Stakeholders at table brainstorming marketing projects
PHOTO: Shutterstock

There's no doubt that the digital workplace is changing project management. From the project itself to the team, location, and resource selection the digital workplace we exist in is changing how businesses and teams execute on projects and collaborate in real-time.

Increase in Digital Team Platforms to Manage Projects.

Companies are leveraging technology to more efficiently manage all aspects of the entire project management lifecycle. Digital platforms are enabling collaboration, communication, document management, scheduling, resourcing, talent management, troubleshooting, training and everything else in project management. This is reducing the lag time between communications and task updates, providing real-time and relevant information directly to the people that need it most. Key performance indicators and business intelligence is available on digital dashboards, expediting the speed at which decisions can be made with confidence.

The digital workplace is enabling greater expediency, efficiency, reliability, and increased productivity in project management. Technology has empowered teams with the tools they need to collaborate, manage tasks, schedules, and resources faster and better in secure environments that automate previously manual processes and automatically timestamp activities and communications for audit purposes. Most project management solutions fall into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and this levels the playing field for businesses projects of all sizes, natures, and locations.

Related Article: Top 16 Enterprise Project Management Software Platforms

Increasing Remote Project Teams

The digital workplace affords companies the ability to manage projects using remote teams. How does this change talent selection? Companies are no longer limited to local talent and can hire top talent from anywhere in the world. This is particularly beneficial for small to midsize businesses, or those in rural or non-traditional business settings, where finding candidates with the right skill sets may be difficult. Technology helps these businesses attract, hire, train, and collaborate through remote teams in real-time.

Reduction in Person-to-Person Connection or Face Time

The days of frequent face-to-face meetings with every team member and stakeholder for everything is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. While face-to-face conversations have their advantages, working in a digital environment may reduce these. Ironically, connectivity can reduce the person-to-person connection. This, in turn, can reduce common ground, common understanding and ultimately common goals. The inability to read body language and facial expressions in conversations increases the chances for misunderstanding and conflict. The result can be a risk to project buy-in. It's important for project managers, team members, stakeholders, and sponsors to factor this in and ensure they are pay particular attention to how they all communicate with each other.

Related Article: Project Management with Office 365: You've Got Options

Improved Agility

The largest win for project teams, stakeholders, and businesses as a whole is the ability to become more agile. The digital workplace seems to have a way of carving out an environment where innovation breeds more innovation. It’s almost infectious. As technology removes the need for manual work-arounds and does much of the process-based heavy lifting, it frees up time for teams to focus on the actual project requirements and value-added tasks rather than the administrative requirements and minutiae. This reduction in unnecessary workload means that project team members are more likely to look for newer and better ways to do things that increase quality, improve processes and deliver better results, faster. All of these benefits translate into increased agility overall.

Increased Project Success Rates

Ultimately the digital environment is playing a vital role in arming project teams with affordable and robust technologies, faster access to high-value business intelligence, and top talent to increase project success rates. Project teams, stakeholders and companies benefit through reduced manual intervention and related stress, streamlined processes, real-time collaboration, access to faster data, and to improved data storage and security.

This allows teams to spend a larger portion of their time immersed in the needs of stakeholders and affords each individual member the opportunity to engage their higher-level knowledge and skills to execute project goals. The culmination of all these benefits and more is in creating an overall project environment more prepared for success.

However, with these digital workplace benefits, there is one cautionary note, namely that person-to-person contact can become a casualty that negatively impacts team and stakeholder connections and project buy-in. Project managers and team members will need to balance technology, people, and processes to fully reap the benefits of managing projects in a digital workplace.