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The Mobile Project Manager

I recently had a company come to my home to quote for installing new windows. The estimator came, measured up and as he was leaving told me to expect the quote within 5 to 7 days, depending on the vagarities of New Zealand Post.

This got me thinking; surely there is a better way to do this? If the estimator had a wireless enabled tablet he could have logged into his estimating tool remotely, worked it out on site and emailed it to me directly. I could have then looked at the email and asked any questions there and then. Not only would this have sped up the estimating process it could have a positive impact on the sales pipeline as customer decisions are sped up.

Being a mobile project manager presents similar challenges to that highlighted in the above example; how do you manage your project when you’re always out and about and don’t have access to your project artefacts? Do you take time out to go back to your office on a regular basis, try to manage it without systems or invest in mobile technology?

I decided to do an experiment and run one of my projects using Psoda via a tablet. I experimented with both an iPad2 and the CL900 Windows tablet from Motion Computing. (Thank you Dale from Simms International for the loan of the CL900.)

Both tablets worked equally well with Psoda and performed exactly as they were supposed to. The iPad was lighter than the CL900, making it easier on the arms while standing. The iPad’s touch sensitivity was also better. Motion Computing CL900The CL900 however was a more robust tablet with dust and water protection making it more appropriate for use outside at a dusty site. The CL900 also comes with a stylus for writing and precision control.

I was out of the office one day and a supplier phoned to let me know that a crucial piece of equipment was going to be delayed and needed to know my drop-dead date for delivery. As I had my tablet with me I was able to log into Psoda, view my schedule and make an informed decision there and then about when I needed the equipment by. I was then able to amend the schedule and bill of materials and Psoda sent an email to all of the affected project team with the updates.

If I didn’t have my tablet I would have been forced to either a) make an off the cuff decision which could have had an extremely negative impact on my project or b) wait until I was back in the office to make the decision, which would have caused additional delays.

What do you think? Is mobile technology just another way to keep us chained to our desks 24/7 or will it revolutionise the way we manage projects?

COMMENTS

  • December 30, 2011
    reply

    I think over time more and more project managers will let go of their A5 notepads for iPads or Tablet PCs with handwriting recognition. Having all their project info instantly at hand anytime/anywhere is inevitably going to improve productivity. The revolution will come when current business practices (which assume a lack of information mobility) are replaced with new ones enabled by mobile technology.

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