Practitioners Rank Tech Trends Affecting Their Teams

Cloud computing, social networking and mobile tech are major factors.

From the cloud to mobile devices, technology puts project management at your fingertips. But with so many tech trends to choose from, how do you pick the right tools for your team? We asked project managers: Which technologies have had the most impact on your project team and the industry?

Constant Connectivity

The evolution of cloud computing, mobile applications and social media is changing the way teams interact and exchange information. These tools help spread work throughout the day because you can answer a question or share a document at any time, anywhere.

My team uses some cloud-based project management products, but on some projects we create a restricted Facebook group to interact with each other. It lets us manage projects in different places and at different times without worrying about firewall policies.

In my opinion, project managers need to know technical processes in order to successfully lead a team. My suggestion is to practice, practice, practice. Start with the basics of a new technology and build your knowledge over time with new features. For example, I’m currently experimenting with Arduino, an open-source platform with user-friendly hardware and software, to monitor sensors from an Internet of Things network. I plan on leveraging this experience to help my team that is working on similar technologies.”

Francesco Bellifemine, PMP, project manager, Exprivia, Molfetta, Italy

Seamless Workflow

Project management software integration is the top tech trend impacting the future for project managers. These ubiquitous environments are making seamless workflow management possible. For example, AtTask, an online work management software, already integrates with popular project management products such as Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook, Atlassian JIRA and ProofHQ. When everything speaks the same language and happens in real time, you have a game-changer in how teams collaborate.

Project managers need to keep up as software continues to evolve. Hiring managers, companies and clients are increasingly expecting tech-savvy project managers. For this reason, the ability to adapt and learn new systems and technologies quickly is a skill project managers must master to succeed in the future.”

Rachel Phillips, PMI-ACP, PMP, project manager and digital sourcing & pricing, HackerAgency, Seattle, Washington, USA

Cloud Vulnerability

Cloud computing and the security implications associated with it will alter the way IT projects are managed. With data on the cloud, there will always be vulnerabilities. As more and more breaches occur, data owners will want more direct control over the data than they currently have. The actual, physical protection of data now falls almost exclusively on the shoulders of the companies storing the data, while legal responsibility for its protection remains with the “owning” organization. We’re likely to see additional leaps in securing data remotely.

We have no way of knowing what the next technological breakthrough will be, however. But regardless of what the future holds, tech trends will almost certainly impact how we manage projects. There are no tricks for keeping up: You just have to keep your nose in the tech world.”

Joseph Mayes, PMP, IT security project manager, Citizens Property Insurance, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Various Tools for Varied Stakeholders

Collaboration, mobility and social networking are some of the tech trends increasingly responding to a dynamic and changing world, not just within teams but also among stakeholders. Collaboration tools support groups working together to accomplish a specific task. Mobility allows those groups to collaborate from anywhere. Social networks allow people to build stronger personal ties.

But project managers should be careful when identifying the proper channel to reach stakeholders. To allow people to interact in ways they are most comfortable with, use a variety of tools such as instant messages, phone calls, web conferences, online forums, wikis, and whiteboard and document collaboration tools. Always keep in mind which tools have been approved by stakeholders’ organizations before choosing one to support a project.

Also remember that stakeholder buy-in to specific collaborative tools will vary depending on each tool’s usability. Whatever the big tech trends of the moment, a project manager’s ability to sell the benefits of the appropriate communication and IT tools has a direct bearing on the project outcome.”

Vânia Neves, PMP, PgMP, IT director, GlaxoSmithKline, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Unite Virtual Teams

Using the Internet to communicate between virtual teams around the world is increasingly part of the technological future of organizations. In this project-heavy world, many global teams comprise members from several countries speaking different languages and working in different cultural environments.

To keep communications precise between virtual, multicultural teams, projects I’ve worked on have adopted clear technology standards. These have included establishing English as the common language and using Skype for video conferencing and screensharing. To help bridge language gaps, team members took free online or paid courses.”

Marconi Fabio Vieira, PMP, CEO, InfoChoice, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Sensing the Future

One of the top tech trends of 2015, the Internet of Things, is rooted in sensors: the little pieces of technology that gather, monitor and transmit data from a parking spot, refrigerator or coffeemaker. The growing investment in these sensors indicates how much and how fast the Internet of Things will impact the project landscape. For more on the Internet of Things, check out the November 2014 issue of PM Network.

20 percent of companies are investing in sensors, compared to 17 percent in 2013.

54 percent of top performing organizations said they plan to invest more in sensors in 2015.

14 percent of respondents said sensors would be of the highest strategic importance to their organizations in the next 3 to 5 years.

Source: PwC, 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey, 2014.

Tech Fix

Technology changes and evolves quickly, so keeping up matters.

How do you stay on top of the latest trends? Share your tips on the PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management LinkedIn Group.

Originally Published in the May 2015 PM Network Magazine