There are certain individuals nowadays, mostly “project managers”, that decided to add version numbers to the notion of Project Management… And they created PM 1.0 and PM 2.0. More than probably the numbering idea came from the software domain: different tools and different versions for various needs.

A Little History Background

Since ancient times man created spectacular structures. The Great Pyramid of Giza around 2550 BC and The Great Wall of China around 206 BC are just two of them. Both survived to the test of time and even now are still standing. For this to happen it required a well done preparation, knowledge and workforce. These are clear proofs of an extraordinary construction engineering. Can we talk about project management at that moment? Perhaps not under this name but in reality it was exactly that.

The notion of Project Management as we know it today began to take root around year 1950. At that time organizations started to systematically apply management tools and techniques, developed in earlier years, to complex engineering projects. A famous tool that is being heavily used even today is the Gantt chart. One way or another businesses and other organizations began to see the benefit of organizing work around projects. So it was not just management anymore but it was also about projects: Project Management.

The Software Era

Managing projects on paper, as it was done at that time, is a time consuming process, prone to errors and costly. Obviously all these are true for medium to large projects and not for the small ones where the management is a lot easier to be done. But with the technology advances between 1970 and 1980 the first few project management related software solutions were created. This was an incredible increase in the performance of managing projects: faster computation, more reliable data and all the advantages that came from using a computer.

Over the years from users feedback better and better project management tools were created. Some solutions became deprecated and died while others evolved. However there is one particular point in time that can be considered a milestone: the evolution of Internet and the appearance of Web 2.0. All the fuss around the new World Wide Web aka Web 2.0 started around year 2000. The new way of dynamically rendering pages over the Internet offered an increased flexibility in using web application as a team as opposed to desktop ones. The gate to collaboration between team members directly through project management software was opened. And starting from this people created the term of Project Management 2.0[1][2].

How did that happen? Simple: the traditional way of managing projects (this approach was renamed into PM 1.0 at a later stage) was lacking in one regard they say – collaboration – and the new approach came with that. It is a hard thing to believe that before Web 2.0 there was no collaboration between stakeholders when managing a project… Maybe not through the use of PM tools but there were other means like email, chat, phone etc. So is it right to say that PM 2.0 = PM 1.0 + collaboration?

One PM 2.0 definition says “Project management 2.0 concerns the methodology, and also the software“. Hmm… project management related trainings, courses, certifications have nothing to do with software. You can use the preferred tool no matter if it is a desktop, mobile or browser based one.

Increased collaboration across multiple project teams can be achieved only if all teams will chose the same tool implementation. So the benefit comes from the use of a certain software and not because the teams are following a new so called PM 2.0 methodology… We can certainly say that PM Software 2.0 is better that PM Software 1.0 by adding increased collaboration through software means but can we say that PM 2.0 which is newer it is also better than PM 1.0? And if yes how exactly is it better?

The New Mobile Wave

Currently there is an explosion of mobile devices like tablets and smart phones available on the market. Should we use this new wave and create the notion of Project Management 3.0? Project management done through the use of mobile devices that offers a further increased efficiency in collaboration, mobility and so on… Really?

There are quite a few project management related methodologies, processes and frameworks: traditional PM, agile PM, Scrum, PRINCE2, Extreme Programming just to name a few of them. Are these connected to any kind of software or technology? No. Then why should PM 2.0 be bound to Web 2.0? Or to collaboration?

Actually all these discussions apply not to the project management notion as some say but to the project management software that it is being used. Project management is still project management no matter how you call it. It is a discipline and has nothing to do with the software tools that are being used to apply it.