Along with so much else in the modern business environment, project management is moving to the cloud. Project managers are adjusting to online project management, using software to manage projects, and remote teams. With global teams and the relentless progress of modern projects, it is imperative for organizations to utilize online project management solutions, and the approaches built for such tools. With all change, there is good and bad. Here’s the lowdown.
Online project management creates a virtual office space. Communication, information sharing, task management – it’s all in the cloud now, and that lets a project manager manage the project around the clock. Communication can be centered around the project, and everyone working is in the same “place” even if located thousands of miles apart.
Online project management tools give project managers a suite of tools that can be very helpful. Reports, dashboards, analytics – the data generated, available at the click of a mouse, gives a project manager an immediate window into actionable data. Automation tools break up the workload on the project manager, allowing him/her to invest their time and efforts in more important places.
Managing a project online also allows for increased communication with the client and other stakeholders. All parties can interface in the virtual office space created by the online project management tool, and this increased communication is imperative in tackling delays, change requests, and keeping the client happy.
There are challenges that arise from moving to online project management. The first, and foremost, is communication. Face to face communication is crucial for project management, and the move to online tools can often replace face time with FaceTime. This is an issue for a good project manager to monitor. In person communication is higher quality than other forms of interaction. Body language, facial expressions, tones of voice – you don’t see or hear these in words on a screen. And they’re important! Create face to face meetings as often as possible.
Another challenge is team cohesion and spirit. Managing the team dynamic across the project is difficult enough – doing it while people are strewn about in different locations and not interacting with each other is even more so. Just like in sports, how the team works together is a key component of success. Teamwork means team cohesion, and getting everyone on board online is a challenge for the project manager to overcome.
If you’re moving to online project management, you want to find the tool that accentuates the good and minimizes the bad. Each available solution comes with its own features that separate it from the pack – you need to choose the project management tool that’s right for you.
Some are geared to task management, some are traditional Gantt charts, yet others are powerful blueprints for projects. Choose the one that gives you the help of an online project management tool, and mitigates the challenges that come from the move.