Thrive in the new Project Economy with the best technology
Published October 28th, 2022
There's an unstoppable shift happening: the move from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation that’s centered around combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution). And, it’s forced a re-examination of ways to do business. Projectification – using cross-company, cross-skill, cross-age teams that work together on short ‘terms of duty’ – is the new way of delivering value. The movement harnesses the power of project management, and is dubbed the Project Economy.
Marketing Communications Manager at Tiny
Work has changed. So too have projects. While the last century was dominated by the optimization of efficiency through workflows, the speed of change this century has transformed everyone’s work into a continual cycle of short- to mid-term projects. What was once tactical, has become strategic.
Now, all work is a project.
As digitization has spread, a movement towards ‘projectification’ of work has simultaneously occurred. Future-ready leaders are increasingly leaning on project management professionals to drive their innovation campaigns, results programs and change initiatives.
Those organizations are exploring and combining different Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to help their project managers, knowledge workers and manufacturing facilities optimize the way they work, the value they deliver and ultimately create exponential growth.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the convergence of several technology megatrends – connectivity, intelligence, and flexible automation – that have upended traditional work, especially in the manufacturing field. The 4IR term was coined in 2016 by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), in a book of the same name.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Fourth Industrial Revolution creates a world in which virtual and physical systems of manufacturing cooperate with each other in a flexible way at the global level.
Engineer and founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF)
Importantly though, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is more than just a technological leap forward.
Organizations who employ 4IR technologies are using digital and analytics tools throughout the value chain to drive growth and productivity, improve resilience, and deliver environmental sustainability. They’re also reshaping work. By empowering their workers with digital technologies, and giving them the skills to use them, these 4IR organizations are encouraging their project teams to push for new ways of working.
Big data and 4IR technologies have unleashed The Project Economy.
What technology is used in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
According to Wikipedia, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0, conceptualizes rapid change to technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes in the 21st century [...] A part of this phase of industrial change is the joining of technologies like artificial intelligence, gene editing, to advanced robotics that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds.”
What is the Project Economy?
The Project Economy is where organizations intentionally restructure their entire business around a project-based operations model. Every large- and small-scale initiative, becomes a project within a portfolio of company-wide projects that are designed to deliver the most value to their stakeholders.
Companies who champion the Project Economy concept, have reinvented the way they problem-solve and accomplish work – they’ve discovered that project teams are best equipped to handle rapid technology and consumer demand changes. It’s also a central idea in the Pulse of the Profession 2020 report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), that foretells how the widespread projectification of work is leading to multidisciplinary, cross-organizational teams.
When did the Project Economy emerge?
Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez coined the term ‘Project Economy’ in 2017, when he recognised that the future of all work would be project-based. Driven by the convergence of three macroeconomic trends – technology (4IR), population growth and alternative energy (sustainability) – the concept has since become a powerfully disruptive force.
Since 2019, the concept has been championed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the term is now widely used to describe the increased cross-industry usage of project management principles and practices to complete initiatives.
At the 2019 PMI Global Conference, Bob Safan, former editor of Fast Company said, “Projectization is moving through the economy. [..] The future of work will be defined by tasks, not titles. Technology is making existing structures within organizations feel archaic. And younger workers are looking at their careers as a sequence of tasks – a.k.a., projects – too.”
Now, people work on a project, deliver value and then move on.
What is project management?
At its core, project management is the creation of an environment where people can work together to achieve mutual objectives, in order to deliver successful projects on time and on budget.
Who is Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez?
Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is the creator of concepts such as the Project Economy and the Project Manifesto. He’s considered a thought leader, practitioner, and professor in project management.
He’s author of the 2021 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article The Project Economy Has Arrived, the HBR “Project Management Handbook” and four other books.
He is also a former Chairman of the Project Management Institute and his research and global impact in modern management has been recognized by Thinkers50.
However, with the business world becoming projectified, project teams now move between functional areas – across the boundaries of finance, HR, legal etc. That's forcing organizations to rethink the way work is done in their businesses, and technology is aiding that change.
Project management software is especially helpful to remote and hybrid workforce teams to manage projects, by providing:
- A central location for all related documents
- Facilitating collaboration among team members
- Tracking the progress of each project.
Unsurprisingly then, the project management software market revenue is experiencing rapid growth. In 2021 the market totaled US$ 5,359.6 M and it’s projected to reach US$ 20,420.6 M by 2032, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.1%.
Future Market Insights estimates that the “Project management software market currently represents nearly 35% of sales in the overall business process management market. [...] The market is expected to gain considerable traction in the coming years as organizations are incorporating automated project management software to complete basic project management tasks and functions without any intervention.”
How technology influences the Project Economy
Technology optimizes the way project managers and other professionals do their work.
Project management labor force growth
According to the Project Management Institute and Harvard Business Review, by 2027, the project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33 percent, to nearly 22 million new jobs. By 2027, nearly 88 million individuals will be required in project management-oriented roles, while the value of project-oriented economic activity will have reached $20 trillion.
The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027 report warns that shortages in project management talent and skills could cost employers $208 billion over the decade to 2027.
As a result, a broad cross-section of non-project management focused professionals – knowledge workers, small businesses and entrepreneurs – are leveraging the same technology that project managers use, to gain deeper insights, make better decisions and manage workflows more efficiently.
According to Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, there are many reasons businesses are finding themselves in a Project Economy instead of a more traditional operations-focused economy. “For example, speed. A product’s life cycle might now only be six months when it used to be six years. That need for constant innovation and change has lent itself to a project management model for many companies.”
The Project Management Institute's Pulse of the Profession 2020 survey and report, identified three factors as the most important keys to business success:
- Organizational agility (35%)
- Choosing the right technologies to invest in (32%)
- Securing relevant skills (31%)
Combining all three, is crucial for success in the new Project Economy.
Leading organizations have already converted to a project-based model, are transforming the way their people work, and are managing and optimizing their processes with smart technology.
Ways to make your project management more effective
Cindy Anderson, VP of brand management at the PMI, explains in an article ‘Welcome to the Project Economy,’ that project management is becoming more about defining work around what actually needs to get done and determining the best way and people to get there.
We’re coming to realize that the disruptive impact of new technologies has rendered formerly best-in-class practices too slow and static; that the downside of traditional hierarchies, once tolerable, can now be fatal to an operation; that next-generation knowledge workers, increasingly, are less interested in lifetime employment than in fulfilling, engaging assignments that allow them to build skills and experiences they can take anywhere.
VP of Brand Management, PMI
But while the future may hold big opportunities for greater flexibility in hiring, training and engaging your workforce, you need to provide the right tools to help people succeed.
Project management always includes scheduling, planning, budgeting and various iterative processes for development and management. They’re foundational. Picking the right methodology to help execute it, is just as crucial, and plays a key role in the tool you select.
Project management tools
Project management software assists project management practitioners by automating many of the functions like planning, collaborating, monitoring, and delivering a project.
Generally, the software includes a set of integrated tools such as task management, budget management, collaboration tools, and document management that are entirely customizable based on the enterprise’s business needs. However, many of the most popular tools offer a multi-methodology format, so the users can choose and use the methodology they prefer, within the same tool.
This makes the software more flexible – so it can be used across different projects – and allows users to utilize the correct methodology for the project needs.
|Project Management Software/Tool
Investing in project management tools, skills and personnel, enables teams and managers to collaborate effectively and perform on key deliverables. However, there’s no magic formula for successful project management.
The true skill is in knowing how to manage a project and proactively anticipating potential roadblocks.
3 essentials your project management tool needs for the Project Economy
The Project Economy relies on cross-functional teams for its success.
Therefore, the project management tool you select should cater to the skill levels of both technical and non-technical users – otherwise its ability to report, manage and optimize is lowered. For example, if software is poorly selected for its user-base (say, choosing Jira for the marketing team), the usage of the tool can be negatively affected, because it’s too complex or not fit for purpose.
Another project roadblock that's often hard to anticipate, is the performance of the rich text editor component embedded in your project management software.
It’s an area that’s likely considered “you don’t know to ask about it, because you don’t know you need to”. But by integrating the best Workflow editor components in your tech stack, it can help to overcome any potential issues with the app’s standard editor, as well as achieve your efficiency, productivity and output goals.
1. Improve productivity
A WYSIWYG editor experience reduces content creation time by 90%. Over a year, your users could save thousands of hours in their workflow.
2. Maximize developer output
Comprehensive documentation and customizability allows your developers to mold rich text editor components into a workflow solution that perfectly fits their needs – saving up to six months' of developer time for each new feature.
3. Increase engagement
A WYSIWYG editor creates an experience that’s loved by users – with many reporting 85% increases in engagement and readability.
The accelerated rate of change in technology brings extra challenges. Along with rapid change, comes rapid obsolescence, so it’s also important to select and use tools that play well with other tech stack components.
9 ways to improve project tool performance
Nine areas that are often overlooked in project management tools, lie within the editor interface.
Collectively, they impact your team’s ability to collaborate, be interactive and increase productivity. If the rich text editor (RTE) within your project tool doesn’t include these five essentials, then perhaps investigate the integration of an advanced RTE that offers premium features to answer these needs.
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These features encourage collaboration directly in the tool, streaming communications
These features create more contextual, interactive zones for users
- Enhanced Media Embed
- Enhanced Image Editing
- Code Sample
These features enhance your users productivity
- Merge Tags
- Spell Checker Pro
- Spelling Autocorrect
All work is now a project
There’s a new paradigm in many organizations. Projects are now being led by people with a variety of titles, solving a variety of problems in a variety of industries both big and small, and across all regions around the globe.
In the new ‘business as usual’, project leaders no longer do work that’s adjacent to business operations.
Instead, projects are everyone’s work. And that’s created a Project Economy.
Marketing Communications Manager
Messaging strategist and copywriter whose passion lies in working with brands like Tiny, that have deep-seated values and embrace the power of their story. She gets a kick out of solving problems, loves learning new things and making stuff, every day. When she’s not thinking through clever copy lines or clarifying value propositions, she’s knitting amazing socks for everyone she knows.