Understanding Project Management & Collaborative Project Management

by: Stratford Managers

When creating a business today, leaders have to consider the implications of managing large and diverse teams. Whether a business is local or global, the challenges of handling collaboration in a fast-paced and competitive environment are many. Without set objectives and proper discipline, the business process can start to deteriorate. Companies should have a clear idea about how to manage their projects and promote collaborative teams to keep their businesses on course. The first step is to gain the proper knowledge, experience, and tools.

Understanding Traditional Project Management

A project can be defined as a business endeavour to create a certain product, service or result in a set period of time. The project can be anything from constructing a road to building a software application. Larger projects can be divided into smaller ones to make it easier to handle.

Project management allows businesses to use their knowledge, experience, and tools to control the flow of work to meet their objectives. It allows companies to initiate, plan, execute, monitor and complete a project in an efficient and timely manner.

Components of Project Management

Project management helps companies in the following knowledge areas:

  • Integration Management: Every project has its unique requirements. Project members need to work together to solve these problems. Project management helps managers coordinate different components of a project.
  • Scope Management: Businesses need to define the features and functions that will meet the requirements to create the desired product, service or result. Defining the scope of a project is an important part of creating a predictable workflow.
  • Time Management: Every company has stories of projects that are never completed. Without proper deadlines, projects can start to drift. Managing time through setting deadlines and monitoring progress is an effective way to ensure project completion.
  • Cost Management: Every resource in a business has an associated implicit or explicit cost. Cost management principles help managers estimate, allocate and control the cost of using these resources.
  • Quality Management: A team working on a project can meet all the requirements and still produce a substandard product or service. Managers should define the level of quality as part of the objectives to get better results.
  • Human Resource Management: Project planning should clearly define the roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships of different individuals working on the project.
  • Communications Management: Communication is the glue that keeps teams together. A good project management plan addresses the communication process between the stakeholders of the project.
  • Risk Management: Projects can get crippled due to lack of resources or time, natural calamities, change in internal or external business environments, and more. Project management helps analyze risks and proactively take steps to mitigate them.
  • Procurement Management: External vendors and suppliers are often necessary to provide additional resources or products to complete a project. Procurement management entails building and maintaining the necessary relationships with these vendors and suppliers.
  • Stakeholder Management: Clearly defined stakeholders in a project can make it easier to manage a project. It’s an important strategic maneuver to keep the process running smoothly.

Understanding Collaborative Project Management

Project management plays an important role in every organization today. However, traditional project management has a hierarchical structure where managers at the top decide and then push decisions down the organizational chain. It is concerned primarily about time constraints and task completion. Employees executing the task often don’t have any input in the process. Also, traditional project management leans towards having strictly defined roles for the participating teams or departments.

Businesses can benefit from taking a more collaborative approach to project management. In a collaborative project management environment, everyone involved in the project can provide feedback. It also allows companies to build collaboration between teams with diverse expertise.

Companies still use the project management components to achieve the desired objectives. But the tools used in a collaborative project management environment is geared towards cross-disciplinary and cross-departmental communication, coordination, and execution. Agile collaboration processes like Kanban or tools like chat feeds and shared file systems are used to help teams work together across different groups. It sets up a culture of open cooperation across the company.

Benefits of Collaborative Project Management

An expansive collaboration environment can help companies in the following ways:

  1. Promotes More Creative Input
    Collaborative project management helps companies move decisions from the boardroom to the stakeholders. The people working on the ground gets to have a say in the process. Employees working in a collaborative environment can brainstorm and come up with more creative ideas. These ideas can help companies achieve higher quality results.
  2. Improves Communication Across the Organization
    In the collaborative paradigm, managers promote processes that help employees talk to each other on a regular basis. A process like Kanban can help implement real-time communication channels for more transparency. Toyota has used Kanban to promote “Just-in-Time” manufacturing in their plants. It empowers every employee to solve a new problem. Also, Kanban boards help employees understand their responsibilities in the context of the broader picture. They understand the purpose of their work better.
  3. Improves Product or Service Delivery Time
    Projects managed with collaboration emphasis speeds up the process. Better communication and visibility helps managers remove bottlenecks proactively. In a traditional project management, managers need to monitor the work of individuals to figure out the project progress and status. But in a collaborative environment, the transparency of the project plan helps team member self-monitor each other. It helps businesses produce faster results.
  4. Supports Distributed Teams
    Today companies are taking advantage of expertise across the globe. When working with distributed teams, collaborative project management tools become vital to the efficiency of the process. Communication tools like chat feeds and cloud-based file sharing solutions can make distributed teams cooperate easily.
  5. Builds a Stronger Organization
    Using collaborative software, a company can build a strong identity for its business. Shared purpose, goals, and ideas encourage dedication and loyalty from employees. These employees help companies save time and money. Also, a stronger organization can find solutions to problems faster and have more resilience in adverse market conditions.

Looking Forward

Businesses can start their collaborative project management practice through learning about the techniques and tools that are already available. The requirements will differ. So there are no simple solutions that will work for every business. But you can research and learn about the collaborative techniques and tools that are working for your industry. It can be a great starting point. Also, you can ask an expert in collaborative project management to help you. An expert can save time and money for your company.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Johnston is an entrepreneur with strong experience leading organizations providing digital transformation services, understanding business models and delivering cutting-edge technology solutions in line with companies objectives. Steve speaks both Business and Technology languages. He believes in an uncompromising focus on high-quality customer experience and bottom-line profit improvements. Steve excels at turning under-producing businesses into companies that work efficiently and helps them build the foundation for their growth phase.

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