Vidahlia Press and Publishing House and PubSoft are searching for the next writers in prison. Categories include poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction. With the possibility to win cash money, along with an option to free tuition for a one-year online course in creative writing or fine arts, prisoners have the opportunity to participate in outside-world events and possibly carve a name for themselves – thanks to the fact that history has a long list of great writers who spent time behind bars. And that’s not even mentioning some of the bestsellers that had been penned in prison.

Image credit: hin255 | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image credit: hin255 | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

News such as this highlights the trends made achievable through software, online communication and cloud initiatives, making possible what in the past was impossible, and changing the way the world functions in various sectors.

Trends in project management – where are they going? 

For a more comprehensive look at trends in project management for 2014, click here and here, but here’s a rundown of a few of them:

  • Distributed teams are growing, and this will continue to grow exponentially, right along with the technology that makes distance collaboration possible.
  • Adoption of online collaboration tools is fast increasing. As businesses increase collaboration between geographically dispersed partners and employees while trying to decrease operational costs, team management is moving from the email inbox to a more streamlined collaboration platform.
  • An increasing number of companies now want project managers to lead more versus manage.
  • As competition develops, benchmarking one project management practice against the competition is becoming the norm.
  • Radical changes will be implemented by companies dissatisfied with their project management performance. 

How the right tool can help you stay ahead of these trends

Usability

The point of moving from the inbox to a collaboration platform is to get things done faster. But if the collaboration software you’re using is one that needs a lengthy time-to-market due to installation, training, programming and other assimilation needs, how fast can you actually go and implement these changes? When can you get started on the actual project?

So, what exactly is usability?

  • It is the ability of the software to adapt to the business processes and core business tools already used, and not the other way around.
  • It is the software’s capability to relieve extra tasks from the manager by automating most basic functions. The operation of software and additional training of employees is highly decreased, thus letting the manager focus more on the main job itself, which would be leading the team versus micromanaging it.
  • It is when you can manipulate your workflow, tasks, and schedule charts on the fly, and easily adjust them according to changing business processes. These adjustments need to be swift and accurate, or else the purpose is defeated.

Simplicity and clarity of purpose

In a SharePoint conference interview, Christopher Plescia, VP of Marketing for Nationwide Insurance, said, “Sometimes, people are so quick to add features that the corporate world doesn’t really need.”

Overdoing functions and features can actually backfire, particularly on the users of the software. Too many features, toggles and commands can overwhelm employees and possibly increase the learning curve. It can even be a double negative if the business doesn’t really need these processes on a daily basis anyway.

A clear, simple interface allows users to focus on  their tasks, and not on software handling intricacies.

Flexibility down to an architectural level

At the rate technological trends are going, it’s not only an imperative for most businesses to keep up; it’s also a huge unknown, for the most part, where these trends might lead. This makes flexibility an important factor for managers in choosing enterprise collaboration software.

Flexibility is not limited to just the software’s manageability for its users, but the flexibility for some of its add-ons to be dropped and replaced by the manager according to business needs. This allows businesses to continuously improve and recreate their tools without having to be dependent on a single vendor platform, or a whole system of third-party applications.

Conclusion

Despite the various, even radical changes in business practices due to the emergence of new technologies, utilization of collaboration tools are still becoming more of a staple for team management. In fact, these tools are very handy for keeping up with project management trends and thus, staying ahead of the competition. The only question left to answer then is which software should you choose?

If you’re in the market for a project planning and execution solution, Comindware’s latest product offering, Comindware Project, offers a 30-day free trial.