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: Virtual Teams


Project management is being influenced by the same macro trends discussed earlier in this book. One of the most impactful is virtualization of project teams, which is the topic of this chapter. Virtualization has several benefits, including lower cost, diversity of teams, and global access to skills and experience. Digitalization is influencing how teams work and the work they do. It includes automation of many types, artificial intelligence, Big Data, and other topics previously discussed in earlier chapters. There are also trends specific to project management.

Project management is increasingly focused on initiatives containing many integrated projects that together to deliver measurable improvements in customer experience and productivity. Increasingly the project management strategy is to focus on project portfolios as opposed to isolated projects. Operational ecosystems are now highly complex, and a portfolio approach is often more effective than isolated projects because solutions require a combination of aligned projects. Portfolios are needed when there are dependencies between several projects. If there is a single project there are different approaches available, including classic project management with milestones, agile project management (АРМ) with scrum sprints, the Six Sigma phased method, Lean, and others. Teams can use any one of these methods or they can use a hybrid approach. But if a solution requires multiple projects to implement a solution then they must be managed as a portfolio. Digitalization and analytics also influence project management methods as well as data gathering, analysis, and solutions because of the size and number of the accessed databases. Whereas previous project teams could see and touch work products, digitalized work moves around the world and across many systems, with different formats and complexity. In addition to classical project management methods, artificial intelligence provides information and insights for team decisions. Artificial intelligence is already applied to the mundane project management tasks of scheduling work, resource allocation, and project balancing on the critical path, budgeting, and other activities.

Today, products and services, as well as their supporting processes, are decentralized across integrated technology platforms. These platforms employ hundreds or even thousands of software applications that sit on integrated technology platforms. The software applications, the information that is updated, and the associated work is distributed across virtual clouds. Clouds are physical collections of hardware and software located in controlled environments and accessed via the Internet. Clouds aggregate information from many sources to increase hardware and software utilization to lower cost. They also increase software application and information availability and reliability because cloud facilities are duplicated across large distances to reduce downtime.

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