Felix Meyer, PMP, is a project manager and
assistant vice president at ABB Information
Systems, Zurich, Switzerland.
up easily with the entire community when users
had questions, but I even saw that the community
was contributing answers, providing tips and sharing best practices that peers could benefit from.
Although I did have to put in a bit of extra effort
to onboard the users and review the consistency of
the posts, the payoff was worth it: Users got a clear
message about the project without any additional
effort on their part.
AN EASIER WAY
During my last project, the upgrade of a global
treasury management solution, I realized the time I
spent chasing project team members to provide me
status updates on issues and work packages was
distracting me from managing other parts of the
project. In addition, I saw that granting access to
my project sheets to people outside our organization so they could update them imposed a burden
on my information systems department.
Turning to a hosted collaborative project management solution (over 150 listed are on Wikipe-dia), I quickly gained the following benefits with
1. Content restriction: My new tool enabled me
to assign permission to update documents at the
issue, task or even field level. Additionally, when
users modified content, the tool would email me
about the records that had been modified.
2. Resource empowerment: By assigning the
ownership of issues and work packages to the
project team and configuring a weekly reminder
process that reminded owners to update their
status (access to the solution was from any web
or mobile device), I no longer had to chase users
down. Instead, users became empowered to deliver
status updates and comments without much additional effort.
3. Status summary reports: The collaboration
tool would automatically send senior stakeholders
a weekly project update. Not only did this save me
time, it also brought my stakeholders closer to the
ongoing status of the project.
Clearly, to achieve these benefits, minimal
configuration was required (setting permissions,
configuring emails, establishing frequency of
reminders, configuring reports). But by pushing
some of the work to its source, I could spend more
time analyzing the results and trying to manage
the issues in the project.
As all projects have unique challenges, finding the right collaboration tools to assist you can
require a time investment and luck. However, once
an appropriate tool is found, it won’t be hard to
see the benefit that technology will bring to you
and your stakeholders. PM
did have to
put in a bit of
the users and
of the posts,
the payoff was
worth it: Users
got a clear
on their part.