Posted by Elizabeth Harrin
Your project team doesn’t collaborate, the business users don’t know what’s going on and the project is still being reported as ‘green’ with no issues. If this situation sounds familiar then you really need to get a grip on team collaboration as soon as you can, as that lovely ‘green’ status won’t last for very long!
Here are 3 ways to improve team collaboration on your project.
1. Integrate, integrate, integrate
Don’t expect your team to go to lots of different places for their project information. Choose a planning solution like Seavus Project Viewer v10 which integrates with Google Drive and SkyDrive. It also has the ability to import and export from Microsoft Sharepoint and all of this means that it’s possible for your team members to have one central system from which they access all or the majority of their project information.
This will avoid them having to log in to email for some documents, a shared network drive for others, then accessing an online site for more data. Having it all accessible through one central interface ensures that the team saves time and that they are encouraged to work together.
2. Make it easy
Online access to project management software and documentation is the easiest way to get the team to work together, because it negates the need to have to send documents via email. If you do choose to send documents by email then be aware that you run the risk of having lots of versions of the same documents hanging around. Team members could potentially work on versions of the documents that are out of date, and this will result in rework being required, or requirements not being met accurately. Not to mention the confusion that arises when people are looking at different versions of the project schedule!
Make it easy for your team to collaborate by ensuring they all see the same version of the project information and that they can easily get the information they need to do their jobs through an intuitive interface. The less training they need in order to get started, the better! This also makes it easier to bring new people on to the team, as you won’t have to spend much time training them in how to use any project management software or tools.
3. Make it secure
One of the big hurdles with collaboration, especially online, is that senior managers often express concerns about how safe the project data is. You want to be sure that anything shared by the team in a collaborative environment is safe and stored securely. This could mean that you use passwords to get access to the files or the environment, and should also mean that each team member and project manager has their own log in. This will enable you to track who has logged in when and what they did – while you probably won’t ever need this kind of audit trail it can be helpful, especially if a disgruntled employee makes some significant changes just before leaving the company!
Ensuring that your project environment is secure will make both project stakeholders and team members more confident in using the collaboration tools and in accessing shared information via project software online, so you should collaboration improve as take up of these solutions improves.
There are lots of ways to improve collaboration on project teams. These are some of my ideas – what have you tried in the past? Let us know in the comments.
Tags: Collaboration, online, project management, software