Last week I came across a really interesting blog entry from Adeline Teoh, the editor of projectmanger.com.au. Looking back at project management as a profession over the last 30 years, the article talks about how there has been a paradigm shift in project management, whereby the profession is no longer confined to just construction and defence anymore. As companies are realising the importance of structured organisation and management of people and processes, the field of project management has stretched its influence to other disciplines such as IT, health and community development.
As such, in the last five years in particular, project management has come into its own as a recognised profession, with stringent examinations for accreditation and Masters Degrees available at some universities. And it is perhaps the nature of project management that has made it so difficult for software designers to continually evolve with the profession. From an accidental professional born out of construction and engineering, to a fully fledged career, the diversity of disciplines that project management covers means it can be challenging to develop software to assist in the managing of projects.
In the past, project management software has taken a purely construction approach, resulting in one size fits all solutions that haven’t been able to adapt and evolve as project management has expanded to other disciplines. These have also often been highly specialised solutions to fit the nature of construction project management, so have provided too many complex and specialised features that project managers in other disciplines do not need, and therefore do not want to pay for.
But the IT industry seems to be catching up, and developing solutions like IPM, that can be customised. Customisation is one of the most valuable aspects a software solution can have, giving users the opportunity to tweak features such as field labels and workflow processes to suit the particular industry their project is managed in.
One of the best things about IPM is that it has a solid foundation of fundamental project management aspects that can then be customised or expanded if necessary to include things like integration with accounting systems. We have clients from all different disciplines who use the software, and we ourselves use it to manage our own IT projects. Because it is a fluid and evolving solution, it can keep up with project management as it evolves into other disciplines.
So if the last 20 or so years are anything to go by, project management as a disciple will continue to evolve rapidly. And it is important that we in the IT industry continue to evolve with it in order to develop helpful and logical solutions that can provide project managers, both within and outside of construction, with what they need.