The way projects are conducted have changed over the years. Whether it is in the IT industry or in the labour-intensive construction industry, project management has patterns which have been challenged from time to time.
In the traditional sense, carrying out a project has had clear functions which lasted throughout its whole duration. This includes define, design, develop, test, and eventually, deploy. Then came the agile methodology of project management, which has made a much more significant change by encouraging collaboration and regular review periods. The introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) will also change the way projects are carried out. So,
What exactly is IoT and why do projects need it today?
The IoT industry is a fairly new inclusion in the technology space which has tremendous scope in the future. From improving our lives to the way we get work done, IoT is expected to have an impact on everything.
The introduction of IoT will also make devices more connected in the long run. The smart devices of today, and also the ones in the future would all be connected as a part of the IoT initiative. With the explosion of the internet applications connected business and consumers, its impact is only expected to expand in the future.
The generation and exchange of data and information have already offered great scope for data analytics and Big Data. With the appropriate infrastructure, the same devices can be connected with each other and exchange and collate information at any point of the day.
Efficiency and better understanding are the major benefits of using IoT in project management. For example, a resource management tool with the help of IoT helps get insights on how the talent pool is being utilised in real time. Implementation of IoT in the projects of the future is inevitable. However, it is expected that it will also impact the way we work. With improved collaboration and better team efficiency, it would also change the way data is collected and projects are completed.
Let’s take a look at the different ways in which IoT will impact projects in the future.
Ways in which IoT will impact projects
1. Better reporting in reduced time
IoT is a technology which is completely dependent on the internet. This makes it extremely cheap for the exchange of information and data. The constant flow of data would also help speed up the way we work.
There is no lag between the time the activity is completed, and the point when it is updated on records. Any information is readily available at any point and is accessible from any location.
Needless to say, the introduction of IoT would also improve team collaboration among employees and team members. Different teams would stop working in silos, with a dependency on systems, storage, database and other IT requirements.
This would also mean that nothing is hidden from the end consumers. Changes and developments in applications would be updated in real-time. Resolution of issues would also become faster, with the addition of inputs as and when required from stakeholders.
2. Improved data collection and analysis
The generation of a vast range of data points would improve the scope for insights and deep analytics. A large number of connected devices and the datasets thus generated, would increase both qualitative and quantitative information that needs to be analysed.
The data generated will help companies take better decisions in the long run. This will help them track the current quality and performance measures, and take adequate steps wherever required.
Data mining and deep analytics for companies become increasingly simple to handle with the help of IoT. It helps record and analyse old project information in the company. In case of a bottleneck or emergency in the ongoing projects, an analysis of the older projects might give a potential solution.
3. Need for improved security protocols
Remember the Y2K bug scare? Imagine a security threat which is a thousand times more. As systems, devices, applications and other internet-based tools become more complex, hackers will get more creative in breaching security controls if proper precautions are not taken.
Project managers in IoT-specialised projects would not only have to become an expert in the technology but need to think about the way data can be kept safe. With increased access to company information, it is important to keep the data safe and secure from security breaches.
Policies on maintaining information security and compliance requirements need to be carefully developed in IoT projects. Since the subject is new, there is very little information on the impact of a security breach in IoT devices.
Some of these applications and tools could also be mass-produced, and will not have the required security controls. This means that there is a need for detailed technical training sessions for these tools. Project managers need to guide their staff on how IoT can gainfully be employed in projects.
4. Role changes in project managers and stakeholder
Long gone are the days when MS Project was the only software that project managers needed to use to keep track of their projects. With real-time data being made available by IoT, the expertise of the project manager also needs to expand over time.
Project managers should not only advocate using IoT in projects, but should be able to transform themselves into IoT specialists. With the project manager knowing the ins and outs of IoT, they will be able to guide their staff on the ideal IoT tools and applications to use in the project.
With the availability of many platforms, competition among companies for project delivery will become more intense. Stakeholders in projects would have to know which tools to use to make their projects a success in the long run. This would also help in providing answers to all analytical questions posed by clients.
5. Extension of project timelines
Faster communication should ideally lead to shortening of the project timeline. And it does! With the implementation of IoT devices in projects, clients and stakeholders alike are constantly updated on the project status.
Having said, business intelligence reports involving deep analytics and Big Data cannot be accumulated during the project cycle. Assessment of the required datasets can be completed only once the project gets over.
This may lead to extending the project timeline, but with the benefit of getting analytical reports from the process. The process may also help your team to learn better and prepare for the next project. It is an important process which would enable offer extremely accurate predictions, which can be used for future projects.
The impact of IoT in future business is unknown but inevitable. With everything being enabled by the internet, there is no doubt that there would be a huge change in the way projects are handled. It also needs research and development on behalf of the company, along with intensive training and capacity building sessions for staff members.
How is your company planning to shift to IoT? Let us know in the comments below!
Mahendra Gupta is a PMP certified subject matter expert in the smart workforce planning and resource management domain. He is the subject matter expert in resource management and workforce planning at Saviom Software. His experience has enabled multinational businesses around the globe to diversify their project portfolio. Follow his work here.