Modern evidence suggests that formal, best practice project management processes were actually used to build the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, using paid labour, not slave labour to achieve incredible feats. In fact, the concept of Project Management has been around so long that the processes, techniques and tools used by the industry are well established and documented.
Despite this, the common understanding of these processes is limited to a relatively small subset of people and the process of applying these techniques has changed little over the years. Perhaps because of this, exploration on the frontiers of the industry is opening up a different angle on the status quo.
Two entrepreneurs from Brisbane, Australia are leading the push. Tired of the lack of innovation in old school project management approaches to a modern world, Aaron Hudson and Chris O’Halloran have invented a process to simplify and streamline the application of project management techniques.
The invention is a cloud based software platform called Grapple®, and is developing a following with customers in the industry who are not equipped to deal with modern expectations of project management.
There are many project related products on the market, mostly focussing on helping users to create a simple list of tasks or develop complex schedules. Output from multiple software platforms is often manually stitched together to create entire project plans. These software platforms are not intelligent and changes to any part of the project plan cause a ripple effect, involving hours spent updating different documents to understand the consequences, not to mention significant time spent in obtaining approval from various stakeholders.
These products often tend to only scratch the surface, or alternatively, require an advanced knowledge of project management theory. However, the majority of projects today are not managed by professional project managers, but by everyday business people who have not had extensive project experience or training.
Aaron and Chris invented Grapple to help “non-professional” or inexperienced project managers to plan a project properly right from the start; to apply skills and techniques that only professional project managers normally understand. Grapple automates the process of creating project plans with minimal data entry, intelligent learning algorithms, big data analysis, and more.
At its core, the concept is to provide a framework that helps users follow a logical, guided, best practice process that identifies project stakeholders, understands their needs, builds scope plans, budgets, schedules, quality plans, risk plans, and more in a completely integrated platform.
The invention also streamlines the menial, time-consuming processes such as obtaining review and feedback, achieving project sign off, and keeping track when things change.
This approach is built on industry leading frameworks and the IS021500 international standard for Project Management.
Aaron and Chris offer that the idea is that all project systems should communicate with each other. Grapple does not see itself in isolation of other platforms and tools such as Microsoft project, Liquid Planner, @Risk or any other business system. It provides an integration platform, where a project plan can be created quickly and then connected to every other business system that is needed to run the project or company.
Chris and Aaron openly express their surprise that this hasn’t been achieved before. They foresee, however, that as cloud based technology and mobile-based platforms become more prolific, that the logical direction for development of new project systems will head this way.
They are hoping other companies follow quickly to meet the challenge and raise the bar on the standard approach to project management today, and create a network of complimentary niche products in this space. Aaron said, “It is not right or at all reasonable, that we are continuing to use paper based systems to support a methodology created more than 50 years ago, to manage the complexities of projects, the complexities of communication and the higher interest level of stakeholders in today’s industries.
Grapple is currently undergoing beta trials with selected customers. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in becoming part of the beta trial.