VIE WPOIN TS
WHAT’S AT STAKE
GIVE ’EM WHAT
Moving to an on-demand model can help solve the great data deluge.
BY LYNDA BOURNE, DPM, PMP
At a time when everyone in business is bur- ied under an information avalanche, adding routine reports to the data mountain may no longer be useful.
Project reports originated in the days of typewriters and
carbon paper. And while today’s process usually involves
PDF files and email, the fundamental information structure hasn’t changed. Project managers are still creating a
lot of reports—many of which are
outdated by the time they reach
Maybe it’s time for a new
approach. After all, most of us
expect instant access to our bank
account details; why should project information be any different?
Intranets and cloud computing
have made real-time, on-demand
information a reality. By linking
various project information sources
to a shared data environment with
a simple-to-use dashboard, you
can save some time—and do your
part to lessen the information overload.
Of course, to maximize value, you need to keep project
information current. That means:
n Issues should be opened, escalated and closed as their
n Weekly schedule updates need to be regularly processed,
checked and uploaded to the project portal.
n Monthly cost data must be imported and reconciled.
n An audit trail of updates and changes should be
maintained so everyone can see what information has
changed and when.
In addition, you’ll need to train your team members
and contractors to update their information and read
other relevant data.
A well-designed project information system should also
include alerts for individuals at all levels when a defined
event or condition occurs. For example, team members
could be notified if a change has been made to the docu-
ments they’re using.
From Push to Pull
Moving project information to an on-demand environment for all stakeholders does require work in the initial
setup and training, as well as in ongoing maintenance.
Done well, though, it can provide enormous benefits.
The primary advantage for proj-
ect managers is the time saved by
not having to compile monthly
reports using old information.
Other benefits include:
n Less unwanted data flooding
n Greater visibility and account-
n Increased ability to identify and
resolve problems sooner
Plus, shifting the bulk of the
project information into a “pull”
environment opens up your orga-
nization’s communication band-
width for effective “push” communication. Important
messages can now be sent to stakeholders when necessary,
either as stand-alone communiqués or by linking to key
information in the project portal. Clearer communication
channels mean the message is more likely to be noticed
and acted upon.
That just leaves one question: With effective real-time
communication, what’s everyone going to do in those
boring monthly meetings? Perhaps we can save even more
time for useful work! PM
Lynda Bourne, DPM, PMP, is the manag-
ing director of Stakeholder Management pty
Ltd. and director of training at Mosaic Proj-
ect Services pty Ltd., both in Australia. Dr.
Bourne graduated from RMIT as the first
professional doctor of project management.