Harjit Singh In Chapter 1 of Project
Management Analytics – A data-driven approach to making rational and effective
project decisions, is emphasizing the importance of analytics in
Project Management, by distinguishing the difference between
analytics and analysis. How Project Managers (PMs) can use the predictive
information to make better decisions and keep projects on schedule and on budget, which
analytical approach can be used to deal with a large number of
uncertainties throughout the project life cycle. There is no doubt that
Analytics has a significant importance in Project Management. Harjit
Singh’s work is one of a kind and even the Project Management Body of
Knowledge Guide (PMBOK), which is considered the global standard for project
management processes, does not provide adequate details on an analytics-focused
approach (Singh 2015, p.4). The mind map in
Figure 1 summarizes the project management analytics approach.
For the purpose of this essay, the focus
of the following discussion will concentrate on a single thread of figure
1, namely how Analytics can be used in Project Management, using an ICT
is ICT Important to Project Management?
Information Communication and Technology
(ICT) has a significant role in Project Management as
well. As Analytics, ICT can be used to make better decisions and is
helpful in keeping the projects on-schedule and on-budget by using a large set
of ICT tools. In the today technological environment, Project Managers
(PMs), should and have to benefit in full of the use of ICT tools. Using them
makes PMs able to plan and control better, to communicate quicker, to act
faster. They have been developed to help with every phase of the Project Life
Cycle. The advantage of using ICT tools is evident and quite impressive. PMs
can keep in touch with project team all over the world. They can share large
amount of information with one click of a button, or one touch of the screen
with all the team members simultaneously. The project’s feasibility and
the project’s success directly rely on how effectively and efficiently PMs
are using the ICT tools in Project Management. Low-end tools are the least
expensive, and several are available as apps. Midrange tools can usually create
Gantt charts, perform critical path analysis, etc. High-end tools often perform
portfolio management and can be used across a large organization. (Schwalbe 2015, p.172)
To ensure successful project performance,
project resources especially the people who are involved in the project must be
well managed applying skills of Project Management (PM) (Humaidi and Asarani, 2012).
Project Managers have to understand the roles and participation of people
in the project, including stakeholders and beneficiaries. Project success
used to be measured solely in terms of efficiency metrics such as scope, cost
and time; however, there are proposals that more attention should be paid to
process-related performance factors such as communication and
Effective and efficient?communication?is
one key to a project’s success. Big projects involve more
stakeholders and thus a greater number of communication channels. Project
managers must have a solid communication plan that identifies all stakeholders
along with their influence and impact. It’s vital to set priorities for
reporting and stakeholder communications and to be as specific as possible in
those communications (Ayyar 2016). The advent of
email, Instant Messaging (IM), audio conference has
significantly impacted the way the world communicates. (Marius C. Smit et al. 2017).
E-mail?is an excellent distributor of
information, it is the dominant communication tool in all the phases of the
Project Life Cycle. Email messages are complete and there is
no need to explain the context of the communication. It is the most
preferable way of reporting to stakeholders, because of its traceability e.g.
it can be used as part of project documentation.
Audio conferencing is very useful
for weekly team meetings, in which all team members report their
progress and new ideas for the project, for coordinating work within
the team. It enables communication
with ease and provides a reliable, cost-effective solution for collaboration.
Instant Messaging (IM) improves communication in the Project Management as
well. It is very efficient, because it allows messages to appear
immediately, saving time. Through instant messaging,
team members can remain in permanent contact with each over in
case problems arise that require assistance. The progress in the project
can be managed remotely by actively communicating within the team.
ICT Collaborative Tools
ICT Collaborative tools are
web-based applications that offer basic services such as project
wikis, cloud-based file sharing such as Google Drive, Microsoft
OneDrive, Drop Box, collaborative editing such as Microsoft Office
365, and social networking such as Linked In, blogs and
microblogs such as Twitter. Most of them are accessible via smartphones
and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. In the last two decades, the Collaborative ICT tools
have become more popular in Project Management contexts. The main driver for this growing usage is the
increasing use of virtual project teams with team members spread out over
the whole world (Marion et al. 2016). Collaborating online is
the perfect way to mitigate the distance between team members, as they can work
together on the same documents, at the same time as if they were all in the
same room. ICT Collaborative Tools have the ability to track the project progress,
how it is evolving from day one – it’s never been easier to manage a project.
Top ICT collaboration tools nowadays are very helpful in any project size, they
reduce the project’s expenses on office space and travel, enhance the
productivity by offering simple web-based processes. The
frequency usage of ICT collaborative tools has a positive
correlation with project performance. In other words, the best-performing
projects used ICT collaborative tools more often and in a wider
variety than their less successful counterparts did, although it is important
to note that this fact does not imply causation but only a
correlation between usage of these tools and project success. And although the
usage of these ICT collaborative tools is relatively low overall,
when project teams do use them, their influence on project performance can be
felt – the correlations between project performance and ICT tool
use is significant.
(Marion et al. 2016)
Figure 2 from above illustrates how ICT Communication
and Collaborative Tools evolved in the last two decades. And this is not the
limit. More and more tools are being developed, but the main idea remains the
same, adding more futures to enhance the productivity. Agile approach has
changed the game rules. To stay competitive, Project Managers must adapt to the
technological environment evolution.
In Chapter 1 of Project Management
Analytics – A data-driven approach to making rational and effective project
decisions, the author speaks in terms of methodologies around the
application of data analytics in Project Management. While this
clearly relevant, in terms of metrics of the analytics, it is important to pay
attention to other aspects, including the human factor. It has a major
role in the overall success or failure of any type of projects,
including ICT. As mention above ICT Communication and Collaborative
Tools are very useful, but the lack of face-to-face interaction which sometimes
can be beneficial in reading body language of the participants, can be very
The importance of Analytics and ICT in
Project Management is significant and a combination of this two…. will only facilitate Project Managers and their team
members work during every phase of Project Life Cycle, improving the quality,
reducing the time and cost.
Analytics. 2017. Wikipedia.
Ayyar, A. 2016. Data Discourse. PM Network, 30(11),
and Asarani, N. A. M. (2012). Investigation on Project Management
Performance Using Knowledge Project Management Performance Assessment Model: A
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Marion, T.J., Reid, M., Hultink, E.J. and Barczak, G.
2016. The influence of collaborative IT tools on NPD: high-performing
NPD teams tend to use collaborative tools such as wikis and microblogs
throughout the NPD process.
Marius C. Smit, Taryn J. Bond-Barnard, Herman Steyn and
Inger Fabris-Rotelli 2017. Email communication in project management: A bane or
a blessing? South African Journal of Information Management, Vol
19, Iss 1, Pp e1-e10 (2017), 19(1), p.e1.
Schwalbe, K. 2015. Information technology project
management. Eighth edition. Australia?; Brazil: Cengage Learning.
Singh, H. 2015. Project Management Analytics A
Data-Driven Approach to Making Rational and Effective Project Decisions.