How Can a Collaboration Platform Help You Manage a Dispersed Project Team?

Project Management Keyboard

Today’s busi­ness is incre­asingly globa­lised, with compa­nies opera­ting out of multiple offices in diffe­rent cities or even count­ries. Remote working has also grown in recent years thanks to the preva­lence of mobile devices and the rise of the cloud enab­ling employees to work as effec­tively away from the office as they can at the office. This kind of work is well suited to indi­vi­dual employees, but could pose problems for teams that need to work closely toge­ther on a project. Project mana­gers need to have over­sight of their team at all times and be able to commu­ni­cate freely with their colle­agues; some­thing that might be made diffi­cult by a globally dispersed team.
So what can enter­prise cloud colla­bo­ra­tion tools do to help?

1. Facilitate communication between team members

It’s vital that your entire team knows what’s going on during all phases of the project, and have the ability to check in and ask ques­tions at any time. Colla­bo­ra­tion plat­forms allow team members to commu­ni­cate with one another without needing to be in the same room or even the same network. Secure commu­ni­ca­tion can come in the form of blog posts, micro­blog posts or comm­ents, private messages, or even online meetings and screen sharing.Microblog

An example of a blog post on a secure colla­bo­ra­tion platform

Using these diffe­rent modes of commu­ni­ca­tion can enrich a project and mean that team members don’t simply get lost in the flow of email. By choo­sing the right tool for commu­ni­ca­ting a message, it is more likely to be received and engaged with, and this works for both remote and local project team members.

For instance, if you write blog posts announ­cing project news or updates, your team can respond in the comm­ents below. Or you could post a in a micro­blog or a topic to stimu­late discus­sions or ideas about the project in the comm­ents. Anyone can join the discus­sion, no matter whether they’re sitting in the office or respon­ding from their tablet on the train.

Simi­larly, by using online meeting and screen sharing tools you can hold effec­tive meetings with the entire project team without having all the members in the same room.

2. Get your team working collaboratively

There’s a reason you have a project team: diffe­rent people have diffe­rent skills that all need to work toge­ther to get the project completed. Teams need the ability to work toge­ther, and when a team isn’t all in the same place this can make it a bit tricky. But with colla­bo­ra­tion soft­ware, teams can work toge­ther secu­rely online just as easily as if they were in the same room.

Using file sharing capa­bi­li­ties of cloud colla­bo­ra­tion soft­ware, team members can exch­ange files secu­rely with colle­agues without having to use email, and social tools allow team members to co-edit and work colla­bo­ra­tively on docu­ments in wikis without worrying about dupli­cate docu­ments or not knowing which version is the most up to date.

Team members can work toge­ther simul­ta­neously using online meeting tools, with the ability to show their progress using screen sharing, and project mana­gers can give updates to team members and entire teams can brain­storm ideas toge­ther and give updates as a group.

Any infor­ma­tion rele­vant to the project can be stored and held in the form of blog posts. Using tags, it is easy to sort and search for the right infor­ma­tion when you or your team needs it. You can attach files, docu­ments, audio and video to blog posts, as well as inser­ting links to other pieces of content within the colla­bo­ra­tion site. It is easy to keep all rele­vant files toge­ther for your team to easily share and access no matter where they are.

3. Make project management easier

It can be chal­len­ging to keep track of the progress of a complex project even if your entire team is in one place, and far more issues can arise when teams are dispersed. Many cloud colla­bo­ra­tion plat­forms have in-built project manage­ment tools to help with this, like tasks for allo­ca­ting work out to team members, and events for setting project mile­stones and coor­di­na­ting team members and external parties.Task Functionality

Tasks func­tion­a­lity in enter­prise colla­bo­ra­tion software

Tasks and events can be assi­gned to indi­vi­dual team members and all of your team will be able to see the major project mile­stones and the actions that are rele­vant to them in their own perso­na­lised dash­board. This means that you can stay certain that your team members are aware of the progress of the project and what they need to do, no matter where they are.

Another benefit of using colla­bo­ra­tion soft­ware for project manage­ment is that if anyone requires changes during the course of the project, ask them to submit the changes as blog posts, or comment on a blog post. This will help you centra­lise all of your requests for change and keep track of them in one place. You can post your responses and actions related to the requests. This enables trans­pa­rency which means that all team members are able to see and approve changes, or contri­bute sugges­tions off the back of them.

4. Keep a record of the entire project

It can be diffi­cult to keep track of what has happened in each stage of the project, and espe­ci­ally so when you don’t have your team nearby to fill you in. But when ever­y­thing is done within the colla­bo­ra­tion plat­form, it stays there, which means that ever­y­thing can be referred back to later and a record is kept of every commu­ni­ca­tion and decision made. You can even refer to notes from previous projects for guidance, and can easily create a project report when the project is complete.

Main­tai­ning regular progress reports allow you to keep a linear record of each stage of the project. If anything goes wrong, it is easy to refer to progress report blog posts and iden­tify where the issue started. This also allows you to keep an eye out for any patterns that may repeat them­selves, so that in the future you might be able to spot a problem before it happens.

Your entire team will have access to this same infor­ma­tion too, so even if a team member is located in a diffe­rent office they will be able to find the guidance notes from a previous project to help them to solve a problem they’re facing, without having to send an email or get on the phone to you.

In Summary

There are plenty of bene­fits to using colla­bo­ra­tive tools in order to run a project with a remote team; in fact there is no real need for a team to be located in the same office or even the same time-zone any more. The same colla­bo­ra­tion tools that help remote project teams stay connected with one another are also helpful to making the project run more easily in general and can greatly improve effi­ci­ency and success of projects. Why not give cloud colla­bo­ra­tion soft­ware a go on your next project?

About Susanna James:

Susanna James­MAR­KE­TING EXECUTIVE
HIGHQ

Susanna is Copy­writer and Marke­ting Execu­tive at HighQ, a leading provider of secure enter­prise colla­bo­ra­tion and file sharing soft­ware. She specia­lises in social busi­ness and content marke­ting. Her exper­tise lies in helping compa­nies stream­line the way they work and impro­ving how they colla­bo­rate through enter­prise tech­no­lo­gies and social tools. You can find her on Twitter at @susannaja.

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