PMaaS – The Golden Gate for IT Project Instant Gratification
What is your reaction to reading these three words … slow internet connection? I know! Me too. Waiting just a few extra seconds for a page to load can feel like forever!
Smartphone apps have eliminated the need to wait for anything, from a taxi, to a table at your favourite restaurant to a date. On Netflix, you can start streaming a movie or a TV boxset in seconds.
Researchers at UMass Amherst recently revealed the length of time folks are willing to wait for a video to load. Computer science professor, Ramesh Sitaraman, examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users - guess how long viewers were willing to wait? Ten seconds?? Five? No, staggeringly TWO SECONDS!!
Sitaraman said, “After that, they started abandoning. After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25%. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone.”
We want everything instantly and this desire can bring us exciting possibilities.
I was thinking about this when we came back from a holiday in the U.S. and instantly (within 2 hours of landing!!!) I was able to go through the entire trip with my mother-in-law. We were visiting family and excitedly sharing the tales of our adventures - it was great to be able to bring the tales to life with pictures and show her what her grandchildren had experienced. Back in the day, I'd have had to wait until the chemist opened and then wait for the film to be processed … even the 'express' one hour option feels like an eternity!!
We live in a world of 'instant gratification' and the IT Project Management world is no exception, only in our world failure to instantly deliver can be more costly than someone missing on the latest cute cat video. It can mean failure to deliver key strategic business goals, it can mean losing ground on your competition, it can mean less relevant and up to date service delivery, it can mean stressed out project sponsors and end users and it can mean missing out on your potential best results and performance.
‘Instant gratification’ is changing expectations, both in our personal and professional lives and selecting the right new tools is the fastest way to deliver it.
A good example of this was in San Francisco and the iconic Golden Bridge shot.
As you probably know, the Golden Gate Bridge is shrouded in mist 90% of the time and on the rare occasion that it is not, it is very popular with tourists who want to experience the landmark and take that all important photograph. Unfortunately, that means that the viewing area car parks often get closed due to the influx of visitors and the surrounding roads become clogged with stationary traffic. We visited on one such day – the sun was shining, and the tourists were out in force. We approached the bridge and found that all of the car parks were full and it was not possible to stop the car – disaster!
At least, it would have been a disaster if I was using old technology. My chances of taking a photograph would have been somewhere near zero back then – I was never fortunate enough to own a high-end SLR camera capable of shooting pictures whilst moving. Instead, my compact camera had required a stationary, stable platform from which to shoot. The car I was in was moving so all of this would have been out of the question. Then, I'd have been anxious about wasting any of the 24 or 36 exposures that the limited film allowed.
Nowadays though modern technology, my iPhone 10, meant that I could hold the phone out of the window and ‘click’ all the way down the road. I took 50+ shots knowing I could discard any pictures that I didn’t need, just selecting the best one, the one that met my brief. Check out the result, by the way, cool picture eh?!
Then it was back to work and I was in the process of showing off my pictures to my colleagues, who WERE very, very interested when the phone rang. It was a client with a problem - an exciting new IT Project WITH an exhilaratingly tight delivery schedule AND an existing project portfolio that subsequently would be stretched.
Even a team as adept at Agile project working as this one had real concerns and, looking at the new project’s schedule and the existing workload, it was easy to see why.
The project sponsors, just like the rest of us, were impatient, less tolerant of allowing time to elapse, they didn’t want to hang around and wait to see results, they wanted to see the benefit of their investment instantly! They also didn't want the other projects to suffer.
Back in the day, you would have to rely upon and stretch your permanent in-house resources, or gamble on contractors to deliver. I thought of myself capturing that shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, the old project tools were the equivalent of that compact camera - the chance of getting the desired result was slim.
No, if instant gratification were needed it would depend on instant results and, in turn, that would depend upon instant guaranteed top performance - solutions that would hit the ground running.
So, we quickly turned our thoughts to the Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) sector.
The PMaaS universe, like the functionality of your smartphone, is constantly expanding and evolving. I mean, my first iPhone would have struggled to get that Golden Gate Bridge shot (remember how everyone had white eyes in photographs that needed a flash?!). Similarly, the Project Management Services market of ten years ago might have struggled with this challenge.
Not now though, within what felt like seconds we had an end to end Project Management Office proposal drawn up complete with ready to go resources. The existing portfolio would be unaffected, the new project would achieve all the instant deliverables on time and there were no overall cost implications.
With PMaaS you don’t have to wait to see if 'you've set your equipment correctly' and hang around to see results. There is no gambling on contractors or stretching of your permanent resources, with the right partner – you can have instant access to proven experience and skills.
The desire for instant gratification is only going to intensify. Retailers are sensing potential financial gain - same-day delivery will soon become a common option at the online checkout (my friend Sue in the USA placed an order with Amazon at 10.30am and it had been delivered to her Boston home by the end of the working day - all for less than ten dollars!)
The point is that these retailers are leveraging our impatience and profiting from it.
In IT Project Management, PMaaS allows us to do the same.
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