A Guide to Project Management Innovation

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 08/11/2021
project management innovation

We are dedicating this article to business owners and project managers. In the past few years, every organisation strives to be innovative, and while this does mean the adoption of new tools, it also stands for reviewing business processes. In this specific article, we’ll be looking into one of them - project management innovation.




When speaking of project management, it may be difficult to pinpoint what exactly needs to be innovated. Traditionally, its purpose is to set up tried-and-tested processes that prevent failures and lead to success. This leaves little room for innovation. 

In this article, we will be exploring how innovative changes can be implemented in a very traditional part of the business in a low-risk manner.


Room for Improvement  

The issue lies within the fact that project management seeks to generate the ability to predict and respond to challenges along the way. Stirring away from your standard processes is seen as introducing risk into your project. But staying on course and not leaving the comfort zone can also lead to loss of opportunities such as innovation.

But here’s good news: there is a middle ground. By striking the balance between traditional project management and a pinch of creativity in bending the rules, you will be able to bring novelty and therefore a modern approach to a process that’s one of the cornerstones of your success. 

Challenges in Pursuing Innovation 

As you must have figured by now, innovating project management specifically will bring a set of challenges. They will be unique to every business, based on the existing processes, target audience, industries and many more. However, there are three key challenges that are universal when seeking changes in project management. 

Defining Innovation 

The first challenge is a common misconception of the very definition of ‘innovation’. Normally, people associate it with coming up with something brand new, be it a process or a product.  However, very often this stands for adding new things to something that already exists. So, how is it different from a mere improvement?

Innovation can be defined as generating new ideas or processes AND implementing them. The improvement adds value through implementation, it doesn’t include generating new ideas - not always, at least. Innovation happens when you add creativity to improvement. You may need to spark your creativity by having a look at all the available tools out there and learning about their individual features.  

Finding Creativity 

Since project management is firmly tied to highly focused tasks such as planning, budgeting, organising and delivering, it virtually has nothing to do with creativity. It might appear to be an area with no place for creative input, which is the root of the challenge. Innovation can only be achieved if there’s a healthy amount of creativity added to the process.

The answer to this is the creation of a highly integrated digital toolbox. A stand-alone project management software does exactly what it’s expected to, therefore excluding the opportunity for innovation. But when integrated with other solutions like digital timesheets, payroll, customer relationship management systems and others, it becomes part of a data-collecting hub that creates a more holistic, in-depth look at each process from a perspective that would otherwise be unavailable.

In other words, the way to start adding creativity and therefore driving project management innovation is by looking at it through a different prism. In this case, as opposed to only reviewing project management relevant data, through software integrations, you get to see its impact in different contexts.

This essentially means that your creative input in this process doesn’t mean disrupting its traditional and very crucial functionality. It means enabling yourself to see it from a different angle, which in turn enhances your ability to plan, forecast and allocate budgets better as you will now have more data to work with. This is the golden spot that leads to innovation. 

Internal Resistance  

Very often the roadblock to innovating processes is the unwillingness of people involved to adopt a new approach. It is especially true when we talk about onboarding a new piece of software to replace an old solution.  You should not disregard that, even if you’re the key decision-maker. Ultimately, these are the people whose workflows will be affected by changes.

The key is to approach them with empathy. Understand why they’re resisting the change and what their fears are, and work together to reassure them that it’s for the better. Share your vision with your staff and if you are looking to implement new software, book a demo for them, so they can see the benefits for themselves. 

Benefits of Innovative Solutions 

The three above-described challenges are the ones that companies run into the most, but they’re far from being the only ones. That said, you might be wondering whether it’s worth facing all these obstacles in pursuit of innovation.

To balance that out, we will next talk thought the key benefits that come with innovating your project management processes. Instead of looking into each solution separately, we are going to talk about a software toolbox as a whole, simply because different businesses will have different needs and will therefore have different tools.   

Improved Accessibility  

There are a few aspects to cover when speaking of accessibility. First of all, a good digital toolbox consists of solutions integrated with one another, and accessible anywhere. Traditional legacy software is often desktop-based, making it difficult for concurrent access and almost impossible to access unless you have your own laptop with you or you’re in the office.

Most of the modern, integrative solutions of today are known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is also often called the ‘on-demand software’. These are simply web-based solutions that are accessible via an internet browser on your desktop, mobile phone or tablet.

Some vendors actually offer the mobile version of their solution in a form of an app. For example, instead of logging into a Timesheet Portal via a browser, your staff can easily access it on their phones, through either Android or iPhone apps. 

Project Collaborations in Real-Time 

Project management largely consists of tasks, budget and resource allocation. Having multiple people involved, especially if they’re outsourced workers, adds a layer of complexity to effective collaborations. Unfortunately, miscommunications are quick to occur and are particularly damaging to the overall success of the project.

That’s where the other key feature of SaaS software comes in handy - it provides concurrent access by multiple users, and each of their actions is visible and trackable to others. This aspect smoothens in-team communication and enables the creation of highly streamlined workflows.  

In-depth Data Insights  

Analysing your performance is crucial to project management as this is the driving force that allows you to plan the allocation of resources or potential changes in the process. Innovating the process using your digital toolbox expands the depth and volume of data across different elements.

Most SaaS systems also pride themselves on their presentation of insights, usually coming in the shape of digestible and easy-to-analyse visual dashboards. In other words, by innovating the approach to project management through SaaS you access a whole lot of new data that is automatically delivered to you in a visual format.  

Process Innovation is a Mindset 

Although innovation mostly comes in the shape of digitalisation and process automation, it’s actually a mindset. You can have the best, newest solutions available on the market and still fail at improving the performance of your processes.

We call software bundles a toolbox for a reason - because digital solutions are merely tools to help you achieve your goals. If you’re not in the mindset, you are not likely to utilise your toolset right, and this will lead to frustration and further internal resistance to trying again. On the other hand, if you’re willing to explore new areas, digital solutions offer a lot of room for experimentation that very often brings unexpected results. 

Key Takeaway 

Project management is often perceived as following a set of processes and change to these processes is perceived as risky. Because of that, it’s difficult to tie it up with creativity - however, a pinch of creativity is essential to start innovation in the process.

The ultimate way of implementing project management innovation is through creating a digital toolbox, consisting of different SaaS solutions that unlock new data channels and enable the project manager to approach their duties with fresh ideas.

However, the key to innovation will always be the mindset. Do you feel like you’ve got it? Then start building your digital toolbox with  Timesheet Portal Project Edition.

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