The Importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) for Project Management

Linh Tran, Tuesday 31 May 2016 | Reading time: unknown
Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Dometorres under CC BY-SA 4.0 (edited)

One of the biggest predicted project management trends 2016 was the Internet of Things (IoT). It is clear that sooner or later it will also affect project management. 

The IoT will affect every part of life and business – even industries and projects that are not directly internet-related. We'll examine in this blog post exactly how important it will be for project management. 

What is the IoT?

Management consulting company, McKinsey, defines IoT as follows:


In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet.


The sensors enable the monitoring of the performance of devices everywhere and collect a myriad of data that can be analyzed. The data is then used to understand complexities of the world, and as a result improve efficiency in all areas of life – at home and at work.

How will the IoT impact project management?

If you search the term on Google, you’ll get over 32 million results, and Google Trends show that it has gained a lot of interest in the last couple of years and will continue to do so. The possibilities that the IoT offers are immense – not just for the IT industry. What will it mean for the future of project management?

The IoT…

…changes the way teams collaborate

As a result of the increased connectivity, teams will collaborate differently. Constant connectivity also means constant availability. The internet has made it possible for dispersed teams to collaborate across countries. IoT devices enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of communication and collaboration even more, as information and data is shared automatically between team members regardless of their location.

…increases efficiency thanks to Big Data

The automatic transmission of a vast amount of data – keyword: Big Data – makes things automatically measurable and analyzable. This increases the efficiency of processes as project managers can make decisions more quickly. The decisions will also be more accurate because they are based on empirical data. The biggest challenge of having so much data available is to keep that data secure from outside forces. Project managers need to pay close attention to internet and data security, otherwise they risk data leaks and the loss of trust from stakeholders.

…enhances the role of the project manager

Project managers will play a significant role in the implementation of the IoT. PMs understand the significance of data and accurate measurement. This makes them the perfect ‘champions’ for IoT, who can motivate and persuade the team to accept it. Project managers also already possess the skills to handle the challenges of integrating the IoT into existing systems, and to deal with the huge amount of data.

…changes PM software tools

The IoT will also change project management software tools. They will be more interconnected than ever, collecting more data and make that data available much quicker. Having a deeper understanding of the technical side of IoT will help project managers develop better IoT-ready products and increase the efficiency of processes.

…requires a new standard

Another challenge of having a lot of data at your disposal is that the data is not always interoperable. This means that there needs a new standard which makes the data from one organization comprehensible to another organization’s analytical tools. It is also important that organizations and project managers are flexible and willing to adopt new methods and IoT standards. 

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