Spin Up A Project Workspace And Become A Team Heroon 6 December 2017
Projects are a complex mix of people, resources and information, which include meetings, milestones, actions, tasks, timescales, priorities, deliverables and resource availability. To succeed you must attend meetings, stay on top of the groups’ discussions, store your project documents and manage all actions/milestones to ensure you deliver on time and on budget. There's a simple way to do all of this...
Managing project information in a way that ensures everyone has access to the most current content can be quite a challenge. Some team members create their own folders, where they store slightly different versions of files to other members. If you’ve ever been involved in a project where you’ve not been certain that you’re looking at the latest documents, you’ll know just how frustrating this can be. Especially if you’ve painstakingly made changes to a document before discovering that you’ve been working on the wrong version.
The most effective way of managing project information is to put it all together in a single Project Workspace (or a Glasscubes secure online workspace), where your collective work is safely stored in a place away from all the other noise of your day-to-day working activities.
What is a project workspace?
A Project Workspace is a shared online workspace that provides a central repository for file sharing. A good Project Workspace will also include tools like an announcement board, discussion forums, access for team members to find key information easily and management tools.
Secure online workspaces, can be shared with users outside of your immediate organisation, connecting co-workers and colleagues, customers and business partners, to collaborate as either observers or contributing participants in your project.
Having one place to find all your shared project information will save a lot of scratched heads, abortive work and stress. Not only can you share your documents, but also drawings, image files, audio and video, emails, online conversations, screen shots etc.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of knowing that the key document you need is somewhere in your personal folders, but you cannot find it because, for the life of you, you don’t remember what you called the file? You know that you printed a copy, so it should be on your desk somewhere. Then when you find it in a sub, sub, subfolder, you have three or four slightly different copies. Or perhaps one is a hardcopy, one is on your laptop and one’s on the network, but you can’t remember which the latest version is, and your deadline is looming!
With so many copies of documents flying around, it can be difficult to know if you are looking at or editing the latest version. You don’t know who changed what, or when. It’s bad enough when one person is responsible for a document but almost impossible when many people are working on the same document together, as you may be for a project deliverable.
Sharing and managing files in one place, means everyone will be accessing the same latest versions. It provides you with an audit trail. It will allow you to allocate current members of your project team to new tasks without worrying that they have taken the only version of a crucial document with them. It will also reduce potential mistakes that can be the consequence of working with out of date information.
Most projects rely on a group of people collaborating on tasks and activities, so the ability to track what people are supposed to be doing and when is essential. Not keeping track can quickly lead to a project becoming unmanageable or turning into a constant round of catch-up meetings.
Ideally, you want to be using software tools that track time and tasks automatically. These improve organisation and workflow efficiency. You also want everyone involved to have easy access to the project’s progress, whether they work inside or outside of your immediate team.
Of course these are not the only things that need to be managed. A web based tool that is integrated into a wider collaboration system e.g. Glasscubes, gives you the added benefit of being able to manage your reports and other project documentation. This enables better communication within the project team and between the project team and other stakeholders.
In the past, organisations have been able to maintain the security of their documents by storing them inside their organisational firewalls, on internal systems. However, with good information security in place, storing documents in an online Project Workspace can be more secure than storing them on your own internal systems. Look for security that includes encryption in transfer and backups to multiple secure data centres.
Saving documents for the next project
Knowing what to do with documents at the end of a project is a common problem. You’ve done all this hard work, which you don’t want to have to repeat when a similar project comes along. By archiving everything online you can refer to and reuse information easily, which can give you a head start on your next project. When you need those documents in the future, you’ll find it much easier and quicker if they were well organised in the first place.
Working together in one place makes everything easier
A Project Workspace that is designed to integrate with other means of communication like document folders, online discussions and email, makes it easier to manage your project and fit into the other essential organisational activity, without unnecessary distraction.
So, if you touch or are involved in any future projects, just ‘spin up’ a Project Workspace, invite your team to join you and give yourselves the best chance of success!
Glasscubes is a UK based collaboration platform, with integrated project management tools. Find out more about how it could help you manage your projects more effectively by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)20 3274 2310.
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