. such as SSAE16 and/or ISAE-3402. Remember the cloud is a technology and the PM will need to be aware of the pros and cons of this technology. It is very important to consult with the appropriate teams.
Michael Alan Kaplan: Many organizations are looking to the cloud to replace legacy systems that are increasingly expensive to maintain. By adopting cloud-based technologies, businesses are reducing total costs and changing from a fixed cost plan to a more flexible one while making resources available for innovation. Established project management software companies are moving their platforms to the cloud. Consumers of these products are embracing the cloud to accelerate business results, enable collaboration across time zones and business silos, and to provide more-efficient business processes.
Steven Baker: Having information on my cell phone that is critical to my decision making allows me to make better decisions in the field, and when I am travelling. I can't always be in the luxury of my office, and being able to access information from anywhere, that auto synchronizes and remains current optimizes my time.
Susanne Madsen: The basic process of leading and managing projects evolves based on methodologies and techniques rather than through technology, regardless of what the tool vendors think. What has changed due to cloud-based technologies is the quality of information available to make decisions, the pace of decision-making and who can be empowered to make decisions. Scrum and other techniques have been facilitated by technology changes like cloud-based tools so that teams can make decisions when needed rather than having to get permission from a project management hierarchy. In the end, the project manager helps shape the direction and the decision by leading more and deciding less.
Jerry Ihejirika: Technology is having a huge impact on project management. Everyday, new software is being launched into the project management world. However, there is an increasing movement of PMOs to cloud-based project management tools to support scheduling and collaboration. I think more PMOs will take advantage of cloud-based scheduling tools that are platform independent and work in mobile environments.
Check out the first three posts of this series: