Implementation: Online project management challenge

Project success depends on the turnaround time and efficiency of tasks circulating between managers and executors. Whether or not you, as a manager, communicate effectively with your team and get timely feedback will affect your ability to meet deadlines. The task becomes even more complicated when you have to deal with remote teams, clients or stakeholders. You will need to use project management and process execution tools that are crucial to define and track tasks, note task dependencies, and identify the mission-critical chain of events also called workflows and processes.
Cloud-based online project execution management facilitates collaborative work, and it gives the entire project team access to real-time data and a set of standardized project tools. This decentralized way of management, when each team player has access to keeping the software updated, doesn’t only bring visibility to the project. Project management tools usage has motivational effect – it gives your team the sensation of being recognized as knowledge workers.
At the same time, people are naturally anxious when they are told they will have to use a new tool.You cannot start using a collaborative tool without having your team understand what they need it for, and it’s better to introduce it to them in a way that they like it. Here is a short list of things you should consider, as a CIO, CTO or a project manager, before you move your project to a new collaborative tool.
1. Review your project methodology
A new process execution or project management tool won’t do work for you, it will only help.Neither will it become a remedy to a poor project management methodology. When you start using an online project tool, you will have to fill it with data on your projects, tasks, activities and workflows. It’s only possible when you understand their hierarchy and dependencies.

2. Have a meeting with your team, discuss what you need

You can discuss the necessity of a new tool implementation, gather your team players’ expectation upon the functionality that would facilitate their work, present your ideas and your vision. This communicative aspect is important if you want to motivate people with the new order of states rather than demoralizing them. They will need to commit effort later to learn how to use the tool,make sure they see that it will help them in their further activity.

3. Try the solution on a small project part

First see how the solution will do with a small team and a restricted part of your project. This way you will be able to estimate if the solution’s functionality meets your requirements. Later, when you already have positive experience with project planning, activities tracking and reporting, the pilot team players will become trainers for the rest of your team. This strategy will enable you to avoid the transition pain when all of your team has to give up normal way of working for some time before they learn how to use the new tool, and then your main working activity stalls.

4. Manager function will change but won’t become unnecessary

Using online collaboration software removes challenges to your team, such as lack of communication, visibility, email overflow, task overwhelm. At the same time it brings new challenges to you as a manager. First, you need to check if the tasks marked as ‘completed’ are indeed completed. Second, as social networking features stimulate communication, there might be abuses in the online communication, like in any other kind of communication. Make sure it doesn’t happen. Third, don’t give up direct interaction, especially on critical parts of the project.

5. Examine your vendor

You don’t need a vendor who will sell you the soft and then let you go. Make sure you will have access to comprehensive support, don’t forget to test the support services during the trial period of the solution you choose. You will need updates and maintenance, so choose the vendor who will take care of you after you make your purchase.
Author : Anastasia Chumakova

Anastasia writes about business process execution management solutions and online collaboration tools. She specializes in process management and workflow automation techniques.