ARTICLE | 25 AUGUST, 2014 | BY ZOE D’SILVA
The demand for project management skills within the public sector has increased greatly over the past decade as government entities strive to keep up with the continuously increasing demand for public sector efficiency and excellence in government performance.
With the acknowledgement and growing awareness of the efficiency that results from using widely accepted project management standards and frameworks such as the PMP and Prince 2, many functional units will start to operate like a project management team or PMO. Whilst project management concepts and standards are quite common for IT divisions which require such due diligence in the delivery of IT projects such as software and/or hardware implementations, project management is typically seen as something that “the engineering department” or “Technical Teams” use. Other functional units are now getting smarter as they begin to mirror IT Divisions’ project management structures to ensure successful implementation.
Project Management Roles are now being assigned or replicated amongst team members in core business and support sections or divisions with the aim of increasing efficiency, reducing errors, and improving performance. HR divisions, finance divisions, legal divisions, and other business functions will invest in project management training to help implement organizational changes that were once expected to be completed as part of business operations.
In 2014, more organizations will move to cloud based project management tools to support pPublicroject scheduling and collaboration. Many innovative and functional tools have been introduced to the market such as LiquidPlanner, AtTask, ProjectManager.com, Wrike, and Microsoft’s new Project Online software.
More organizations will take advantage of the web-based scheduling tools that are platform independent and have mobile enabled technology allowing users to contribute to project scheduling and collaboration through their phone or tablet!
Individual scheduling on single client machines are being to become obsolete as smart firms begin to replace their use with these innovative scheduling and collaboration tools.
Inter-governmental collaboration has been and continues to be a hot topic in the public sector. It is well known that most government entities tend to work in silos, even though some are very interdependent and continuously rely on collaboration and data sharing to fulfill their objectives. Even within some large government organizations, divisions and sectors tend to work in silos and operate as independent entities.
The answer to the problem above may be the new wave of online collaboration tools that have been introduced in recent years. Although web-based document sharing solutions have been around for a long time, these tools are now being replaced with seamless collaboration platforms that promote interdepartmental collaboration and integration. This trend and the adoption of these collaboration tools may see public sector employees move away from their email inbox and towards these collaboration platforms.
More organizations will begin to adopt collaboration tools to support project management and interdependency management such as Asana, tibbr, and Trello. These tools are easily integrated with commonly used platforms such as Sharepoint, Dropbox, Google Docs.
As organizations begin to leverage the collaboration tools that were briefly discussed in previous sections, the reliance on distributed teams will increase. Collaboration Tools allow distributed teams to have better visibility into project and program progress and performance. They also help eliminate communication barriers such as physical location and access to data which enables organizations to make use of talent across the organization and across geographic locations.
With the emergence of these innovative and useful project management and collaboration tools, project sponsors can now make better use of the diverse and specialized talent pools that may exist within their organizations.
It may take some time for the public sector to adjust to such working methods as matrix organizations are not commonly seen across the public sector. However, it would be in the best interest of public sector entities to re-assess company policies regarding project management and inter divisional collaboration.
Today, project management practitioners are moving away from traditional focus on the key project elements of scope, cost, and time and more towards defining project success in terms of perceived customer value and quality. After all, it is the end user, or customer, who eventually determines what “quality” or “value” actually mean. This is called customer centric project management and it is centered on the importance of continuously engaging stakeholders and seeking customer feedback at as many intervals as possible.
The customer centric project management principles have given rise to the use of social media in project management. Social media can be used across all stages of project delivery in seeking customer feedback and public opinion about product and/or service ideas, planning, risk management, and many other critical elements that may lead to successful project outcomes. Project Managers can now use easy and cost effective social media channels to conduct important activities such as requirements gathering, risk planning, quality planning, design ideas, and more by simply tweeting, blogging, or using any other social media tools available to solicit feedback, comments, and/or complaints.