When did a Plan stop being a Plan? Not Sure? Blame the iPhone!

I remember a simpler time when someone asked to use the telephone you knew it was to actually make a phone call.  Today, when you see kids begging their parents to use their “Phone” 99% of the time it’s to play video games. In the last 7 years, the “Phone” has been redefined as an all-purpose device ranging from communication via voice, text, SMS and email to browsing the web, taking photos/videos, listening to music and watching YouTube. Today’s phone’s are mobile computers keeping you connected and entertained on the go. Although smart phone technology has been available since the 1990s, it wasn’t until the affordable access to broadband and the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 that people’s expectation around connectivity had changed.

With this change came a mind shift in the expected capabilities of both personal and business applications. A ripple effect has taken place in which cloud computing has made major inroads in the enterprise software marketplace by providing more relevant solutions to the evolving ubiquitous nature and platform independent reality of today’s modern business environment.

Similarly, when today’s project managers build plans, much like the iPhone, they expect more from the plan then just providing time lines and task updates. The plan has now become the hub of an intricate network of interconnected conversations, reports, documents and notifications that are shared across teams and stakeholders. Planning tools have move beyond the traditional Gantt Chart sitting on your desktop. Collaboration, sharing and instant access to these details have become a given.  That being said, the expectations of today’s plans need to be way more dynamic than ever and deliver the level of information project stakeholders are used to accessing in the lives and work outside of the project world.

Instant collaboration and sharing is no longer a luxury. In fact, it’s an integral part of the information worker’s work day which in turn has impacted the way plans are conceived and delivered to this evolving workforce responsible for delivering the intended results.

As a project manager today has this shift in available technology changed the way you plan a project?


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  1. I don’t think it has changed the way Project Managers plan. I’ve never met anyone yet who can plan straight into software (after seeing 100’s of PM’s in action).

    Good / Great PM’s plan on paper with their project teams around them, then take the information to be placed into the software and tracked.

    The most effective planning technology ever invented…. Brown Paper and Post It’s 😉

  2. JFK famously communicated a plan in 1964, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. That simple statement – and the realisation of that plan was the result of some serious planning and kick-ass delivery.
    Even in that pre-iPhone era, planners understood the importance of ‘interconnected conversations’, collaboration and effective communication. Tooling is catching up – not changing the game.

  3. Agreed – I always see the JFK quote as a vision statement, and the plan is how, who and when….
    Tools have their place (after being around for over 15 years, they are not going away), but they have constraints, and from experience the most effective one which I’ve ever seen in action is the plan on a wall…. a 12 ft by 8 ft plan always beats a 27 inch screen.

    Its for this reason that large touch screens have not caught on compared to tablets – there are physical human and technological constraints.

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