How two collaboration tools solved
major project challenges.
By Felix Meyer, PMP
ALTHOUGH COLLABORATION TOOLS alone
don’t guarantee successful projects, I have effectively addressed some of my larger project challenges by using two specific tools: a social network
tool and a hosted collaborative project management solution.
A recent project to redesign an internal controls
solution was extremely challenging from a communications perspective. There were more than
2,500 users in a variety of divisions and locations
whom I would email periodically with precise
timelines and instructions. Through informal sessions with users, I found out that many people did
not read the emails. Even fewer asked questions
about things they did not understand.
Clearly, my messages were getting lost in the
slew of other emails being received in the course
of daily work.
I turned the situation around by implementing a
project-specific collaboration group in Yammer, a
social networking tool our company uses. I immediately noticed a higher level of attention to my
messages for three reasons:
1. Concentration of information. Users did not
have to search for emails relating to my subject.
Instead, when they had a moment, they could
easily browse posts for the pertinent information.
To direct users to this page, I would stress during
calls and training sessions that they should check
the collaboration page as a one-stop shop for any
new posts, training material, links to videos and
2. Ease of search. Information could be found
quickly because it was hashtagged. Though this
required me to earmark certain posts, it created a
structured approach to finding specific information.
3. Information sharing. Not only could I follow
VOICES In the Trenches
Sriram Rajagopalan, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMP,
is vice president of the program management office
(PMO) at Physicians Interactive, Reading, Massachu-
setts, USA and founder of Agile Training Champions.
for the new finish date. Simultaneously, the project
manager can reassign resources earlier during the
delay period to other projects, with requests for
them to return when tasks are coming out of the
delay cycle. Neither fast-tracking nor crashing is
required—just proactive planning to minimize the
impact of resource changes.
For the project management office (PMO),
the benefits are even greater. By computing the
percentage of slip with the delays over the project
duration, we can figure out how much the delay
impacted the project. For example, imagine the
baseline finish date originally was on 15 May 2015,
with a project duration of 60 days. The actual
finish was 2 June 2015, including a five-day regulatory review associated with the Delay pseudo
resource. The schedule slipped by 11 business
days. The cost of delay to the project is 18 percent
(11/60). On the other hand, by using this approach
factoring in the five-day delay, the schedule
slipped by six days ( 11-5), and the cost of delay is
only 10 percent (6/60).
In other words, Cost of Delay (%) = (Actual Finish – Baseline Finish – Delay Duration) / (Total
LOOK FOR PATTERNS
By seeing patterns—whether delays arise from
a particular type of project or from regulatory
reviews, specific project managers or team members—the PMO can hold early lessons-learned
sessions. In addition, the report can be used to see
how many projects are slipping, giving indications
on inefficient resource management practices,
ambiguous tasks and roles creating unnecessary
productivity loss, and opportunities for process
enhancements. Using integrated change control,
the impact of these delay costs can be identified and
mitigated by proper risk management discipline. PM
Continued from previous page
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