Information Technology Project Management Communication Changes Over Time

Information technology project management, like the economy drastically has changed over the past 20 years. In project management classes, time is spent reviewing the job creation that has taken place in past decades and how that has shaped the role of the project manager position today. Communication is emphasized as the largest part of the job, but with IT today, a stronger point needs to be made as to how to do this communication in a global setting.

In prior years, a link existed between value creation and job creation. When business prospered, employment expanded, processes became automated, and jobs in technology thrived. The cycle was good for business and equally good for IT. In the past, businesses were more industrial and more local than today. When there was an increase in demand for products it eventually created additional jobs in the local companies and eventually filtered to technology to automate these processes. IT project managers dealt with user groups and in-house programmers and analysts who assembled programs to automate many of the tasks that the business viewed as being critical to keep giving them a competitive advantage. The project manager was the person who was the everyday contact for the clients as well as with the technical staff. The PM depended on conference room sessions where all attendees covered their status verbally with all eyes on them. The project manager was also involved with training the groups who would be using the applications doing data entry to create the information within the system. This type of face to face communication at all levels was the foundation for getting things done right.
In today’s business the relationship between value creation, job creation and IT is more complicated. Two factors seem to have changed. First, the largest growing companies are internet based and when these organizations grow, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a growth in local jobs. Second, technical jobs are being transferred to anywhere in the world in the quest to find the lowest cost regions to get the job done. Project management has shifted from knowing the user groups and programming team on an intimate face-to-face level, to that of dealing with people who will never be seen anywhere but on a web screen. The project manager must still communicate with many levels, but the close interaction is now gone. Communication may still be done in a conference room setting, but people are on phone lines from around the world describing their progress to a crowd that only knows their name. The position must learn much more innovated ways to get to know the personal on the project team, and still be the connection to the business and the true key to success to getting projects done on time and within budget. This isn’t always easy, with language and geographic issues, but through constant communication using web meetings, email, and instant messaging the job can be done.
In the world today, the project manager’s role is constantly evolving. Communication will always be the heart and soul of the position, but gone are the days of really knowing all the team members and feeling a personal bond with the group. Now the job is one of still delivering projects, but the methods of doing this are far different than years ago.


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