How to implement real collaborative project management in your company?

Jan 11st, 2018

The challenge for businesses today is fostering a collaborative environment for all those involved in the company’s success, both inside and outside the organisation. The diversity of the many profiles within a company makes for a rich human framework, though these profiles must make a continuous effort to improve the way in which they work together.

How many projects are started and action plans created, yet the initiatives struggle to advance and ultimately yield disappointing results? All because of a difficult and, not to mention, laborious project management system that results in lost time and data: scattered files, lack of communication, duplicated efforts, and lack of a global view of the greater project landscape.

Grand projects that transform the business require, without question, collaboration and, consequently, a real Project Portfolio Management (PPM) initiative.

This is the key to successfully and fully integrating collaboration within the enterprise, especially thanks to the collaborative project management platform.

Project management: why choose an alternative to Microsoft Project?

The businesses that are innovative and flexible are the ones that develop common projects internally involving higher engagement from collaborators.

The problem: the implementation often fails due to poorly adapted tools. And yet, the time collaborators spend on these common projects has almost doubled in recent years.

A small glimpse of the problems currently faced:

  • Outdated document versions;
  • Excel files distributed across individual computers rather than servers;
  • Complex tools that sometimes require “experts”;
  • The multiplicity of tools, which leads to them being poorly used, or abandoned altogether;
  • The lack of transparency caused by a lack of communication, and a lack of access to information;
  • Etc.

The most commonly deployed tools, such as Microsoft Project or even the simple yet formidable Excel file, have their uses. However, these tools are not always the best for collaboratively managing and tracking a portfolio of projects.

Adding yet another tool to the pile will not, by itself, be sufficient to meet these needs. That is, unless it is an online project planning platform, open to everyone and accessible from anywhere (and on any device).

Toward collaborative project management

Project management requires collaboration

Project management is clearly in the operational domain. The objective is to successfully drive the in-progress project or projects, which is to say, “to drive the projects to achieve their objectives within the predefined framework (budget, time, resources)”. Each project has a designated manager or committee to direct it, tasks to complete, subordinates, and resources.

Directing and tracking a project therefore concerns several stakeholders. Working collaboratively on a project requires communication between all participants, as well as the sharing of knowledge and the updating of information—all in real time, if possible. Who is doing or has done what, when and how? Collaboration is essential because projects are always a team effort.

However, tracking the project can be done the old-fashioned way by a designated manager using a simple Excel worksheet. It’s not ideal, but is largely feasible. And it’s probably the most common method.

But as soon as it becomes necessary to manage an entire portfolio of projects, the situation changes completely.

To find out more about project portfolio management and get your company started down the path, please download our guide:

Download our guide for successful collaborative projects

PPM, or the art of juggling projects

PPM, or Project Portfolio Management, is a system that revolves around making decisions. It’s about prioritisation and organisation. This requires visibility over all the projects in order to know which resources are being used, and ensure the proper advancement and performance of all the projects being directed.

It’s an effective decision-making tool that requires information to be updated in real time, as well as a dashboard with all necessary indicators. What better way to track a project than via an application that centralises all the information provided by the collaborators and shares it at any given moment? The collaborative spirit is practically essential to successful management.

Once again, beyond a PPM platform, it is ultimately the company culture that determines success. But to first get there, there is a necessary preliminary step to take: “breaking down the silos” in order to free the company and inspire flexibility and innovation.

Overcoming silos within the company

It is a fact that leaving behind a siloed company culture and adapting collaborative methods is a source of innovation and, above all, performance gains.

The complexity and multiplicity of projects, as well as the ensuing costs, make these old methods of management counter-productive. To compete in today’s ultra-competitive markets, it is critical to put an end to compartmentalisation and to emphasise a culture of sharing, interdisciplinary approaches, and natural collaboration between departments and individuals.

This is particularly important given that teamwork is perceived by employees to be highly important, even if it is still often underdeveloped.

There are numerous advantages to this approach: collaboration between services, reducing duplicated work, sharing knowledge, less frivolous meetings, better collaborator management, and improving everyone’s sense of well-being at work. Ultimately, it is the company’s productivity and performance that is targeted.

It is for precisely these reasons that management must take the lead in establishing a new company policy and carefully choose the tools of this transformation. Here’s how.

Collaborative project platform: the secrets

The secrets of an adapted and high-performance collaborative platform

What is the most powerful and high-performance tool to accompany this transformation?

This tool must:

  • Unite all the functionalities and documents required for the creation, tracking, and direction of projects—all in one single interface;
  • Be accessible by all stakeholders who can then themselves update the information related to the projects and the advancement of tasks to be completed;
  • Display all the in-progress projects on a single up-to-date screen, and be able to direct and manage a portfolio of projects;
  • Be installed on all the company’s devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) in order to be accessible everywhere and by everyone;
  • And be simple and intuitive enough that all the collaborators use it and are informed in real time of projects that concern them or that they are responsible for.

Today, the only possible solution is collaborative project management platform.

The collaborative platform, or rather its usage, will provide the ability to work more intelligently and more effectively on multiple projects. Eventually, the success of deploying such a tool will be accompanied by a general improvement in work methods and a boost in team productivity.

However, it is still necessary to choose the right collaborative project management solution, which will meet your needs and garner the support of all the collaborators involved.

H2 To aid you, here are 7 tips to help you choose a high-performing collaborative platform

The goal is simple: successful adoption of the cooperative solution by all collaborators.

At Humanperf, we’ve put a lot of thought and research into the essential characteristics of a tool that performs well, but more importantly, is actually used by employees. Our IDhall SC collaborative platform, which makes it possible to manage ideas, projects, and action plans in one single tool, has been developed and improved over time thanks to client feedback and what we have observed to really work in the field.

Here are the essential criteria for a high-performance solution.

It must be:

  • Simple, within everyone’s reach and easy to begin using;
  • Intuitive with a strong UI/UX;
  • Accessible everywhere, all the time, and across all devices;
  • Shared, with no lost information and no lost time;
  • Useful for letting everyone know what is expected of them, on which project, which task, etc. (and in the blink of an eye);
  • Exhaustive — because even if the interface is simple, the tool must allow users to examine things in greater detail when necessary;
  • And global, in order to provide a view of the entire portfolio of projects, thereby allowing for prioritisation and readjustment depending on key indicators.

Paradoxically, the best tool is also one that people don’t think about as it is just so practical, intuitive, and complete.

If all of these criteria are met, the collaborative platform has every chance of being fully supported internally. Then you will see for yourself how the collaborative project planning platform successfully manages to highlight the importance of team spirit, collaborator performance, and effective project management.

And in this way, you are certain to be successful in implementing real collaborative project management throughout your company.