A major transformation is taking place in how organizations use project management software.
Instead of being the sole province of the project managers, the rise of online project management applications heralds a new era of collaboration across the enterprise.
The challenge, of course, is getting the organization to embrace online project management in the first place, so here are some tips to get you started.
Click through for 10 online project management mistakes you should avoid, provided by LiquidPlanner.
Instead, clean house (project-wise and process-wise) during implementation. Get rid of old or unnecessary project data. Delete superfluous steps from project templates. Audit, then put in place best-processes — now is the time to make a change if change is needed!
Instead, make sure there’s no “blank page” problem during team intros. In other words, people should see project data that they relate to when they first log in. It sets them up to be able to visualize using the tool every day for their own work, and to ask the most important questions about features they need or want.
Instead, to help team members get the most out of any new tool, nominate a “tool guru” who is tasked with learning the ins and outs of the system. Then “how-to?”questions can be answered internally, speeding up the learning curve for the rest of the team. Encourage trial-and-error learning. Let people click around and see what the tool can do. If they hit a roadblock, they can ping the tool guru, or browse the support section. Be proactive. For example, don’t wait until everyone has free time to attend a training session before giving them access – it will only slow down adoption.
Instead, take this opportunity to define up front who has permission to perform different actions in the tool. Audit old (or create new) processes to answer questions such as: Who will add/create new projects and tasks? Who will prioritize within the greater plan? Also, consider having weekly meetings to go over priorities. Use a projector for large meetings to facilitate discussions and dialogue through the tool.
Instead, promote values of openness, transparency, communication, and most important of all, ownership. If a project team is the “family,” then the project software is “home.” Healthy families communicate, share the same dinner table, pick up after themselves, and leave generous numbers of post-it notes for each other. The same holds true for project teams. The more they collaborate, update, and respect each other’s priorities, the more effective and efficient they, and their managers, become.
Instead, accept that offline process for resource management and allocation must still take place. At its core, project management is a social problem, not a technical one. In a team with shared resources, the tool can’t make those critical decisions. However, a great project management tool can facilitate discussions and more informed decisions about priorities and work assignments.
Instead, leverage the full feature-set (at no extra cost!) to eliminate (or reduce) the need to spend time in other tools. For example, if the new project management tool includes a micro-blogging feature, try to encourage team members to use that in lieu of e-mail. Or, get rid of that old time tracking system and use the one that comes with the new project management software. Ditto for document sharing, wikis, bug trackers, client extranets and more. Besides cutting costs, it will keep team members engaged in the tool, ensuring the most accurate project information at any given time.
Instead, think of the rollout as an “Agile implementation” that gets better over time. This is especially true if moving from a more lightweight tool like Basecamp or Excel to a purpose-built project management application such as LiquidPlanner. Experiment with structure and process, and then identify areas for optimization.
Instead, display project software on a projector in meetings so everyone’s on the same page. Not only does it reinforce the idea that the newly created, “shared workspace” is the central place to go for project information, it allows updates and decisions to be made in real time.
Instead, hold each person accountable for making frequent updates to their tasks. Let’s face it – businesses move forward only when projects get done. Think the CIO will accept having out of date financial information? Not gonna happen. Team productivity is directly proportionate to revenue opportunities. Make sure everyone understands that having reliable project data is critical to running the business. At the same time, offer support and guidance on the fastest and easiest way to make updates.