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VP Enterprise Marketing for PBworks,  first investor in and previously interim CEO of Ustream.TV.  Chris is an active angel investor and the founder and Chairman of the Harvard Business School Technology Alumni Association (HBSTECH). Chris earned two degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. His personal blogs are Adventures in Capitalism and Ask the Harvard MBA.

6 responses to “The Future Of Project Management Is Collaboration”

  1. Jamie

    Agreed. Any suggestions on a good SaaS based project management tool? I have tried a few, however none have really stood out from the crowd.

  2. Chris Yeh

    I don’t pimp in my pieces, but in the comments is okay. You should definitely check out PBworks Project Edition. It combines Basecamp-style project management with wiki-style collaboration for actually doing the work.

  3. Michelle

    Hey Jamie, you can try DeskAway (http://www.deskaway). Its a SaaS based project management tool and is very effective and easy to use.

  4. Antony Slumbers

    I’m not sure you need to ‘manage and do your work on a single platform’. Why is that necessary?

    We first built our product for our own use (we are a web based software company traditionally specialising in applications fore the commercial real estate market). A project, for us, boils down to:

    1. Companies and Contacts we deal with
    2. Documents we need to produce and/or share
    3. Tasks we have to do
    4. Images we need to produce and/or share
    5. Comments we need to make (on any of the above)

    A typical team would be involve our own colleagues, the client, and perhaps other external suppliers or collaborators. So, multiple parties in multiple locations.

    However, the workflow tends to be iterative, rather than directly collaborative.

    1. We discuss and agree a brief
    2. We put together some designs
    3. We refine and re-define these
    4. We all discuss some more
    5. We discuss the agreed designs with the coders
    6. Coders code !
    7. We comment on work in progress
    8. We tweak as necessary
    9. All the time we keep the client informed

    We deliver the project and everyone is happy!

    Now in that process there is no need to, for example, edit a word doc or spreadsheet collaboratively in real time. Or group design images.

    So everyone uses the tools that are ‘best in class’ for their needs.

    The client – probably – will write their brief in Word.
    The designers will use Photoshop
    The coders will use Eclipse

    By and large these tools are installed locally on a users Mac or PC. Because they work best that way.

    Occasionally we may have conference calls over Skype or share our screens using webex or suchlike. But not really all that often. Each team member is skilled at what they do and frankly it is generally best if they do their work and then present it to the team to review.

    The IMPORTANT point though is that during this process, we RELENTLESSLY COMMUNICATE online, in our case using our Flex based collaboration tool

    At every stage, everyone knows what is going on and who is responsible for what. And I have to say it works a dream. It does not matter where anyone is – in the office, out and about, overseas, wherever – they always have access to everything they need. By email, by RSS, or through a browser, it’s all there.

    So use the tools that fit how you work, but do not worry about everyone walking to the same beat, in time. Once you get away from the curse of the ‘left hand not knowing what the right hand’ is doing, projects do become an awful lot more successful. And enjoyable.

    Thank you

    Antony Slumbers
    The home of open and transparent collaboration.

  5. Project Management Form

    I am a bit surprised that the discussion about the future of project management is overwhelmingly about PMP (certifications). I think PMP provides value in that it certifies that a person knows what could be an ideal way of managing projects. This is helpful in that it encourages your practices to be skewed towards the ideal practices recommended by a bigger group of practitioners rather than something formed by just your experience. No matter how experienced a project manager is, it is important to have the academic knowledge of commonly accepted best practices as one person alone can very rarely acquire such refined knowledge on his own. It also provides a common language for the profession which makes it easier for professionals to move between organizations. So, PMP is important, but the key is the capability to apply that knowledge in real situations and that comes with a certain amount of experience. So, a PMP-certified experienced project manager is the right choice.