If managing your business more efficiently was on your list of goals this year, project management, cloud-based software might be a solution. Especially in today’s work environment where companies have team members working from their homes. Whether you are managing just yourself, a small team, or a large team managing a project or a whole team can present many challenges from organizing a timeline to delegating responsibilities between co-workers.
This process can be made even more difficult if opting for a manual system. Often projects can be multi-faceted, with several moving parts at one given time. With project plans and specifications frequently changing, using a cloud-based system to manage projects might be a more effective solution. By preventing factors such as project delays, budget issues, and miscommunication, cloud-based systems present a very organized, automated way of managing projects.
Using mobile devices and cloud-based solutions allows for effective collaboration among project workers. They often allow access to project details from any device, which enables the visibility required to keep everyone organized, informed, and remaining productive.
When coordinating several team members on a specific project, ensuring that everyone is on the same page usually makes the process a lot smoother and cuts time wastage. By making use of online collaboration software, rather than spreadsheets upon spreadsheets, your entire team has convenient access to all project-related documents at any given time. As a result, everyone can ensure that they stay informed and have the relevant details needed to carry out assigned tasks.
“Effective communication is required between team members at every one of these stages. This type of communication goes beyond the sharing of project facts contained in manual or electronic project management documentation. It involves talking about issues, sharing ideas, challenging concepts, and more,” explains Veteran Entrepreneur, Kelly Barr.
Barr is a Project Manager Support Consultant, providing expert advice and guidance for successful project completion. Below are a few of his top tips for effective communication, which is essential when working in a team environment.
- Manage your expectations
“It is rare for a large project to go completely according-to-plan. Accept this in advance, communicate it to the team, and be prepared to make changes along the way. Keep in mind that changes become more difficult to make and will incur greater costs in the later stages,” shares Barr.
- Expecting surprises
“People rarely like surprises on a project, and an unidentified risk can be a ‘surprise.’ It is more than an unrealized expectation, and its impact can be costly,” Barr explains. “No project is 100 per cent risk-free. Proper consultation with everyone involved in the project will help in the creation of a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy. This makes it easier to deal with surprises.”
- Liaising with stakeholders
“If two or more people or groups are collaborating to achieve a common goal, an arbitrary decision or action by a single participant without the knowledge and approval of other stakeholders can bring a project to a sudden halt. Consultation before making changes is preferred. When this is not possible then ensure that stakeholders are informed as soon as possible. Of course, this assumes that all stakeholders were properly identified during the first two phases of the project,” notes Barr. He adds, “The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your project management system is, if communication breaks down, the project can fail.”
A project being successful is a result of efficient timelines, schedules, drafts, and approvals. There are often times within project completion, where tasks can build up and get lost in a manual organization process. Cloud-based collaboration tools allow users to set schedules and secure all required documentation in a centralized hub, ensuring that nothing gets lost or forgotten. Automated workflows enable project tasks to keep moving through to completion. Online systems also provide traceable records of each action and step towards completing a project to ensure everything is accounted for and on track.
With the many moving parts in coordinating a project, managing large numbers of documents and tasks can become an overwhelming prospect. Collaboration software often offer dashboards to allow project managers to see details at a glance. Tasks can be colour coordinated for visual ease and organized into subcategories as well as an order of priority, ensuring that everything remains open and visually illustrated for team members.
Cloud-based project management solutions are in the lead with keeping everything as organized as possible. A huge perk of using one to manage work projects is that monthly, weekly, and daily calendars are kept alongside each other to always keep goals within sight and reach. There are options to create checklists, mind maps, filter through admin, and coordinate with other project members.
Online Collaboration Systems
A few of the more popular online collaboration systems are listed below:
Flow – perfect for visual project managers, Flow provides a straightforward, easy to use, management software with features such as task tracking, resource management, and team collaboration. the program offers a starter edition for $5.95/month or the Pro package for $11.95/month (in 2020).
Monday – an online collaborative space that offers pre-made templates for ease of use, trackable tasks, the option to mark locations, and add links. Monday is an intuitive platform that works well in conjunction with popular software such as Microsoft Excel, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Monday offers a free basic plan with limited access, a Standard Plan for $67/month, a Pro Plan for $108/month, and an Enterprise Plan, which is calculated upon project assessment (in 2020).
Trello – another platform for visually minded project managers, Trello offers a colourful, drag-and-drop based system to organize running tasks. Cards can be created and assigned to team members, with coordinating schedules and checklists to ensure transparent communication. This program offers a free basic plan with unlimited personal boards and cards, with the option to power-up to a Business Class Plan starting at $9.99/user/month and an Enterprise Plan starting at $20.83/user/month (for a minimum of 100 users) (in 2020).