Project management as a field has evolved dramatically over the several recent decades. With the increasingly volatile environment across all industries, globalization, workplace culture shifts, project managers have to more agile and adaptive than ever. The concept of waterfall was formulated in the 80s, migrated from software development space to a broader project management category about 25 years ago, and that’s when most of the ‘classic’ project management tools were developed. At the time, such software was only within reach of large enterprises, and, naturally, software companies such as Microsoft, designed their products to match the complexity of those types of organizations. To this day, the successors and the likes of Microsoft Project are targeting a very specific market - primarily large enterprises with complex processes, where waterfall is the typical approach to keeping project management practices robust.
In 1991, agile was born, and slowly the concept and approach has also penetrated all kinds of other environments in addition to software development. There is now agile marketing, agile sales, and, perhaps, even agile HR. The shift if the approach to software platforms that enable this kind of project management was significant and was powered by the rise of SaaS and open source in general. The new generation of project management tools started to emphasize not just the agility that comes with their software tool, but simplicity, user-friendliness, flexibility to any type of work and open, transparent collaboration. Project management transformed into team management, task management, and decentralization of leadership on projects became the norm.
What neither the Microsoft Project breed, not hundreds of modern agile cloud tools dare to admit is that an average employee does not care deeply about deadlines or number of projects, tasks and sub-tasks he completed. These criteria of success are pushed down from the managers who, even with all these ‘transparent collaboration’ tools are in charge and in control. Have you ever heard and employee say ‘oh, I just wish I could complete 10 tasks a day vs. 8, I’d be really satisfied with my job then’? You probably haven’t and this is because humans in the workplace do not think this way. In modern intellectual work offices (or, what analysts may call ‘interaction workers’), Individual engagement and job satisfaction are not measured in widgets per hour, even if a widget is now a ‘task’. Interaction, intellectual, information economy workers are productive when they are happy at work, sounds simple, right? Polls break the concept of ‘happiness at work’ down into more specific categories, including being recognized for achievements, feeling that one if treated fairly, transparency in communication and collaboration, respect from peers and senior management, autonomy, and knowing what is expected of one’s work and performance.
It is time to focus our team management efforts on what employees say is important to them at work. The ideas are in the air - manage by walking around, human workplace, employee engagement programs - but execution is lagging in terms of software tools that could truly enable this shift from being happy to produce more widgets to just being happy because you know you are doing a great job. GoodDay is the first platform to recognize that soon managers will play even lesser role in defining day-to-day priorities and goals as they do now. As the workforce is becoming more educated, connected, and the average standard of living rises, talented and dedicated employees will choose carefully and pay attention to what’s important to them at work far beyond the paycheck.