I’m interested in interviewing project managers about their experience using mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablet computers to support their project management work. A particular interest is the impact of such technologies have on the communication and collaboration that occurs during the course of a project. I’m currently writing an article about using mobile technologies as part of project management as a continuation of a series started with a post titled “Developing a Collaborative Approach to Improving Project Management Practices, Part 1: Culture” located here:
I’ve posted some initial thoughts on the topic on Google+
and would be very interested in hearing about your project management experiences using mobile technologies.
Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.
You might want to look up Hal Macomber, I know his teams have used Yammer in the past.
Josh thank you for the suggestion. I have contacted Hal. = Dennis
Regarding the types of questions: I’m especially interested in learning whether smartphones and tablets and their built-in communication, collaboration, and browser based features are sufficient to support project management, or whether it also makes sense to incorporate use of project management specific apps that in the past were primarily accessible only via networked computers or laptops. I know that isn’t a cut and dried distinction but it reflects my belief that anything that makes it easier to communicate and collaborate on a project, regardless of the team member’s physical location, is a Good Thing.
As a PMP and user of tools such as Basecamp, I think there are a limited number of useful use cases for mobile PM apps. Good for updating task status and responding to comments, but not much else. Now I will say that how useful probably depends on where the project sits on the async-sync continuum. The more “sync” the project, the more useful mobile PM apps become, especially for distributed teams. Just my opinion without having fully stress-tested mobile PM apps.
Chris one of my questions is whether or not effective use of mobile technologies to support project-related communication and collaboration might actually reduce the value of applications we traditionally classify as project management tools. Once you are able to more effectively communicate (and if necessary make decisions about) an event in real time or via delayed communication, is there the same need for a centralized system? The devil is in te details of course and will depend on what project management use case you’re considering.
If you would like to chat about this let me know.
Let me make sure that I understand your question correctly. When you say de-value traditional PM systems, are you asking do apps like Skype chat on my Android potentially eliminate the need to use Microsoft Project Server or web-based tool like Basecamp? If so, my answer is yes and no depending on the type and nature of project. Based on my own experience, what apps like Skype do is reduce the amount of overhead required to maintain my project in a centralized system. For example, I do not need to define tasks down to the n-th degree. I just keep them very high-level and work the low-level details via sync communication.
So let me add to my statement below. The centralized system provides a framework within which the team members will execute work. It’s sets the boundaries. It orients the team as to what we’re driving toward. The execution of work largely takes place through tools such as Skype, group charts, etc.
Chris: yes you understand my question correctly. I agree with you that the answer depends on the nature and type of the project, both of which drive the feasibility of managing “low-level details” using direct realtime communication (which is, I assume, what you mean by “sync” communication”). Why spend time reporting data into a central system via a mobile device if you’re just going to turn around and use it when communicating with someone directly?
The areas where the uses cases for this situation need to be explored a bit more (which is what I’m trying to do) is with large projects that have to mix agile and waterfall type tasks, and situations where scarce human resources exist that need to be shared.