Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A different view on project management


I am really interested about the current solutions around cloud computing. That is the idea that you build an application and put it in a cloud. The application can then easily handle a surge in user demand as easily as one that trails off. So you don't have to worry about adding more servers and databaes and the whole malarky. You just deliver your app and care about your customers. Fantastic idea and I think it's bound to become a pretty common solution soon enough. 

What if you were trying to get something done, in business say and it was possible to do the same with the people you work with. What if you had a solution that could handle lots of people working on a project at all sorts of different times and tasks which could help you easily track and manage all the tasks and make it easy for everyone to get involved and take breaks as and when they desired. 

Something that could also scale up quickly and scale down just as quickly when desired. I don't know if anything remotely like this exists but I think it's possible and would help inexorably. You could focus more time on figuring out what you actually want and less managing the mundane tasks of getting it done. 

As a solutions developer I've been thinking about how to make it happen.

First you'd need to  break down the work into small little chunks and then get people to pick them or a manager allocate them out. The reason for breaking down the tasks as small as you can is that they're easier to manage in the long run. I'd expect an id to be automatically added to them which can be tagged to anything related to it. I expect it to be easy to link all relevant resources to each task. The use of an id makes it easy to track tasks and everything relevant to them. This means much better coordination of tasks and processes. 

Why bother? you ask. 

Better for both the organiser and those doing the work. The organiser can see exactly what's happening at all times. She knowa what's finished what's not etc. If some one is sick all their work can be taken by others but in appropriate chunks. All associated work, notes ideas etc is available to who takes on the work. Thus simple quick handovers, people get up to speed asap, work gets done well and quickly, so, good for theorganiser. 

Good for the guy doing the work because he can suddenly take the day off even on important work. He knows everything will be picked up. If he's a manager himself he can watch this happen or even encourage it. When he comes back to work he can pick things back up. 

Point being. Whilst there's lots more detail I could add, I know that it could be built and the basics of how to build it. I also know that running a business and getting things done and thus making a decent profit would become exponentially easier with a tool like this. It's about delivering the ability to expand and contract your worker pool very quickly yet having full control, reporting etc. It wouldn't work for all markets but for many it would be a break through. 

Some one will build it sooner or later. There are probably systems that already do a lot of it. But it's what I've been developing in my head for years because it means getting things done in a group becomes so much easier. People can come and go but the project carries on as normal. So humans can get on with their inherently variable lives and projects can carry on regardless. 


It means you could consider allowing works much more flexible hours and work in apparently un connected locations while carrying out your esential task with the ability to see the whole project as required. 
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