The beginning of a new project is always a delicate moment. When looking for the solution to a problem, more questions arise than certainties. How many are human and economic resources needed, which technologies should be used, which KPIs should be monitored? When we find ourselves in a business context, each ongoing project should have a design that unites the many variables involved. If you’re interested in discovering how IoT can improve the Project Management Process, read on, and you’ll find some practical suggestions to act correctly.
Project management: what it is and what are the stages of implementation
When they want to take a new path, all companies need to define a map to follow. The project is nothing more than a series of phases with objectives that allow achieving the initial macro goal. A project can improve the efficiency of a production chain or create an app, or even make a process sustainable.
In fact, when we talk about project management, we will see that, in principle, the steps to be followed are more or less the same. Instead, the duration, resources, activities to be performed, and budget change considerably depending on the application context.
Who is in charge of project management in the company? The project manager (PM), whose activities cover two areas: one operational, project management with the use of technologies and application models that refer to the methods of project management; the other relational, in which they interface with the technicians involved in the projects and with the managers who outline the strategy. A PM follows all the phases of a project: from planning through execution and control and ending with the closure of the project.
Today, the figure of the PM is much more evolved than in the past. The merit is, in part, also due to technological innovations, such as those of the Internet of Things. In fact, before the PM had to collect data useful for the project through an on-site analysis, they could now receive it thanks to the connection of machinery or devices to the network. This is just one example of how IoT can provide essential support to the PM. The analysis of the various phases of Project Management will show us how the IoT comes into action and how it can speed up processes.
Phase 1: Starting the project
Starting off on the right foot is essential not only to get a project off to a good start but also to assess whether and how much it is worth investing.
In the start-up phase, you proceed, therefore, with:
- feasibility study;
- definition of the operational context;
- choice of the PM who will manage the project and the stakeholders;
- available budget and timing.
These are all steps that are part of the initial strategy. The IoT during the scenario analysis plays a marginal role as it is not the phase in which it is activated. However, in the feasibility study, knowing that the companies involved in the project are equipped with IoT technologies is essential to calculate the timing correctly. Obviously, when business assets are connected, it speeds up all operations.
IoT technologies in project management improve the collection and organization of data, optimizing the work of the PM. Click To Tweet
Phase 2: Planning activities
Once the feasibility of the project has been established, we move on to planning, i.e., creating a sort of map showing the steps that will be useful in achieving the objective. The PM defines the micro-objectives, establishes the resources involved and the timeframe for each activity. At this stage, you need to have an overall idea of the project to be executed and possibly also evaluate future maintenance activities.
And what does the IoT optimize at this stage? In planning, the IoT is a variable to be considered among the resources needed to carry out the project. Obviously, the context in which a project will be developed is essential to assess whether or not to use sensors. In general, being able to receive information from the field and in real-time is always an advantage. In fact, knowing how many users connect to our site and from which devices are relevant data if the project we are analyzing concerns the creation of a corporate blog.
Phase 3: Project execution, monitoring, and control
Execution, monitoring, and control would be significantly easier if we planned and achieved the layout of connected sensors in the previous phases on the project’s devices, machinery, and infrastructure.
An example? Let’s imagine that the new project involves the construction field. If we own IoT machinery or install sensors and cameras on machinery and in the perimeter area of a construction site, we will get a constant flow of data. This information will be used to speed up the creation of reports and assess the project’s progress. Any delays will thus be highlighted in time, and future activities can be rescheduled.
In fact, the use of connected sensors not only offers support to the PM but also becomes an essential competitive advantage for companies even after a project is completed. Through IoT, one can do predictive maintenance and gain numerous benefits.
Phase 4: Project closure
The creation of reports is an activity that cuts across all of these phases. Indeed, during the closing of a project, presenting the results in graphs, data, and tables is essential to make the client understand the entire path and possible future developments. In most cases, projects include a continuation, and the final evaluation helps to understand in which direction to go.
The IoT, in this case, provides the data that allows you to create summary dashboards that contain the results of the various departments involved.
In conclusion, the main benefits of associating IoT technologies with project management software include: reducing the workload related to data collection and organization; and having an all-encompassing, real-time view of project progress and resources deployed.