Project Management Basics: Innovation Management

Traditional project management models focused almost exclusively on delivery have made way for problem-solving.
March 16, 2022
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It’s not often that you hear innovation and project management in the same sentence.

Mostly because requirements, deadlines, scope, efficiency, etc., seem to be at odds with conventional ideas of innovation.

But things are changing. Traditional project management models that focused almost exclusively on service/product delivery have made way for project management that is centered on problem-solving. 

Problem-solving and innovation in modern project management

Look at customer onboarding projects. They are not just about getting customers to go live, they are about solving the customer’s problem using a new product.

Today, a project manager must generate or identify ideas that add value to the project, while managing the risk such a project could entail. While requirements, scope, schedules, and go-live are important, effective project management means keeping your eyes on the big picture result that the project should deliver. 

Project management then becomes part tactical, and part strategic. Problem-solving, data-backed analysis, and contextual recommendations/innovations have a huge role to play here.

Innovation management and systems and processes around it become an area of active focus in project management.

Barriers to innovation in project management 

It’s not easy for project managers to focus on innovation management throughout their projects. Several obstacles come in the way of helping project managers focus on innovation, such as: 

  1. Time constraints: It becomes hard to take a big picture view of things when you’re too busy putting the pieces together. The tactical demands of a project leave little time or energy for innovation root cause solutions.
  2. Visibility: With multiple projects screaming for their attention at any point in time, project managers need visibility into how their processes and systems are performing both through a project and across projects. 
  3. Underutilized data: There are multiple areas of innovation just waiting to be discovered in each project. The key is to look at this through a data-focused approach.
    The right project management tools can help you use data from past projects to highlight issues, benchmark project performance, and identify areas of innovation. 

Project management tools and their role in innovation management

The problem:  Innovation needs time and attention. 

The solution: Make space and time for innovation in project management. 

The trick is finding an approach that enables consistency, efficiency, and visibility, without suffocating creativity. 

The right project management tool can make all the difference here.
Author and entrepreneur Jonathan Fields, says it best when he says, “Ritualize the mundane to make way for the brilliant” 

Three of the biggest problems project managers working on complex projects face are decision fatigue, the ability to forecast correctly, and communication gaps. Project management tools can make innovation management much easier by 

  1. Highlighting/identifying process improvements 
  2. Identifying bottlenecks
  3. Narrowing down on areas of improvement 

An effective project management tool can pave the way for innovation in every project, identifying tasks that are taking up too much time, streamlining approvals, or using templates to minimize repetitive tasks. 

For instance, Rocketlane’s reusable project templates save project managers time and effort on new projects so they can focus on identifying areas of innovation.

The time-tracking functionality can help project managers identify time sinks and areas to innovate upon. 

But most importantly, it can provide a 30000-foot view into multiple projects as well as the tactical details they need for each project.

Try Rocketlane for your project management needs

With the right tool on your side, you don’t have to pick between innovation and efficiency. 

Project management tools like Rocketlane can help you streamline processes, build consistency, and ensure transparency into onboarding projects so you can experiment, improve, and innovate, with every new project.

Take data-backed project decisions, save time on repetitive tasks, and track process improvements to see just what collaboration and consistency can do for innovation. 

Sign up today for a free trial

More resources

  1. Project Management Basics: Risk Management
  2. Getting to the root cause of problems in project management
  3. 10 Project Management Tools You Can Use for Customer Onboarding
  4. Customer onboarding templates for every stage of your onboarding journey

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Kirthika Soundararajan
Head - Content Marketing @ Rocketlane

All things content at Rocketlane. I run on coffee and cat videos. Follow me on Twitter @kirthikasrajan

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