This paper discusses the merits of using project management methods for business projects. A major shortfall in coordinating many individuals and teams doing the work is identified.
The TASKey TEAM method extends existing project management methods by adding the capability to concurrently manage many projects, tasks, teams and individuals. TASKey TEAM software is employed to consistently apply the extended project methods over the Web.
The workplace has changed significantly. The rate of change continues to increase as everyone seeks a competitive advantage. More work is being done by less people. Matrix type management is the norm, because most business projects are completed by people who are working in functionally structured organisations. In addition, information technology has increased the connectivity, but not necessarily the quality of communications.
Managers are beginning to see people as human capital (knowledge workers). Most managers understand that treating people as "simply resources" causes them to move to other workplaces where they are valued. Managers are starting to appreciate the fundamental importance of teams (both formal and virtual) in how work is actually done. This is significant because humans naturally work together to combine their knowledge and skills to achieve a common purpose (that cannot be achieved by an individual).
The functions of management (goal setting, planning, organising, leading, monitoring, coordinating and communicating) are still relevant. However the dynamic nature and complexity of today's workplace make effective planning, organising, monitoring, coordinating and leading very difficult. There is a significant need for distributed methods that facilitate planning, organising, monitoring, and coordinating, so people can achieve high levels of productivity and don't become frustrated and leave the organisation.
Project Management in Business
Many managers in business are applying what they understand to be project management methods. However in many cases managers who state that they are using project management are only employing elements of the project management method.
It is useful to ask the question "Why don't managers in a business environment employ all the elements of project management?" If it is a viable solution for business projects, applying some elements should quickly lead to the application of other elements. We should also ask "Are there gaps in general management methods that make project management methods more difficult to apply?"
The table at Annex A highlights some of the key differences between the traditional project management focus and methods, and the focus and methods required for project success in a business workplace.
Business Project Challenges
The major challenge for business project managers is to move beyond managing individual projects; to project management methods and tools that manage many projects, tasks, teams and individuals in complex changing environments. Success will not only increase productivity, but provide the levels of satisfaction required to keep valuable people in your organisation.
In general terms, the major gap in current business methods is a means to manage individuals and teams to complete projects and tasks in a hyperarchy . This requirement is well beyond the scope of the traditional project management methodology that was designed to manage projects through a hierarchical organisation. The TASKey TEAM method significantly extends traditional project management methods by providing the means to coordinate individuals and teams to complete projects and tasks in a hyperarchy.
After outlining the basic work module employed by TASKey TEAM, the solutions to the major challenges are discussed in more detail. The TASKey TEAM software tool lets geographically dispersed team members apply the solutions consistently.
Basic Work Module
The Task acts as a container to hold all information about the task. The Task Team includes all people who need to see the task (such as the person responsible for the task, delegates, managers, team members and other people who need to coordinate their tasks with the task). The Task Actions are a list of actions that contribute to the task and need to be completed before the task is completed. An Action Team is the people assigned to do the action and the person responsible for completion of the action. People in Action Teams must be included in the Task Team (otherwise they will not see the task or their action).
Tasks are logically connected and tracked using work breakdown methods like those employed on a computer to manage files.
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