Technological Innovation in Project Management

With the advent of globalization and highly sophisticated technological advances, today, more than ever before, there is a high need for stable, streamlined project management. The business world and governments are in constant pursuit to analyze and enhance their effectiveness and efficiency for work and output so that better prospects can be met. One more important aspect of today’s working conditions is the large scale of operations and seedy requisition of output. Thus, today’s project management can be a hard nut to crack even for a well-experienced manager if they are not equipped with the necessary tools of project management. The project management task becomes even more daunting when it comes to handling technology in a project.

In this way, a very innovative and technically sound approach is needed for the better handling of a project. The present paper investigates in the area of project management the innovative uses of technology used to bring forward better results to manage a project. The present study, henceforth, looks at project management and technological innovation from various angles exploring different projects and different disciplines and fields so that a triangulation of data and analysis can be obtained for better validity and sound grounds.

Literature Review

Stuckenbruck (1982) states that a project is a “one shot, time-limited, goal directed, major undertaking, requiring the commitment of varied skills and resources.” As such project management is one of the most significant mechanisms for high capital generations and other entrepreneurial operations such as developing new products and services with a high order of the management. In addition to the generally found diversity in the management of project management, there are, in common, three approaches used for project management. These are (i) functional project management; (ii) project team approach; (iii) and matrix approach Larson, E. W., Gobeli, D. H., & Gray, C. F. (1991, p. 30).

Information Technology and Project Management

At present both large and small organizations have come to realize the fact that organizing complex products and projects and services are highly rewarding when it comes to profitability. The same is true when it comes to increasing demands in education and the integration of technology with innovative uses to capture the demand onto stable tracks. One such example of innovative use of technology in educational project management is, “Learning Generation model. The model uses a multifaceted implementation with programmatic reform, enhanced infrastructure, technology enriched field placement, ongoing technical support, robust web communications, and Innovation Cohorts” Aust, R., Newberry, B., O’Brien., J., & Thomas, J. (p. 167, 2005). There were seven stages in the model cohort to investigate technology integration (with other areas also. These were: (1) genesis; (2) consultation; (3) planning; (4) initiation; (5) action; (6) assessment; and (7) celebration. This model was developed to study and indicate the innovation of technology in education. The conclusion of the study found that continuous advances in the rapidly growing field of information technology and escalating numbers of new teachers make it all the more necessary to innovate technology so that several unaddressed issues can be brought into account for better results. This study results show that both faculty and students are comparatively confident of their capability to use word application programs, resources available online, and some basic features of the computer. However, these two groups were not found this confident about their capability of making use of databases, software for presentation, spreadsheet software.

The study highlighted the prospective innovation in these areas. For example, “Presentation software can be used as “shovelware” to replicate “chalkboard” displays of text and bulleted list in direct instruction” (Aust, R. et al., p. 167, 2005). Moreover, their investigation also explored the possibility for the same technology to be employed in the process of constructive learning, that is to say, investigative studies by students on hypotheses and presentation of the findings in a media-rich presentation.

As such the model is one innovation when it comes to “a systematic model for fostering technology integration in teacher education” (Aust, R. et al., p. 167, 2005). The best possible description of the feasibility of the model is that it sustains interest, collaborative work, and ownership in the process of attaining long-span change as compared to near-term skill-based outcomes.

The study shows that the implementation of the model is going to benefit from several conditions. These are: bringing ready program reforms in teacher education; placing successfully a program about administrative fund linked with personnel needs; assistance for technology; availability and best possible utilization of online resources, components. The dire innovation that was shown to be needed by the opinion of students and teachers was that technology was required to be integrated into their educational courses so that they can make the most of their capabilities.

Information Technology Offshore Outsourcing and Project Management

Today, due to certain constraints and prospects for higher profit, offshore outsourcing has become common in the business world in such countries as the United States of America. The tendency to outsource business will grow in the coming future. In this regard, basic functions of information technology (e.g. testing and programming) are now taking shape of commodity tasks. As such future businesses will dispatch this commodity offshore. More sophistication will follow about the structural changes in information technology. However, such outsourcing will yearn for a stable need for innovation of technology in project management to be outsourced.

Although a significant number of risks have been reported by studies about the outsourcing of the work:

“Project management can reduce risk, capture the total cost of the project, enhance quality and manage the time elements and resource constraints, and increase the likelihood of meeting target dates. Project management enables managers to focus on other critical success factors, such as vendor capability” (Murray, M. J., & Crandall, R. E. p. 4, 2006).

There are two major areas to cover for this project management; one is related to the management process; the other is related to innovative integration of technology in the process of project management: the systems development life cycle (SDLC) of an information technology project.

The SDLC is a systematically constructed advance for the development of information systems. The initial face of the approach takes into account the planning phase and constructs to a successful implementation of the information systems. There several models for the application of the SDLC framework. However, the present study included the following phases to implement the model. These phases were: planning; analysis; designing; development of the project and its management; testing of the model; and eventually the implementation and the maintenance phase.

The entire study investigates the effectiveness of a technologically structured system that can execute high-order operations in offshore outsourcing of information technology. This approach needs a systematic integration of technology with an innovative approach, that is to say, how to minimize the possible cost and time, at the same time maximize prospective costs in the longer period of an offshore business venture. Moreover, integration of technology in such project management requires reduction of risks factors hampering profits and stability of the business.

The one point of concern that the authors raise is that there is a stark need for the innovation of technology regarding the analysis procedures of an outsourcing project because the available resources of technology “are not able to handle the complexity of the analysis, especially in the area of assessing less tangible factors as political risk, loss of intellectual assets, loss of future talent, and loss of organizational performance” (Murray, M. J., & Crandall, R. E. p. 4, 2006).

Once the outsourcing project management integers efficiently technology to the assessment and analysis procedures, there is no doubt that offshore outsourcing will boom and which will eventually hold a good deal of greener pastures not only for the United States of America but also for Europe and other their world countries where outsourcing is likely to grow stronger.

Information Technology Consultant and Project Management

With the complex nature of business today, it is not surprising that managing a project can be a strenuous task even if the project manager is heavily experienced and skilled. This observation trips manifold when it comes to a project which employs technological services and products for its customers. There are several issues present in the implementation of information technology in business and the change and hindrances linked to this change. The author quotes Mike Herrin, director of finance business technology for the city of Seattle, Washington who remarkably points to the complex nature of information technology by saying that “A lot of IT projects don’t make it to the finish line on time and under budget. We can build bridges and buildings on time, but IT projects change the culture, the way people think” (Gold, B, p. 26, 2001).

According to Gold (2001) in such a situation where uncertainties prevail in the integration of technology, there is a prerequisite of a project manager because a project manager bears on their shoulders the responsibilities to identify and categorize costs, estimate costs, and manage expenses. He states that “An experienced consultant can help minimize problems because he or she knows the issues of software, hardware, and people–often referred to by PTI President Costis Toregas as “orgware”–involved in the implementation” (Gold, B, p. 26, 2001).

Therefore, this is another paradigm which, according to the personal viewpoint and understanding of the present writer, must be kept in mind when it comes to technology integration and project management.

Web-Enhanced Multimedia System for Project Management

A further empirical study investigates how a web-Enhanced Multimedia System for project management was developed and used and put to testing for the purposes it held for educational efficiency; “The design of this system was based on the premise that the use of educational multimedia should have a basis and a purpose” Nooriafshar, M., & Todhunter, B. (2004).

They explain that for this very educational system a project comprises a great many actions and activities which fabricate a result in joint action and where there are well-defined beginning and concluding points in the period. For example, “constructing a space station, building a bridge, arranging an overseas trip, writing a paper, or even making a cup of coffee may constitute a project” (Nooriafshar, M., & Todhunter, B. 2004).

The authors identify several benefits of such a technology-based approach to project management. They state that several studies suggest that such educational courses are the need of time. They inform us that a project like a web-enhanced multimedia system can have glowing attributes integrated with project management. They list the following features of integration of technology:

  • Studies show that it is a technology that improves effectiveness for instructional purposes;
  • It is less time-consuming to reach instructional objectives when the procedure is equipped with technology. (And the study showed that 30% time was reduced.)
  • “Technology appears to be equally effective for knowledge and performance outcomes (which is the case with project management, of which large parts are skills based e.g., work breakdown structures, network schedules)” (Nooriafshar, M., & Todhunter, B., p. 33, 2004).
  • Technology can also be made use of to impart what the authors call ‘soft skills which can be applied to several areas in commercial execution.

The project was carried out to examine and analyze the efficiency of associating web-enhanced multimedia educational materials for undergraduate subjects in a faculty for business studies. It was one remarkable feature of the study that multimedia materials that were provided to the students were in parallel to the already present paper-based materials which were used for one on one teaching purposes. The purpose was to make a direct comparison by the students themselves. They conclude:

“Analysis of the results indicated that students view all aspects of the multimedia system’s influence on their learning positively, and it is envisaged that the feedback and the experience gained from this project will be valuable in the establishment of guidelines for preparation of multimedia teaching materials for other areas of education within the Faculty of Business” (Nooriafshar, M., & Todhunter, B., p. 33, 2004).

A point to be noticed is that such a systematic approach in the innovation of technology into project management is not a static or same-it-is thing. The most important point is to keep monitoring the ongoing change scenario in the business world as well as in the other areas closely or remotely related to project management.

Conclusion

Integration of technology in project management, as the present paper has attempted to investigate, has been and is being practiced in a diverse range of areas from business to education, from management to offshore outsourcing. Several studies empirically make it known that the integration of technology has resulted in a stable journey toward future growth in the volume of the business world over.

However, the available literature also reveals the hindrances and shortcomings of project management and innovation of technology. The most talked of obstacles faced in the process of innovation of technology are complex work processes that the new technology (say, information technology) is bringing upon the business world and elsewhere. There is word of suspicion about such innovation at someplace where cost and complexity have dramatically altered the course of the business world.

Nonetheless, the expert opinion over the innovation of technology in project management is positive. They see the future of technology-based project management as more profitable and growth-some.

The critical areas for technology integration with project management have been identified to be the yet-blurred assessment and analysis procedures that need immediate attention for better results in the future. This area of technology integration has not been given as much technical thought and attention as it requires.

Overall, technology innovation is developing by the minute. This is to bring high scope for future markets not only in the United States of America and European states but also in the third world countries which are and will be the wide platform of commodity-based services offshore. Innovation of technology appears to bear high costs at the beginning of a project which needs to be addressed as well.

References

  1. Aust, R., Newberry, B., O’Brien., J., & Thomas, J. (2005). Learning generation: fostering innovation with tomorrow’s teachers and technology. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (13)2. pp. 167+. COPYRIGHT 2005 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE); COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group
  2. Gold, B. (2001). IT Project Management for the Non-IT Executive. Magazine Title: Public Management. Volume: 83. Issue: 11. Publication Date: 2001. Page Number: 26+. COPYRIGHT 2001 International City-County Management Association; COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group
  3. Larson, E. W., Gobeli, D. H., & Gray, C. F. (1991). Application of project management by small businesses to develop new products and services. Journal of Small Business Management (29)2. pp. 30+. COPYRIGHT 1991 International Council of Small Business; COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
  4. Murray, M. J., & Crandall, R. E. (2006). IT offshore outsourcing requires a project management approach. SAM Advanced Management Journal. Volume: 71. Issue: 1. Publication Year: 2006. Page Number: 4+. COPYRIGHT 2006 Society for the Advancement of Management; COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group
  5. Nooriafshar, M., & Todhunter, B. (2004). Designing a Web Enhanced Multimedia Learning Environment (WEMLE) for Project Management. Journal of Interactive Learning Research (15)1. Publication Year: 2004. Page Number: 33+. COPYRIGHT 2004 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE); COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
  6. Stuckenbruck, Linn C., ed. (1982). The implementation of project management: the professional’s handbook. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1