With the rapid onset of cloud computing, the main question I have been asking myself lately is, “Has the project manager’s role kept up?” We have at many times over the last few decades been part of the trends in technology management, be it quality in the form of risk management post-Challenger disaster, or the focus on group dynamics during the XV Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.
With the increase in global presence, is it time to form “The PMO (Project Management Office) in the Sky?” There are many things pointing to answer this question in the affirmative, so let’s go through some of the major ones.
In large part, every country that is currently engaging in any form of technology has, or is part of, a global organization. Outsourcing, offshore development, international trade agreements, and free trade zones are all examples of globalization. The world has become so localized that there is in fact a language developed to facilitate communication between people who do not share a native tongue – lingua franca. Being located in the same time zone, or even in the same country is no longer a requirement to efficiently operate as a team.
One huge advantage for this PMO in the Sky concept, is the actual sky portion, i.e. cloud computing. The internet has created such a great opportunity for collaboration that whole applications and operating systems are being built around it. Though it is not new, it has seen a large-scale increase just in the last two years. Rolls Royce, ING Direct, and PayPal have all deployed some sort of cloud based project management system.
The Sky’s the Limit Communications
Gone are the days of landlines and international toll calls. Communication has advanced significantly since even ten years ago. Skype, FaceTime, HD video conferencing have all but removed the visual barriers of communications. Just ten to fifteen years ago, we had audio delays and very expensive calling, even to our friends’ north of the border in Canada. Now video conferencing is one of the top ways for global organizations to maintain a tight-knit team.
A big benefactor to the PMO in the Sky is the corporate bottom line. Cost savings on real estate, software and talent have the potential to be significant. No longer do we need to have a singular corporate location to house personnel. As indicated in the paragraph above, there are many tools now that give the user access from pretty much any internet-connected device. Having global access to a highly skilled workforce reduces costs, not only on a competitive salary basis, but in a larger sense access to skill sets that may not be found locally.
Project Management Practices
There are now practices in place that offer project managers the skills and tools to better manage the project from a cloud perspective. Agile, Waterfall, and Six Sigma for instance, have best practices in handling a geographically dispersed workforce. Some methods call for aligned work hours; others use a project work effort hand off where the previous shift “hands off” work product to the next shift, in order to create a 24-hour project cycle.
No matter the reason, now is the time to go virtual and get your PMO in the Sky.
[avatar user=”jchamberlain” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” /]JEFF L. CHAMBERLAIN, PMP | Project Manager
Jeff comes to KTL Solutions with an extensive background in healthcare IT, technical consulting, and telecommunications. He has been a project manager for almost 20 years, holding certifications from the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional, from the Management and Strategy Institute as a Six Sigma Lean Professional, and he holds a Scrum Master Certification from the Scrum Alliance. He has managed both hardware and software implementations for both the government and private sectors, in industries such as healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, staff augmentation, supply chain and shipping.
Jeff has provided training for clients globally, working in Europe, Russia, North and South America on various topics from system optimization to wireless theory and design. He possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Writing from the University of Baltimore.