Coordination and collaboration are the two essential components of handling a project. Coordination is within a location for traditional projects, and across locations for distributed projects. There is a need for Collaborative Project Management Architectures (CPMAs) in order to build systems that can overcome the challenges faced by traditional project management.
When team members or companies carry out project management (PM), there are many potential mistakes or pitfalls to which they can easily fall prey. Instead of highlighting them all, let’s focus on a few common overarching themes identified in the literature. Combining together all of these themes account for the reason why many major projects either fail or are significantly less efficient and effective than they could be.
Traditional project management often employs a simple passive reporting mechanism instead of a dynamic teamwork coordinating approach. In many companies, the project management methodology is assumed as a corporate reporting tool rather than an efficient system that the various parts of the company can use to help themselves. In this type of situation, information flow is less among project contributors.
In traditional PM, communication may be ineffective due to many reasons −
Communication is also inefficient or not up to the mark because of various reasons like −
Another serious problem in traditional project management is that employees manage deliverables and resources, but they don’t manage the process.
This results in making PM a reactive process, rather than a proactive one.
Reactive management defines a passive PM strategy in which project managers conduct incomplete planning with a hope that everything will be fine in the end.
Reactive Project Management is often accompanied by lack of systematic procedure for storing project information which leads to compounding the problems of poor planning and the need for rework.
Lack of an electronic repository is a company-wide problem as well as a project–specific issue. A paper-based repository has several limitations like −
Lack of an electronic project repository leads to inadequate project documentation.
We assume that various challenges faced in traditional PM can be addressed by using collaborative PM tools and processes. A collaborative PM tool deals with explicit representation of project information and timely sharing of the adequate information.
Let’s have a look at how a collaborative PM environment can overcome the limitations that plague traditional PM.
When team members consider PM as a project reporting tool, they care about the outputs of the PM rather than the analysis process which gives those outputs.
Explicit representation of project information is important for effective and efficient communication, especially in distributed situations.
Explicit representation, however, is an important step towards effective communication.
Managing the project process is the most crucial part of PM. One way to get an idea about the process is though a project lifecycle. The project lifecycle is broadly categorized into four major steps −
Here the team members manage the inputs and outputs, but not the process, they overemphasize step 1, 2, and 4 at the cost of step 3.
The nature of project processes is dynamic and changes significantly from the original project plans and expectations as the project improves further. An ongoing process always leads to some changes in project inputs and outputs and these changes, in turn, lead to further changes in the project process.
A collaborative PM tool allows team members to update, and review one another’s work progress, collect project measures like resources spent on the task, and access the current work of others within a time bound.
Proactive project management refers to future-oriented planning, risk management, and change management in the current ongoing project. Proactive management requires project team members to conduct precise, specified, clear, and detailed planning at the beginning of the project cycle, identifying potential risks, and making plans to mitigate those risks.
A project manager, who conducts proactive management, examines task interdependencies and makes their decisions based on precise “hard” data rather than wishful thinking.
One way to implement an effective business organizational project memory is with the help of an electronic project repository.
With the growing advancement of information technology, files in digital format are easier to store, access, retrieve, edit, and route. The paper-based repository is replaced with an electronic project repository. The goal of an electronic project repository is to control, handle, and share project information efficiently and effectively.