The emerging digital world has brought some game-changing concepts which have altered the way businesses function. It has also brought about a cultural shift in how the employees want to work. Many supplementary and supporting processes are therefore being moulded in order to support the changing business operations, strategy and enterprise IT structure.
Facebook has changed the way people collaborate and has given a boost to viral marketing concepts which can engage the target customers immensely. Cloud computing has changed the very core of how IT is accessed and utilized. Similarly, the traditional Waterfall model of SDLC is helping evolve Agile methodologies. Cubicle-less work spaces are found to reduce productivity and hence are getting replaced more and more by distributed and virtual teams. This has received additional boost due to availability of smart phones, tablet PCs & sophisticated online collaboration tools and the ability of people to collaborate effectively. Collaboration as a culture is intrinsic to people and organizations now.
Quick time-to-market with continuous development and superior quality is the name of the game now.
Because of the above trends, it is natural that as project managers we now look towards adopting Virtual Project Management as a concept habitually. Not adopting Virtual Project Management will be like sitting on a three legged chair – romancing distributed teams, working with Agile SDLC in distributed teams and adopting cloud computing models but not doing project management virtually. In fact if you are planning to go the cloud way and not considering Virtual Project Management, then you are not leveraging the full potential of cloud computing.
Let us take a simple example of an SMB which is contemplating into expanding one of its services in a niche domain of providing development & maintenance services for applications developed on CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture). Being a specialized area, the SMB would want to hire subject matter experts and well experienced project managers. Now, the non-availability of talent in the location where travel to a physical office of the SMB is feasible, will not (and should not) limit the SMB from expanding its business. The SMB will make use of cloud services and online collaborative tools to engage the best of talents from around the globe. In this situation, you cannot avoid adopting the Virtual Project Management too.
In another example, consider that you are planning to launch a startup. Let us assume that you are building a software product. To reduce the upfront capital expenses, your prudent approach would be to deploy your code on a PaaS. To further keep the expenses low, you will appoint team members who are committed to work in a distributed environment so that you do not have to maintain a large office space. Obviously you will use online collaboration platform too to stay connected. Also, to build the product you will implement project management practices and under this set-up you cannot avoid Virtual Project Management as a concept.
Moving on to future from now, you will not be able to avoid Virtual Project Management and here is the summary of the WHYs:
- Continuous and rapid change in market requirements will force you to be quick in response with superior quality of deliverables.
- Demand for quality will ensure that you engage the best of talents.
- This will force you to adopt distributed team culture.
- Distributed team culture means adopting effective collaboration platforms.
- The cultural shift that people have experienced due to smart phones and improved internet connectivity, makes them demand work-from-anywhere and that which gives them flexibility.
- Virtual team management means managing projects too virtually for significant amount of man-hours.
The sum total of the above factors means gearing up for the Virtual Project Management.
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