The impact of technology on project management

Technology has inundated our lives to the point where just the thought of leaving your phone elsewhere is paralyzing. You must be connected at all times just in case. In case of what? The unknown.

The unknown is scary. What if somebody called me? Who could have called? What if I am the only one with the answer? How will the project survive without me?

These fanciful ideas of your own importance are common because of this constant connection to the world. Your team probably appreciates your occasional absence. They’re likely to be getting on just fine. Instead of a watchful eye of which they are wary, they can actually get some work done. If your team falls apart the moment you’re not there, it may be an indication of your management style and a lack of capacity and capability that you’ve built in your team).

Technology emphasizes that desire to be important. Social media shines a spotlight on our highlights and pushes away any lowlights. Who wants to see you pulling your hair out because of a delayed vendor when they can see pictures of your vacation from a year ago?

Technology is not all bad. It has made project management easier. You can track, control, and execute projects much more quickly with the advent of cell phones, laptops, and software. With its constant connectedness, you can reach anybody at any time anywhere in the world. There is no excuse for not getting a message as one can be sent a million different ways.

However, with the implementation of technology, project management becomes people management. Technology levels the playing field of knowledge. Anyone can search online for the answer. There is no need to memorize facts or statistics when a smartphone in our pocket has processing power never seen before.

If you think you need a fancy application or the latest tactic to manage a project, you are looking in the wrong places. Get back to people management. Soft skills are the differentiator in project managers nowadays.

So, what characteristics are key for effective project managers?

People focused

If you have a strong relationship with a vendor or owner, they are more likely to go that extra mile in times of need. If you are a name on a computer screen with a fancy signature line, you are a cog in the machine.

Many times, I have had to make a call on Friday evening for a vendor or technician to drive across town in weekend traffic to take care of an emergency. Continually, these individuals do not hesitate to do so. If you treat them right, week after week, they will reciprocate.

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