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Project Management 2.0 – What’s Wrong With 1.0?

Let me quickly state that I don’t really know what the consensus definition of PM 2.0 is, but I do have a feeling based on my very 1.0-style experience.

In the 90′s I worked on a number of fairly large scale SAP Projects in a variety of roles, including Project Manager, and supervisor of several other projects.  The standard tool was Microsoft Project.  It was used for:

  • Planning a Project (initial Scoping)
  • Selling it
  • Periodic reporting to Steering Committee during the actual projects

What’s missing from the above?   Well, how about using it to help the actual daily work of project team members?

Project  team members did not even have access to MS Project, it only existed in a few copies on the PM and Team Lead’s computers.  Information-flow was one-way: feed the beast to be able to occasionally print charts that look impressive (scary) enough that Steering Committee members won’t question it.

Ok, I am admittedly sarcastic, but the point is:  PM 1.0 was all about planning, reporting and it served Management but did not help actual Project Execution.

My expectation of PM 2.0 would be that it helps all team members involved who can share information, collaborate on it and actually get clues from the system on where they are, where they should be, what their next step is, instead of just feeding the beast.

Is this the real promise of Project Management 2.0?   I hope to find out from an excellent set of panelists that I have the honor of moderating at the Office 2.0 Conference next week:

  • Andrew Filev (Wrike)
  • Bruce Henry (LiquidPlanner)
  • Mark Mader (Smartsheet.com)
  • Guy Shani (Clarizen)
  • Dean Carlson (Viewpath)

Of course this is just one of many exciting sessions – if you haven’t registered yet, you can grab a $100 discount by registering here.   Oh, and don’t forget to visit us at the Zoho Party – the address is #1 Cloud Avenue. smile_regular

(This article is cross-posted at the Office 2.0 Conference Blog)

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Office 2.0, a Most Irregular Conference – Get Your Discount Here

Nothing about the Office 2.0 Conference is even remotely ordinary.

Start with the organizer, Ismael Ghalimi, CEO of a VC-funded startup, Intalio.  That’s normally a full-time job – not when it comes to Ismael: he is also a scuba-diving instructor, a pilot, launched Monolab|Workspace, (is that Incubator 2.0?), launched the Extreme Productivity Seminar series, oh, and have I mentioned the annual Office 2.0 Conference?  ( I actually know his secret, he has two body doubles, I just haven’t been able to prove it yetsmile_wink)

Pressed for time he is turning a necessity into a virtue: year by year the Conference is a showcase of creating a successful event out of nothing in only two months. I remember the first event in 2006, when a couple of us Enterprise Irregulars were helping him plan the sessions only weeks away from the start.  A few days and a few blog posts later Ismael got flooded with request for sponsor and speaking slots.  This year history repeats itself: just a month ago the conference site was a placeholder and one could only wonder if … then a new site was born overnight, based on Jive Software’s excellent ClearSpace platform, and now it’s alive with user participation, sponsors, registration..etc.

What’s a Web-focused Conference without wi-fi?   It’s a joke that in 2008 conferences, including brands like Web 2.0, Gnomedex …etc.  still fail to provide sufficient connection.  Ismael’s solution includes laser beams to the top of the building, another one down to a terrace, then inside – making it happen with Swisscom was quite a project in itself.  Office 2.0 set the standard once and for all, anything less at major conferences is a failure.

Then there’s the issue of The Gadget.  I believe the iPod at the first conference was just more-then-generous swag.  The iPhones handed out at the second conference had an integral part at the event: several applications released specifically for Office 2.0 allowed participants to interact with each other, navigate the schedule and find sessions.  This time all paid participants will receive a the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC.

Yes, the conference swag is not pens, stickers or t-shirts: it’s a mini-computer, which cost about half the registration fee.  It will clearly raise eyebrows, and many would prefer to skip the gadget and pay reduced fees.  I think handing out such an expensive gadget will have an interesting effect on the conference demographic: we’ll likely see an increase of corporate employees, who can expense the entire conference and are less price-sensitive than startups and freelancers – the original Office 2.0 crowd.

But that may very well be what the conference needs.   There’s a reason why this year’s theme is Enterprise Adoption.  The Office 2.0 movement wouldn’t go very far with only the early pioneers, evangelists talking to themselves, dissmissing enterprise requirements.  For the principles to become practice in business, we need a more balanced mix, and in a twisted way the gadget may just help achieve that.

Those who can’t afford the full registration are not entirely locked out: Socialtext CEO and top evangelist Ross Mayfield will facilitate Un-Conference 2.0 the day before the official conference, at a cost of $50.

Finally, startups have a chance to present the attending VCs, media, bloggers at  LaunchPad – Ismael announced this event over the weekend, and already has 10 particpants – get in there while you can.  Note to my (numerous) VC readers: I hope you will be there, too.

If you’re still hesitating, check out the Agenda, the list of SpeakersMedia representatives,  and if you haven’t done so, register now.

I’ve saved the best for last: don’t use the standard registration, save $100 by registering here.

Update: while I was typing here, fellow Enterprise Irregular Dennis Howlett explained why this is an Irregular (pun intended) Conference in more than one way.  Update to the update: see Susan’s excellent summary.

(cross-posted on the Conference Blog)

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WebWare 100 Proves We Don’t Like Work

The 2008 Webware 100 winners have just been announced.  Over half the votes went to the top 10 winners:  Facebook,Firefox, Google, iTunes, MySpaceYouTube, DeviantArt, Friendster, Gaia Online and Maxthon.

Here’s the full winner list, the top 100 web applications selected by 1.9 million voters.

Now, what about that “we don’t like work”?  Well, out of all catogories  Productivity attracted the least active voting, only 64,000 votes in total.  Incidentally it’ sthe category I am typically interested in – a sure sign that I must have my head screwed on the wrong way. smile_omg  This was also the category fatally skewed last year, at Webware 2007, when it was lumped together with Commerce, and of course got dominated by giants like Amazon, eBay and PayPal.

This year I’m glad to see Productivity become a category on its own, and the winners are (click on the icons for detail): 

 
 
Congratulations to all the winners, many of whom will be present at the Web 2.0 Expo starting in San Francisco tomorrow.
 
 
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My Very Short GTDInbox Experiment

I wanted to get organized about my ever-growing inbox, so I thought I’d give GTDInbox a try, especially after reading the positive reviews on both WebWorkerDaily and ReadWriteWeb

My experiment has lasted a grand total of two days. Firefox freezes every hour or so, I just can’t stand it anymore.

Of course it doesn’t necessarily prove GTDInbox is the offending party; for all I know it could be any other Firefox extension that was a sleeper until now, yet in combination with all the others it now misbehaves.  But it’s beyond the point: I am a user, not a tester, so I took the easy path out of this nightmare: remove the most recent addition, and the freezes will stop.

I still like the concept, so will look at GTDInbox a few releases later.

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Freshbooks Launches Benchmarking Service: SaaS Will Never Be the Same

Way back at the Office 2.0 conference FreshBooks CEO Mike McDerment dropped a bomb in the last 20 seconds in his presentation: being software as as service, they can aggregate customers’ data, categorize it by industry, size ..etc, and once they do that, why not turn it into a service, providing customers with their own performance metrics as well as benchmarking them against their peers.

A few months later, the Small Business Report Card service will launch tomorrow at the Web 2.0 Expo as well as online. The service will be free to all Freshbooks customers, who will:

  • all receive their own performance metrics, and
  • if they select their peer group based on (currently) 80 types of business / professions, geography and several other business criteria, they will also receive their relative position, “score-card” within that group.

The sample below is a mock-up of the actual Report Card, but is shows the initial metrics reported. Clearly, as they further enhance the program, there will be more and more criteria, and FreshBooks customers will have a say in what performance metrics they find valuable.

Remember, FreshBooks’ customers are mostly small businesses who don’t have an army of MBA-types crunch the numbers and look for business (in)efficiencies. In fact it’s probably fair to say some would not even know how to interpret the numbers, until they are put in prospective – hence the value of relative benchmarking.

But why will SaaS never be the same? This isn’t just about FreshBooks and its customers.

It’s *the* hidden business model enabled by SaaS. An opportunity not talked about, but so obvious it has to be on the back of all SaaS CEO’s mind. Benchmarking is a huge business, practiced by research firms like Forrester, Hoovers, Dunn and Bradstreet, as well as by specialized shops like the Hackett group – none of which are affordable to small businesses. More importantly, all previous benchmarking efforts were hampered by the quality of source data, which, with systems behind firewalls was at least questionable. SaaS providers will have access to the most authentic data ever, aggregation if which leads to the most reliable industry metrics and benchmarking.

Being pioneers always carries a risk, and clearly, Freshbooks will have to keep an eye on their customers feedback. There may be a backlash due to data privacy/ownership concerns; some customers will not opt in, they may even lose some customers entirely. But I believe the majority will see the light and benefit from the service. If Mike’s blog post on the subject is any indication, the feedback there was overwhelmingly positive, with 13 comments for, 3 against.

I suspect a year or two from now benchmarking based on aggregate customer data will be standard industry practice, and little (?) FreshBooks will be looked upon as the pioneers who opened up the floodgate of opportunities.

Last, but not least a word on the creative launch – or a lesson on how to launch from a conference you don’t officially participate atsmile_wink:

Yugma is a web-conferencing company and an exhibitor at Web 2.0 Expo. What better way to demo a web-conferencing product than by showing real-live use… without Yugma having to move a finger to create content. They created Stage 2, a platform for companies to showcase their products remotely at the Yugma booth and simultaneously to the World through a Net broadcast. Both the presenters and Yugma win – congrat’s, and my personal Creativity Award to Yugma thumbs_up

Update (4/19): read Jeff Nolan’s comments.

Update (10/8/2008):  Congrat’s to Freshbooks for getting on  Fox Business.