Project management is currently in a state of transition. For several years, there has been a clear trend towards innovative project management methods such as SCRUM and Kanban. Process models constitute the framework within which the project is to be steered by various methods, plans and structures. However, these process models are not employed in practice as described in the textbook, but are individualized in order to meet company-specific requirements.
Companies with good project management work faster, more efficiently and are more customer-oriented. Consequently, finding the suitable project management approach and its associated configuration of process models are increasingly becoming a competitive field.
However, small and medium-sized enterprises are in danger of being disregarded, as the adaptation and company-specific optimization of the process models and their methods are complex. Most SMEs do not have the expert knowledge required for such a venture, because they cannot afford large project management departments and expensive consultants.
The digitization of project-related business processes provides opportunities for such companies to benefit from good project management and thus increase their competitiveness.
Instead of expensive consulting services and rigid software, a digital assistant supports companies in selecting the right traditional and/or innovative approach to project management. Simultaneously, it provides an optimized project management software to carry out the planning and controlling of the system.
More specifically, a service consulting approach is developed to enable methodological adaptation, as well as providing digital consulting services for configuration support. Thus, the SME can optimally adapt both the process model and the project management software tool based on significant contributing factors, such as project size or the possibility of increasing delivery, among others.
The concept is shown in the image below:
Enterprises provide the digital assistant with information about their company and project. The digital assistant contains a reference model that proposes a fully automated procedure for processing the project task based on the information entered (for example project size, type of project task, etc.). In line with this procedure, the project management software will be modified so that the company can plan, budget, invoice and successfully complete the project efficiently.
For queries while using the digital assistant, an automated digital consulting system, using the remote component, provides expert knowledge and support. This support enables an easy, structured and individual adaptation of the project management process models to company-specific conditions without the SME having to have its own project management office. The research project thus contributes to the digitization of workflows and to the optimal processing of projects.
The PRAGUE project consortium is composed of the AWS Institute, the consortium leader Projektron, the research partner Institut for project management and information modelling (Landshut University) and the application partner EANTC; other well-known associated small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises are also involved in the project.
The AWSi in the project PRAGUE
Main tasks of the project:
The digital assistant with reference model, digital consulting concept and the adaptability of project management software have to be researched and implemented.
The AWSi is bringing in its expertise in the area of concepts and software tools for self-service consulting. The core area of expertise and the working objective of the AWSi results from the combination of know-how in the field of assistance systems, machine learning and the up-to-date research area of digital consulting.
The following sub-goals will be implemented by the AWSi:
- The user should be empowered to adapt PM methods to his/her specific SME project environment independently, through consultation with an expert system. For this purpose, self-service components are developed, in which expert knowledge is deductively transferred into control loops. The knowledge will be converted into an IT artifact via machine learning and can be retrieved via a self-service component..
- In case the self-service procedure reaches its limits or the end user requires additional expert knowledge, a remote consulting component will be developed in which human experts intervene and work collaboratively with the end user to make configurations to the PM method.
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Projektron developes and distributes the software Software Projektron BCS (Business Coordination Software) which focuses on project planning, coordination and evaluation. Taking the roles of consortium leader and application expert in the domain of project management, Projektron coordinates the realization of prototypes of the digital assistance based on its project management software Projektrom BCS.
The Institute for Project Management and Information Modelling (IPIM) was founded in the year 2014 by the professors Seel and Timinger. Since its inception, the research on reference models for different types of applications has been their focus area of work. As experts in the domain of project management, the IPIM leads the conception of an adaptive reference model and the interfaces connecting the software tools.
The European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) is internationally accredited as one of the leading independent test centers for telecommunication technologies. EANTC assesses the whole telecommunication technology spectrum: infrastructure of data nets, protocols, services, data processing center-technologies, cloud, virtualization as well as software defined networking. In particular EANTC, being application partner, takes care of the configuration of the reference model as well as the evaluation of the software.