Monday, March 17, 2014

In the Future Everyone Will Be a Project Manager

By Tatyana Sussex

Charles Seybold is a bit of a trend-setter in our book. When he makes statements like, “You are a project manager!” to someone who’s a marketing writer, we like to sit down and get the full story. As our Chief Product Officer, Charles co-founded and designed LiquidPlanner with a vision to transform how projects were managed among teams. We asked him about what the future of project management will look like – and how far we’ve come already.

LiquidPlanner: What makes you think that everyone will be a project manager?

Charles: Let’s start with a definition. Techopedia.com defines “Project Manager” as “the person responsible for leading a project from its inception to execution.” My definition is: “The art and science of delivering results.” Pretty much all of us are trying to do the latter. And technology is making it possible for everyone to achieve great results without having extensive project management training.

LP: How is project management changing?

Charles: Classic project management is essentially about trained project managers gaining control. For most projects, this model is inferior to using collaboration tools that live in the cloud. Empowering people on the front lines to make decisions and to take responsibility is more efficient, more engaging and produces fewer mistakes. When you have many minds aligned and they’re using better tools, this allows management to stop worrying about controlling projects and start focusing on optimizing projects.

LP: How do these changes affect teams and organizations?

Charles: Dramatically. It’s a big change, but it takes a big change to deliver dramatically different results. We all know that laptops work better with multiple cores, specifically; there are actually multiple computers inside your laptop working together to get more stuff done. Collaborative planning software affords organizations the ability to truly process multiple projects simultaneously without crashing the organization or grinding it to a halt. That’s exciting stuff. We routinely have customers tell us that switching to LiquidPlanner felt like boosting the team’s productivity by 30%-40%.

LP: How is the business mindset changing to accommodate this democratization of PMs?

Charles: We’ve become an input society. The old school mindset was that one’s influence was determined by the size of his or her paycheck. With the democratization of data and access to business information, that model is really being flipped on its head. Cloud-based software provides a way for organizations to communicate with each other and for natural business experts to participate equally. Social business collaboration provides a place for orders of magnitude and more ideas to live and breed.

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