Re-thinking IT Project Management with Blockchain
Table of Contents
- What Is Blockchain?
- How Does Blockchain Improve IT Project Management?
- How Could Blockchain Improve Cloud Infrastructure Projects?
- How Does Blockchain Impact Team Efficiency?
- Are You Ready for Blockchain in Your IT Project?
Ever since the release of Bitcoin in 2009, it seems like there’s been a lot of hype around blockchain. But what is this technology, and how can it be applied to managing IT projects?
In this article, we’ll explore some information behind blockchain, as well as its potential use cases and implications for IT project management.
What Is Blockchain?
Some people say blockchain will create a new world order. Blockchain has the potential to solve many of the existing global issues and will, in some sense, act as a “new internet”. This trend has been highlighted on many developer conference and panel discussions.
The technology enables an efficient and transparent way of storing records. It can be used to store any type of information in public without being corrupted, without the need for third-parties, or government interference.
Blockchain is a core concept in IT that can be thought of as an immutable and unalterable decentralized storage of information (data). It was first introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto as “a peer to peer distributed electronic cash system”, which may sound familiar to anyone who has tried to get paid by PayPal. Nakamoto outlined the concept of blockchain in the original Bitcoin white paper. However, the technology extends beyond just digital assets and cryptocurrency.
The blockchain is often compared to a ledger or database, in which each database entry can be viewed and re-used by anyone on the chain. Each entry is secured into place using cryptography, and new data entries are added onto the end of the chain in chronological order. This means that there’s no need for a central authority to validate or edit information on the chain, making it ideal for secure financial transactions and time-sensitive software system architecture designs.
Smart contracts are the future of blockchain in enterprise project management. This trend has been discussed on man developer Conference The technology was first introduced with Ethereum, popularly referred to as “ERC20” where you can create your own cryptocurrency or digital token based on Ethereum (Investopedia).
You can think of smart contracts as programmable contracts that are common in IT and software development. However, by using blockchain, smart contracts can be made totally anonymous (like Bitcoin transactions).
In short, smart contracts allow a contract to be designed, executed and enforced upon agreement between two or more parties. Smart contracts are usually written in a programming language and are self-executing, allowing all terms and conditions to be coded into the smart contract.
Imagine you have created a smart contract that allows your company to perform, say, an insurance payment if your customer’s house catches fire or the delivery truck is damaged.
As our society becomes more digitalized and interconnected, new innovative projects become part of a live-global event that needs to be managed much like any other business project in the IT industry.
The Metaverse is an answer to the pain points of our current system. It is a combination of blockchain technology and virtual reality (VR). The system will allow for intellectual property to be embedded in 3D objects, meaning companies can store their product designs in VR and then use the blockchain to verify that they are unique and have not been copied.
By using VR, the Metaverse allows organizations to perform tasks in a collaborative way that would be impossible with traditional methods. Businesses will also be able to integrate their own AI solutions into the application to create a hybrid intelligent system.
The Metaverse is one of the most advanced blockchain projects in development and it has been adopted by multiple business organizations such as Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Bosch, and more.
So, that’s the theory out of the way, but how does blockchain actually apply to IT project management practices?
How Does Blockchain Improve IT Project Management?
Blockchain has a number of applications beyond just financial transactions. Here are some ways in which it could be applied to improve project management within the IT domain:
1. Tracking Project Time and Costs
One of the most obvious use cases for blockchain is to track the time and costs involved in an IT project.
This can be done by recording statistics on an immutable ledger. The database maintains a transparent record of the resources and payments used during a project, which means third-parties can check it at any time. The information is also secured within the blockchain, making it less susceptible to fraud or theft.
2. Improved Security
Blockchain not only tracks the progress of an IT project, but it also ensures the security of this information.
As mentioned earlier, blockchain is essentially a secure database that is resistant to external interference. For IoT and cybersecurity projects in particular, this could be useful for preventing unauthorized access or illegal tampering with software code. It’s also worth considering how blockchain could be used as a form of digital identity verification to ensure secure access to sensitive data and networks.
As we’ll discuss in a bit more detail later on, this capability can be useful even when you’re managing cloud-based IT infrastructure projects.
3. Improved Documentation
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, adding documentation to an IT software project can be complex and time-consuming.
Blockchain offers a quick, efficient and secure way to store all project documentation within the same system, which means that you can share your team’s progress and decisions with others. This capability also allows for easily sharing information about critical tasks or issues between the needs of different stakeholders.
4. Efficient Payments
Another way in which blockchain could improve IT project management is via trusted payments.
As previously mentioned, blockchain allows for secure and transparent transactions. This means that you can create a system where payments are automatically disbursed upon certain tasks getting completed. It’s similar to existing methods of accepting invoices, but without the need for third-parties.
5. Collaborative Project Management
Blockchain could also be used to support collaborative project management in IT and software development teams.
This means that all relevant stakeholders can access the same information at any time. Without the need for third-parties, this means that the flow of information is less likely to be disrupted, which should improve the efficiency of your processes and reduce waste.
All these mentioned benefits of blockchain for IT project management may sound a little overwhelming. But the important thing to remember is that blockchain is still in its early stages. Many of these ideas are still just a theory, and much more research and development needs to take place before this technology become deployable in real-life IT projects.
How Could Blockchain Improve Cloud Infrastructure Projects?
As we’ve discussed, blockchain can improve a number of functions in the IT sector. Besides, it can be useful for creating secure cloud infrastructures. There are some ways that this could happen:
- Improved Access: blockchain allows for permitted access to data and infrastructure components. This means that only certain stakeholders can see certain information or components. This could prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and improve network security overall.
- Improved Disbursal: blockchain can also be used to manage the disbursement of payments and royalties in different software and IT systems. This could be useful in tracking and managing transactions , or else you could use it to determine how much income and rewards a project stakeholder is eligible to receive. You could use this on a contractual basis to keep records of all the information you have stored on an immutable ledger.
- Efficient Network Management: as we’ve discussed, blockchain technology enables better security and transparency, which can be useful in areas like cloud network management. You can use blockchain to create secure networks between your cloud platform and other components, which should help you keep your data secure and protected from unwanted outside interference. Or, you could use blockchain to track your cloud servers or virtual machines to keep on top of their exact load and location.
How Does Blockchain Impact Team Efficiency?
There are some additional ways in which blockchain can be applied to enhance the efficiency of your IT project team:
- Improved Transparency: procedural documents such as business cases, scope documents and project management plans could be stored on an immutable blockchain ledger. This means that you and your team have a record of all the important components and steps of your IT project.
- Improved Timeliness: as we’ve discussed before, blockchain is decentralized so there is no need for cumbersome and time-consuming procedures to be conducted. This could be useful for businesses looking to create a project schedule and budget in a timely manner.
- Reduced Disputes: in some cases, you may experience disagreements between stakeholders. This is common during the early stages of a project when people haven’t yet worked together as a team. Blockchain could prevent disputes by ensuring that everyone has access to all relevant information at any given time.
Are You Ready for Blockchain in Your IT Project?
As you can see, blockchain technology has a lot of potential for improving information technology project management.
If your business is looking to create a more secure and efficient IT infrastructure, then it might be worth looking into blockchain technologies. However, we should reiterate that the industry is still in its early stages and many of these ideas are untested.
It’s important to note that a number of issues could also arise if you included blockchain in your IT project. For example, some stakeholders may not want their information stored on an immutable ledger where anyone can access it.
Make sure you research any potential projects involving this technology and understand its potential before actually implementing it in your IT project environment.