|By Andrew Filev||
|December 9, 2008 02:15 AM EST||
Andrew Filev's Product Management 2.0 Blog
Nowadays we can observe changes going on in management and especially project management in organizations. More and more, organizations are abandoning top-down management style. Among them are the New York Times, Tribune Co., Ernst & Young and many others. Even the world's biggest corporations, such as Toyota and IBM, are trying to implement bottom-up management style elements in some of their departments.
The bottom-up approach to management is becoming more and more popular. However, the discussions about the two major approaches are still hot. What is the reason for the ongoing changes in management processes? The answer to this question will be obvious when we compare the two management styles.
The Top-down Approach to Project Management
Today, many projects are still managed according to the top-down approach. The essence of this approach is that all the directions come from the top. The top management establishes project objectives and provides guidelines, information, plans and fund processes. The manager clearly communicates his expectations to each person who has a role to play in the project. According to advocates of this approach, the managers should be as specific as possible when communicating expectations, since ambiguity opens the door for potential failure. This approach strictly follows a formal process.
The top-down approach is applied in many organizations. Let’s have a look at the New York Times, a leader in the newspaper industry. According to ajr.com (American Journalism Review) several years ago, The Times’ executive management felt that they were doing the opposite of what was needed to create a vibrant workplace and a successful enterprise. They centralized power and implemented overall control among masthead editors. The latter introduced the same management pattern in the projects they were responsible for. Project decisions were influenced by the emotions and opinions of only one person – the project manager. What was the result? People felt that they weren't listened to, that their voices didn't count. There was no effective collaboration between the journalists. They were not morally motivated to do their jobs. The managing executives then realized that the management style should be changed by giving more freedom to the teams. It took a lot of time to introduce a bottom-up approach to management. However, it was worth the time and effort, as the collaboration is now enhanced and teams work more productively.
The problems caused by a top-down approach can be observed in many organizations with a traditional management style. Experience shows that this approach can reduce productivity and cause bottlenecks or so-called lockdowns. “Lockdown” gives a project manager as much control as possible over his team. This inflexibility can cause unnecessary pain and slow down the project completion.
The Bottom-up Approach to Project Management
All the above mentioned factors can lead projects to failure, and that is why many organizations have turned to a bottom-up management style or at least some of its elements. The New York Times is a good example. Bottom-up management proactively seeks the input of the team in the project executing process. Employees are invited to participate in every step of the process, and the team as a whole agrees on a course of action. This approach allows managers to communicate goals and value, e.g. through milestone planning. Then team members have to develop personal to-do lists with the steps necessary to reach the milestones on their own. It is up to them to choose the methods and ways to perform their tasks.
The advantage of this approach is that it empowers team members to think more creatively. They feel involved into the project development and know that their initiatives are appreciated. The team members’ motivation to work and make the project a success is increased. Individual members of the team can provide project solutions that are driven more by practical requirements than abstract notions. The planning process flows significantly faster, as it is facilitated by a number of people. The to-do lists of all the team members are collected into the detailed general project plan. Schedules, budgets and results are transparent. Issues are made clear by the project manager to avoid as many surprises as possible. Bottom-up project management is also a way of coping with the increasing gap between the information necessary to manage knowledge workers and the ability of managers to acquire and apply this information.
However, despite all of the advantages, the bottom-up approach is not the perfect solution, as sometimes it lacks clarity and control. Many experts agree that a bottom-up style alone will not make your projects flourish. A wise project manager will take the best practices from the two approaches and try to create a hybrid method.
Taking the Best from the Two Approaches
Would it be possible to effectively introduce the best bottom-up practices to an organization by utilizing traditional tools? Traditional project management software was mostly designed with the top-down approach in mind and are not meant for the bottom-up management. This software is complex and hard to master. This software is focused on the project manager and place him or her in the center or the project. Team members very often do not have access to the project plan and cannot make contributions. The employees send their updates to the project manager in disconnected files via e-mail. The project manager then collects all the data and puts the information manually into the project plan. Then he or she communicates the changes to the upper management. The misalignment between the bottom-up best principles and the old tools causes a situation where the project manager's talents often are buried by the routine work. The amount of mechanical control/synchronization work sometimes does not leave time for leadership.
The old methods of how people share and receive information have been radically transformed in the recent times. Now there are more means for the successful implementation of the bottom-up management best practices. These means are Enterprise 2.0 technologies – wikis, blogs, and collaboration tools. They come into organizations and change the original way of executing projects. They turn traditional project management into Project Management 2.0 and bring new patterns of collaboration, which are based on collective intelligence. Collective intelligence is a collection of valuable knowledge from different fields that each project team member is an expert in. This knowledge is now successfully collected and shared in a flexible, collaborative environment brought by second-generation project management software. The project manager is the one to conduct the work and choose the right direction for the project development, based on the information received from the individual employees.
Thus, the part the project manager plays in the project changes. Project Management 2.0 software helps him or her create complete delegation. It means that people become less dependent on the manager as a to-do generator. Rather than a taskmaster, he or she turns into a project leader who facilitates the team communications, provides a creative working environment and guides the team. He or she becomes a visionary who can leverage the team strengths and weaknesses and adjust project development to the external changes. Individual team members still have the freedom and responsibility to find their way to the next milestone.
The second-generation tools allow you to merge the advantages of the two initial management approaches. These tools let project managers combine control and collaboration, clarity of project goals and visibility of internal organizational processes.
Thousands of companies now confirm that bottom-up project management, implemented with the help of Enterprise 2.0 tools, improved their business performance. Among them are Bell Canada, Sun and Yahoo. They created corporate blogs to streamline project communications. Even giants, such as IBM, realize the benefits of allowing contributors to have a more active hand in how collaborative work is organized.
My conclusion will be that democratizing project management is never an end in itself. The primary goal is always to find ways to make project management and project collaboration more efficient. New technologies applied to projects offer us the ability to make projects more successful and teams more productive. The projects are delivered much more rapidly, and this is to everyone’s benefit.
[This article appeared orignally here and is reproduced in full here by kind permission of the author.]
|Anonymoussd 12/05/08 03:00:51 AM EST|
|Anonymoussd 12/05/08 03:00:40 AM EST|
|PM Hut 07/09/08 06:26:39 AM EDT|
Here's a complementary article on [http://www.pmhut.com/the-mini-project-manager-concept The benefits of the bottom-up approach in Project Management].
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,371
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 22, 2014 10:00 PM EST Reads: 1,170
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,399
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,341
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,173
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 21, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,289
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,359
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,307
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,232
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,329
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 20, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,515
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Nov. 20, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,282
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 20, 2014 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,063
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,523
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Nov. 20, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,759
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Nov. 18, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,994
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Nov. 18, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,571
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Nov. 18, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,520
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Nov. 18, 2014 01:30 PM EST Reads: 1,989
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world. The next @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California. Since its launch in 2008, Cloud Expo TV commercials have been aired and CNBC, Fox News Network, and Bloomberg TV. Please enjoy our 2014 commercial.
Nov. 13, 2014 05:00 AM EST Reads: 3,532