In the age of “Reply-Allpocalypse” are you ready for cloud-based PPM?

30 November 2012

Recently, there was story in which an NYU student mistakenly hit “Reply All” in an email sent to his mother in which 40,000 students received his message. With a single click, the entire student community was instantaneously connected showcasing the power of today’s technology and its growing connection to our daily personal and professional lives. In this same vein, the business world has recognized this reality and has consequently embraced the best technology as a matter of survival.  With that being said, cloud computing has dominated the discussions of businesses, solution providers and industry insiders.  For many software vendors aimed at the business community, cloud technology has become the “great equalizer” allowing a whole new crop of providers to offer robust solutions regardless of their inherent technology.

As the saying goes, “It’s difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.”  In order to successfully deploy a cloud-based PPM solution, an organization needs to prepare its troops for change.  The reality is, cloud-based PPM will introduce a new way to manage, track and share information across projects.

To avoid your cloud based PPM software turning into shelfware, the following questions can assist you in preparing your organization for the newly acquired system:

Does your organization leverage the cloud today?

Most organizations leverage the cloud in some form or fashion.  These cloud-based tools need to be considered when introducing a new platform to ensure that users will move to the new system.

Do you have a project governance framework in place?

Leveraging an existing framework will facilitate user adoption.  If there is no framework in place, building one with stakeholder buy-in and aligning it to the new system will increase its success.

Do you leverage any industry best practices (e.g. PMI)?

Similar to leveraging a governance framework, adopting standard methodologies to improve processes with the new system will showcase the benefits of the new PPM solution.

Do you work with dispersed and remote project teams?  Are mobile devices integral to your project workforce?

Organizations with decentralized project teams that regularly collaborate and work from multiple locations can quickly benefit from the easy access of cloud-based PPM software designed to be utilized via multiple web and mobile platforms.

Is collaborative document sharing mature in your organization?

It is helpful to assess the maturity of your current collaboration platform.  In a project-centric environment where the online sharing of documents is common, cloud-based PPM is less of a leap in change.

Is your organization ready for change?

With the introduction of any new process or technology the change management question cannot be ignored.  Including a change management component as part of your deployment plan of your new cloud-based PPM system can mean the difference between successful user adoption and the painful rejection of the new system.

As information workers in the project management world, whether your organization has a formal project portfolio management system in place or not, project based activities are increasingly ending up in the cloud.  Project documents will always be at the center of project activities and the sharing of those documents are commonly exchanged through cloud and web-based tools.  With that in mind, the future of project management relies on the effective use of cloud technology.  However, the manner in which cloud technology is leveraged needs to be a decision made by each project-centric organization based on their specific requirements and culture.

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