A Game Changer for Project Management

Image Source: proofhub.com

Project management is the discipline of ensuring that projects with a sizeable budget are completed on time and under budget. A good project management plan will have identified roles, teams, accountability, and monitoring of the project from start to end. Duncan Haughey (Project Smart)  gives us a brief history of project management.

Project Management as a profession and discipline has a long history. While one might go way back to the building of the The Great Pyramid of Giza as perhaps the first managed project, the modern iteration of Project Management could be traced back to 1917, when Henry Gantt developed the Gantt chart. Certainly, considered a forefather of modern project management, it wouldn’t be until the 1950’s that significant improvements to the discipline would occur.

Image Source: bbc.com – Great Pyramid (Khufu’s Pyramid) located in Giza.

In 1956 the American Association of Cost Engineers was formed, to be followed by the introduction of the Critical Path Method (CPM) in 1957, and then the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) was introduced in 1958—invented for the U.S. Navy’s Polaris Project

In 1965 the International Project Management Association (IPMA) was founded—which would naturally give rise to the Project Management Institute (PMI) that was founded a year later in 1969—to promote the profession of project management.

Now with blockchain—we may be on the precipice of another leap forward in the efficiencies of project management.

Current Issues

According to Fares Alkudmani (Quora) citing a study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) “found that, for every 1 billion dollars invested in the US, 122 billion dollars was misused as a result of ineffective project management.” Clearly a statistic that suggests Project Management is out of control. Moreover, by 2014 only 36% of “projects were finalized on time and under budget.” With as many years of scientific and organizational support for project management, one might expect significant improvements in project management.

As a result, says Alkudmani, “Key stakeholders in this sector view the emergence of blockchain technology as one of the ways through which project management can be revolutionized.” Clearly there is a need to cut costs and improve project success to go well above 36%.

As the global economy becomes more complex, a decentralized solution may hold the answer. Blockchain is now being looked at as an integral part of the solution for project management. It has the potential “to scale into the future, enhance the quality of governance, and minimize bureaucracy.” While blockchain is not expected to replace conventional project managers, it will enable project managers to more accurately meet project milestones in a way that projects will be completed on time and under budget.

Blockchain can enable project team members and participants and open up the processes such that every entity involved, and not just the project manager, has access to the workflow, milestones, deliverables, project reports and more. The goal for blockchain use case in project management will be to create “an ecosystem of trust,” a view shared by experts as integral to realizing efficiency in the industry.

Blockchain: A Solution for Project Management

Blockchain is being looked at as a way to reduce delays in deliverables. With blockchain every task can be monitored and reported in real time, thus reducing the likelihood of overruns.

Blockchain can assist the project manager in managing task dependencies and milestones. It can aid in defining roles and responsibilities of team members. Moreover, blockchain can also ensure a secure transfer of data—thereby preventing time and cost overruns. The project manager will be able to monitor dramatic reductions in cost—and complete projects without exceeding the budget limitations.

Blockchain offers a number of use case options to make this all happen. According to ProProfs Project, blockchain technology has the ability to disrupt project management as we know it, and from my perspective, it is a game changer for the PMO—that is, the Project Management Office for those business entities that have a formal project management system. Here’s how blockchain offers a new approach to project management.

Decentralized Transactions

Blockchain is a decentralized system. Project team members can be given access to project management reporting tools from any location or entry point. Blockchain technology is transparent and immutable. Project details can be viewed and monitored by everyone on the team, and no one person can change or alter the report.

Project managers will be able to monitor members’ progress. Because everyone is connected to each other—no one can “bluff” the other—thus the blockchain ecosystem can “uphold the accountability of the project team members.”

Image Source: goaskcody.com – Centralized vs Decentralized work space. A decentralized workspace allows more collaboration and a stronger team structure.

Smart Contracts for Efficient Functioning

One of the most significant aspects of blockchain is the smart contract. Code is set up to evaluate conditional statements and then take action on predefined goals and targets (agreements) such as paying a contractor when a milestone condition has been met. In essence, smart contracts are logic based computer code that are self-executing contracts.

Smart contracts can aid in project results by ensuring automatic payments to vendors, contractors, and consultants. They enhance performance management by automatically checking accomplishment of project milestones. And—smart contracts can be created for “procurement, time and expense sheets approval.”  (ProProfs Project) Lastly, a smart contract can set up to automatically approve project status reports.

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Contratos inteligentes. Un contrato inteligente (en inglés Smart contract) es un programa informático que facilita, asegura, hace cumplir y ejecuta acuerdos registrados entre dos o más partes (por ejemplo personas u organizaciones). Como tales ellos les ayudarían en la negociación y definición de tales acuerdos que causarán que ciertas acciones sucedan como resultado de que se cumplan una serie de condiciones específicas. Un contrato inteligente es un programa que vive en un sistema no controlado por ninguna de las partes, o sus agentes, y que ejecuta un contrato automático el cual funciona como una sentencia if-then (si-entonces) de cualquier otro programa de ordenador. Con la diferencia de que se realiza de una manera que interactúa con activos reales. Cuando se dispara una condición pre-programada, no sujeta a ningún tipo de valoración humana, el contrato inteligente ejecuta la cláusula contractual correspondiente. La novedad es por tanto que las partes una vez firmado y finalizado se olvidan de todo, la máquina se encarga de todo el proceso. El proceso es completamente autónomo a las partes implicadas. La autonomía de la voluntad llevada a su máximo exponente y explendor. Si es verdad que la propuesta y presupuesto así como la programación plantea problemas en su ejecució, la resolución de controversias por ejemplo no es tan sencilla como aparece. Si A a veces ni es C ni es D y hay que pasar a Z y para ello está la resolución ante el tribunal. De ahí el interés por crear una inteligencia jurídica. #smartcontracts #inteligencia_artificial #inteligenciaartificial #inteligenciaartificialjuridica #blockchain #apps #diseñodeapps #laws #derecho #disruptivetechnology

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Conclusion

Managing a project is difficult primarily due to the human factor. The project manager is responsible for managing the project, but rarely has line authority over team members. They must work across a myriad of functional departments involved in a project.

Whether the project is a blockchain technology use case project, or a project designed to send a team of blockchain coders to Mars—the processes are typically the same. Blockchain has the promise of being able to bridge accountability and responsibility in a way that could result in significant increase in success rates in completing a project on time, under budget.

 

Samuel H. is an author, writer and speaker with over twenty years in the educational technology sector.

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