Of iPads & Project Management
Now that the Apple iPad super-hype has finally reached a crescendo and has sort of subsided, Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field (RDF) has once again collapsed until the next one more thing® moment, the all knowing tech industry analysts have given the new biggest thing from S.J. their thumbs up or down, and Apple fan-boys and Apple haters have all had their say, it’s time for us level headed PM’s to take stock of what has happened, and more importantly what it all means (if anything) to successfully managing projects in the future. Whew.
Who among us has not dreamt of having all knowledge easily accessible in the palm of our hands? Drawings, build lists, risk logs, schedules, emails, tweets, presentations, you name it, all conveniently available where and when we need it. And, in rich vibrant color easily viewed on a large crisp display. The concept of an electronic, lightweight, intuitive tablet (slate, pad, etc.) is not new of course. Many have tried for almost a decade to introduce this category of computing to the mass market. All, including that very sharp successful guy, Bill Gates, has failed. So why all the excitement with this iteration? There are many opinions out there why this time it will most likely work. The various rationales can be summed up in two words: Steve Jobs.
Of course only time will tell. Whether or not the tablet concept takes off this time and rewards Apple and its shareholders with zillions in profitable revenue, project management, like many professional practices, stands to benefit tremendously if the best use cases are actually developed and brought to market. We wrote about the growth of very powerful alternatives to the entrenched Microsoft Project running on a Windows PC paradigm previously. Software as a service (SaaS) project management tools that leverage web 2.0 technologies seems tailor made for the Apple iPad. In addition, the user acceptance of general purpose productivity tools and services in the cloud means the iPad is able to become part of a web enabled solution that is in great demand. Cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, Box.net, and many others can become even more indispensable to knowledge workers on the go.
But desktop productivity software developers are also licking their lips at the prospect of hitting a home run, developing versions of their software for the new Apple iPad. For example, Omnigroup, developers of a project management software called Omniplan has said they intend to develop iPad specific versions of all their titles. In addition, because the iPad OS is essentially the iPhone OS (which is a modified version of the Mac OS X desktop OS), virtually all existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps will run on the iPad without modification. This means iPhone apps like ProjectWizards Merlin should just work on the iPad. Of course, we want to see developers rise to the challenge and create new apps that can truly leverage the promise of the iPad. What do you think, will the iPad have an impact on project management?