Revolutionizing Project Management Using Blockchain

Pratibha Bale, Project - Group Head, Isobar IndiaIsobar India is a global agency that delivers digital transformation, powered by creativity. The organization aims to solve complex business challenges through digital marketing, ecosystems and products, driving digital strength and brand loyalty.

Initially, when Bitcoin came into the picture, it was certain that it uses Blockchain technology to achieve its purpose. From the viewpoint of Bitcoin's functionality, it was clear that Blockchain technology could be used in real-time to track transactions like sending funds, processing payments, sharing information, reports and much more.

On a broader level, Blockchain technology lays the foundation of trust and creates an environment that is transparent and tamper-proof. If this concept can work for the cryptocurrency ecosystem- where transactions are publicly recorded so everyone using that network can see the transaction in the ledger, then its applications in project management processes could be endless.

Blockchain is the decentralized system and hence it is suitable solution for day-to-day project management methods. Blockchain technology will enable the project team to create a system that is immutable, untouchable, robust, secure, and less prone to manipulations and data loss. Project Managers can easily control and manage project progress. Since all the stakeholders are connected via Blockchain, there is no chance of bluffing at any level. This ensures the accountability of the team members belonging to the respective brand/project. In addition to this, it seamlessly enhances team collaboration.

For example, if the strategy team has finalized the concept and locked it in the system, it is the delivery team's responsibility to commence the execution process. The delivery team cannot afford delays, as it will be held responsible for further course of action.

Key Benefits
Tasks are updated on a real-time basis which results in time-saving, cost-effectiveness and risk reduction. Hence, Blockchain is the need of the hour when it comes to implementing and practising Project Management.

Tracking individual tasks and collaborating with various stakeholders is a complex process. In Blockchain technology, each node will be distributed in a network to carry out the project tasks. The purpose of the node is to host the project data which cannot be altered by another node. Hence, the entire project team will be referring to a single source of data. This means you can trust the information updated in a network for day-to-day tasks and manage the project efficiently.
As correctly mentioned in an article on HBR, `While managing the project the problems arise in gathering, collaborating and monitoring tasks. To tackle these problems, project management professionals can use Blockchain technology where transactions will be recorded in a permanent decentralized format and various stakeholders can monitor all the tasks securely. This indeed will help the team members monitor and control the consequences, helping you witness the completion of a successful project.'

Blockchain Application in Project Management
As project management is a complex process of collaborating all stakeholders and managing various tasks to control budget, time and maximize performance and profits, one can think of using Smart Contract as a means to manage complex projects.

Blockchain technology will enable the project team to create a system that is immutable, untouchable, robust, secure, and less prone to manipulations

Smart Contract is a script that runs at the top of a Blockchain. It verifies the condition in a contract that is needed for its fulfilment. It eliminates human intervention by self-executing the contract when the agreed terms and conditions are met.

As Blockchain is a decentralized system, Smart Contract is permanently embedded into Blockchain and any outside manipulation will be noticed and traced immediately. Any manipulation to the data would require immense computing power and could incur monumental financial losses. Moreover, Smart Contracts are written as a single, secure node and don't have any risks, cost and trust issues as compared to traditional centralized authority models.

Blockchain technology and smart contracts can be used for:
• The bug tracking process:
Identify the bugs and corrections to be achieved in the tool and embed the process to track the objectives. Once all bugs are corrected and the objective is achieved, the issue will be closed automatically.

• Sprint progression:
Set the objective to be achieved in the individual sprint. If all the tasks are accomplished in the current sprint, then automatically notify the stakeholders and set the objective for the next sprint.

• Automatic invoice processing:
If the deliverables are met as agreed in the contract then automatically process the invoice. In the centralized process, it takes months for invoices to be approved and funds to be processed. But with Smart Contracts, approvals and payment processing can be done quickly.

Let us take a look at some of the pros and cons:
• A better way to track project progress, which helps project team members to be on the same page and take appropriate action.

• Doesn't have a central authority and hence can be saved from manual intervention to project data.

• More secured as each record is added permanently and any amendments made are recorded which means the lower possibility of malicious activity.

• Blockchain technology is still in its early stages of exploration and developers are still venturing out new techniques that can be used in day-to-day operations.

• Blockchain-based projects require lots of energy to run the projects. Since each request that comes through the node has to be verified individually, this type of growth becomes unsustainable in the long run.

• Blockchain transactions tend to be slower as compared to traditional centralized databases.

• Computation logic used in Blockchain to verify the request is highly complex and is one of the major challenges to crack the logic while encrypting and decrypting the message.