So what could blockchain do for project management documents? In any project management portfolio, the documents and signatures that confirm and approve parts of the process are vital. Back in 1990, the PDF file format was created by Adobe Systems to share richly formatted documents whose visual layout, text and graphics would look the same, no matter which software created them or where they were viewed or printed. By 2008 PDF specification had become an international standard.
“The PDF specification contains the concept of an ID-tuple,” or an immutable sequence of data, says Joris Schellekens a software engineer and PDF expert at iText Software in Ghent, Belgium. “This ID tuple contains timestamps for when the file was created and when it was revised. However, the PDF spec is vague about how to implement these when creating the PDF.” And as technology had developed and depending on the hashing algorithm used, it’s not so difficult to subvert PDF protections. A date/time stamp can be changed even the document content can be altered, says Schellekens.
So the PO looks legitimate, yet does it have all the proper approvals? Many lawyers reviewed this draft contract but is it the latest version? Can we prove that this essential document hasn’t been tampered with? How do we prove two versions of a document are absolutely identical?
Blockchain might be able to help solve these kinds of every day trust issues related to documents, especially when they are PDFs. Blockchain technology is best known for securing financial transactions. But blockchain’s ability to increase trust will probably also be used in common, non-financial information exchanges.
Schellekens recently presented his ideas for blockchain-supported documents at Oracle Code Los Angeles. “How trustworthy is blockchain?” asks Schellekens. “That’s one of the beautiful things about blockchain: You can prove, from a mathematical perspective, how hard it is for someone to decrypt your cryptographic keys or generate a hash that matches your PDF exactly.” So with blockchain supported documents your Project Management would be secure.