Back to the future project management


Brad Egeland

October 22, 2015

Ok, this may be a bit cheesy to take on now given the 30th anniversary of the Back to the Future original movie and the Cubs current baseball success (though that looks like it’s over with), but the concepts I’m going to present here should have already been in place to make our jobs easier by now.

I can look back to 1985 (ok, for me it’s more like 1990) and say…here’s what I would have expected by now in 2015 to make our jobs as project managers easier. In fact, the entire business world could benefit from these.

We can at the very least have fun with these, hope that they do appear in the next 10 years and also think about adding to this discussion by sharing your own feasible – or not so feasible – wish list of improvements and inventions that would make any project manager or business leader’s life easier. Please consider the following innovations and how they might help project management and business strategy.

Holographic meetings. Several years ago I envisioned man caves with the ability to show sporting events on a table top (imagine my Iowa Hawkeyes with 60,000+ in attendance playing in miniature – and in complete 3D – on the coffee table in my family room or the quarterback right in front of me in life size throwing a touchdown pass. It should be a capability right now – for a price – making us actually part of the action at home. NFL fans would pay a lot of money for something like this.

And if that can happen, so can every business meeting we ever have going forward. All every participate will need is a chair and a room to have a meeting in – it can even be in your home (we could all be telecommuting by now, too) – and every participant will have every other participant sitting with them in the room via holographic images. Imagine the cost savings as there would be no need to travel for business any more, but the face-to-face interaction would still be happening. The only thing missing would be dinner and drinks with the client – which in Las Vegas may be a good thing considering the amount of trouble a client can (and does, from time to time) get into while they are here and under the influence.

Chief Project Officers. Every organization of any decent size with a project office or at least on-going significant projects that corporate depends on, should have C-level representation for the project management infrastructure. Lack of corporate sponsorship or buy-in has been a problem with most of the project management office’s (PMO) that I’ve had the pleasure and frustration of being a part of, helping build or been in charge of. Why not have someone on the C-level of the organization championing the project management infrastructure? Need help with this concept in your organization? Give me a call…I’ll help you get it done right. I feel strongly about this one.

An automated project portfolio dashboard. Think incoming and outgoing flights at the airport. We should have the ability in 2015 to automate a big dashboard display of all key project status performance indicators for everyone to see – especially the execs in the company. Lots of green-yellow-red indicators, a quick glance budget health view, a quick glance resource allocation issue view and a few high-level needs or wins on the project – something the execs can use quickly to talk to any client (current or future) about how we are performing on the projects that drive and make money for the organization. I realize that some project tools give that now, but more of our internal project management, accounting, HR, and vendor management systems should be automated and tied together to make something like this happening in real-time.

Summary / call for input

These are just three major concepts. I will come up with more. But please share your thoughts on these and offer your own from your personal wish list of what project managers should have access to by now or what our organizations should be capable of in order to save costs and make everyone and everything more productive while leaving a little less to chance and luck.

This article was written by Brad Egeland from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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