There has been much discussion around the business benefits of cloud technology and superfast mobile broadband. New technologies will make true mobility and on-demand intelligence a reality, allowing people to work on their own terms and enabling leaner, more productive workspaces. However, little has been said about how project managers are under more pressure than ever to adapt to the growing role of technology, the increasingly global nature of business, and customers’ evolving expectations.

A recent study examined how these pressures are changing business habits throughout Europe, affecting how team members work together on projects. The research found that project managers waste up to 20 working days a year due to inefficient ways of working. In turn, missed deadlines, overextended budgets, stress and decreased productivity. In this context, how can businesses get rid of the chaos and keep up with the always-on world?

The Security Challenge

Technology is seen as a solution to many of today’s business challenges. In fact, three-quarters of project managers expect new management and collaboration tools to lead to fewer project delays and two-thirds think these technologies can help them control costs better. Nevertheless, it also poses risks. Keeping data safe has never been as important as it is today. But while two-thirds of project managers can access sensitive data in their organisation, only half can see who has actually read, changed or downloaded a shared document.

It’s important to remember that not all clouds are created equal. Many free tools could put sensitive data at risk because they have major flaws that could easily be exploited. Only the appropriate safeguards can protect managers, their teams, and their organisations’ revenue and reputation. Businesses need to ensure that their teams know about the risks of using free tools, opting for those that have been certified by a third party, and are equipped with the latest encryption technologies. By adopting a simple, open, company-wide policy and achieving a balance between security and user friendliness in any technology choices they make, businesses can avoid data ending up in the wrong hands.

Reducing Mobility & Communication Complexity

Teams need to be able to communicate and collaborate without boundaries and use tools which will allow them to access data and do their jobs from any type of device, whenever and wherever they want. But despite the growing number of cloud-based, virtualised tools available for laptops, mobile phones and tablets, lack of communication between team members is still a big headache for businesses.

By embracing integrated, easy-to-use systems that reduce organisational complexity, businesses can get rid of communication chaos and enjoy the benefits of true mobility, boosting accessibility amongst teams, while still gaining the control they need to properly plan and manage projects.

Online & Offline Workspaces

Lean collaborative workspaces call for the right tools to ensure effective collaboration and maximum productivity gains – regardless of where each team member might be. With more and more businesses of all sizes having geographically dispersed teams and adopting flexible working policies, today’s companies are in search of cloud-based tools to set up virtual project rooms, where project managers are able to communicate and collaborate with their teams as effectively as if they were sitting across the table from each other.

Most project managers believe that replacing outdated project management tools with better collaboration platforms would empower them to manage their time, budgets and teams more effectively. Despite this, only half say that their IT department supports the use of new technologies. It’s crucial that businesses get their IT teams’ buy-in for more innovative ways of working, such as digital Kanban and Gantt tools, which can empower teams with collaborative planning and execution in the cloud, while providing the project manager with a complete overview of the progress made.

The latest technology trends are also driving changes in physical work spaces. More and more organisations are transforming their offices to help build a more agile and lean business both online and offline. The lean collaborative workspace is all about co-creation amongst peers rather than change from above. It’s about fostering happier, more communicative teams who are more committed to achieving common goals and to the business as a whole.

The Key To Achieving Project Harmony

In order to be able to manage projects successfully, businesses need to achieve a balance of elements, including a motivated team, easy collaboration, smooth communication, and getting things done on time and within budget. When balance is achieved, projects run like clockwork. But, if just one of those elements slips, the balance is disrupted and chaos ensues.

In today’s digital world the businesses that are set to turn project management chaos into harmony are those that make use of the latest technologies and adopt innovative ways of working. While the rapid evolution of technology might sometimes surprise organisations, the latest innovations are proving instrumental in empowering businesses to face chaotic, inefficient ways of working head-on. By harnessing tools that enable new ways of working, they can propel smarter, goal-driven collaboration, ensuring project success.