Do You Have a Mobile Strategy?

I have been very busy these last few months with projects involving the use of “mobile” technology and strategies.  Organizations and companies have started looking at their existing tools, technologies and strategies and realizing they have to look at paradigm changes and technology shifts as they occur or become outdated.

Either we manage our corporate technologies, or they manage us. Previously, we were only required to manage the technologies within our walls—technologies that were owned by our organization. All that is changing.

Take, for example, mobile technologies. A mobile strategy used to be a “nice to have.” Today, most technology leaders will tell you that it is an essential tool for your future success.  While at first glance it may appear to you that you don’t really need a mobile strategy.  Here are some recent findings that suggest otherwise:

Mobile workers in your company and your client organizations expect to be able to do email, calendar, IM, access files and applications, edit documents, and print. And many of them expect to be able to do this on their own devices. For example, Juniper Research estimates that the current total of 150M employee-owned devices now being used in workplaces will balloon to 350M by 2014.

This has serious repercussions for technology managers.  We will need to be able to deploy the apps your workers need and protect your corporate data on these devices. The challenge for most of our organizations, and for technology managers specifically, will be to enable employees to use their own devices, but on your terms.

Moving into 2013 – technology managers, IT leaders, and business unit leaders must collaborate to determine how much “mobile” their organization needs, and how to enable it.  A tool/method introduced to me by a consulting firm, called Performance DNA , assisted me in many projects to help our client organizations identify the outcomes they must deliver, opportunities to use mobile technologies either to replace or support desktop applications, and the best ways to achieve success.  The resulting mobile technology roadmap provides answers to the “what,” “when,” and “how” questions surrounding the introduction and appropriate application of mobile technology.

How do you determine your mobile strategy? What techniques have worked for you?

Is it Possible to Do More Project Management with Less?

I don’t know about you, but recently I have heard the phrase “doing more with less” many, many times. It has come from technology managers in both the commercial sector and public sector.  Corporations and government organizations alike continue to reduce the size of their workforces while attempting to “get work done” (or sometimes more work done) in spite of hiring freezes.  Work as we know it, including project management, is undergoing profound change. With colleagues laid off and a wave of upcoming baby boomer retirements, what’s a professional project manager in a PMO to do?  Is it possible to do more with less in our field?

The initial knee jerk reaction, of course is to counter, “but I need more skilled project managers.”  I know that I have sure had my fill of people being assigned as “project managers” who are little more than team members who are now leads. But the reality is—at least for the present—corporation and agency leadership is not likely to give us the full component of project staff members that we think we need.

So, in a spirit of finding a silver lining in the project staffing cloud under which many of us are working, I have a few suggestions to help us survive doing more with less.

  1. Develop templates that even non-PMPs can use –
    We use templates all the time and many are available free from vendors.  A template done correctly can help codify the information you need and help manage the communication of project data.
  2. Create online forms that streamline common requests and approvals –
    If you are fortunate enough to have an online collaboration portal (Like SharePoint, eRoom, Google Docs – now Google Drive, BaseCamp, etc) then create a form that can be used to facilitate processes.  Since you don’t have time to chase around getting approvals, use the power of the computer to capture and route these types of processes.
  3. Define and automate workflows that help your team get work done –
    If you are even MORE fortunate to have a tool that does workflows (Like SharePoint, Clarity PPM, ProcessIT, etc) then you can create a workflow to manage the processes or take a form and send it through an approval process.
  4. Automate the most time consuming processes with a tool or template.  Things like status reporting, resource allocation, demand management, requests and approvals, or schedule updating. (Again the big tools are Project Server, Clarity, and many other online tools)

This is not an exhaustive list – but hopefully is a good starter for you.

When faced with challenges such as doing more with less, smart firms find ways to innovate through processes and technology.  What additional techniques is your organization using to maintain professional project management with fewer resources?

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