Virtual Collaboration in Project Management

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SETTING THE STAGE…

Rodrigo shook his head. He was inheriting an 18‐ month enterprise software development project intended to revolutionize the organization. The technology was not daunting. Rodrigo had tremendous confidence in his team of cracker‐jack programmers. What troubled Rodrigo was the task of keeping the four central champions of the project located in Seoul, Houston, Guadalajara, and Frankfurt informed, involved and happy.

Fran was proud of herself. Two years ago she and her team had adopted ITIL standards (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). She glanced at the Standard Operating Procedures for Capacity Planning and Availability Planning for new applications and saw that the process was rock solid. What troubled Fran was how she would manage all of the risks and unknowns of working with a business unit with which she had no prior experience and a new project manager she had never met.

Tony closed the door of his office to clear his head. After thirteen months of requirements analysis he had a blueprint of the new Web‐based reporting system. These data warehousing projects kept him awake nights. Fifty percent of previous projects of a similar nature had failed. It was always an issue of scope. With multiple hands owning and touching the data from so many different parts of the organization, how was Tony going to keep these requirements stable enough to actually produce a valuable tool for everyone?

THE POWER OF COLLABORATION & PARTNERSHIPS

Collaboration and partnership are not a choice. They are business imperatives. Interaction is king. Today our organizations and the projects we do in support of their missions have too many working parts and too many integration points to be achieved in solitude.

We would never expect an entire network to rely on one node, so why would we assume that projects need to be centrally managed and controlled by a project team? The days of throwing the requirements over the walls and letting the brainiacs figure out what we really need or want are over. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and prepare to meet your stakeholders up close and personal. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it might sound.

Your business partners don’t have to be part of the problem if you make them part of the solution. Granted, not every business partner is going to roll out the red carpet and invite you to the executive table. However, just as you are hopefully realizing that technical prowess is not enough, your business partners are beginning to realize that viewing you as a service provider ready to cater to their every whim will not benefit them or the organization.

Projects must produce value. Projects are endlessly balancing risk with value. When risk outweighs the potential value of a project, or if something changes in the environment whereby the realization of the value is no longer possible, then a project needs to be killed. How would you like success to be measured – by jointly deciding with your business partners that a project should be killed? Say goodbye to the days of marching to Napoleonic Waterloos.

The proliferation of virtual collaboration tools has ushered in a new age of projects. Living and breathing the tactical moves and grooves of collaboration and partnership has gotten easier. Forget about socializing the soft and fuzzy tenets of your newfound convictions. Work flows, business processes and the tools of engagement have made it easier for you to start walking the talk. Once you start walking others will follow – and they won’t even know you are enlightening them at the same time.

This eBook will show you how to implement virtual collaboration tools throughout the life cycle of a project to leverage all of the benefits of partnership and collaboration.

INITIATING PROCESS

The purpose of the Initiating Process Group is to “facilitate the formal authorization to start a new project or project phase” (PMBOK® Guide, Third Edition). The culmination of the Initiating Process is a Project Charter. This is a proposal to the sponsor seeking project authorization. There are a host of activities that go from defining an initial problem to be solved and producing a signed project charter. Among all of these activities there are two that stand out as key opportunities for strategically using virtual collaboration tools.

 Virtual Collaboration Tools

1. Conducting Risk Analysis with All Stakeholders

Risk is everything. Every member of a project team must keep his or her eyes locked on risks. It’s not about being paranoid. Balancing risk with business value lies at the success of every project.

Managing risk is done throughout the project life cycle. However, the quality and depth of risk analysis during the Initiating Process sets the foundation of a project. Go slow to go fast.

Every project begins with the risk of not conducting a thorough enough risk analysis. Thoroughness implies more than extensiveness. Are you engaging with stakeholders to discover and analyze project risks? Stakeholders are scattered. Have you reached out to all of these stakeholders?

Collect comprehensive lists of risks then collaboratively prioritize them according to probability of the risk occurring and the impact of the risk if it occurs.

Of course the quality and effectiveness of the collaboration with your partnerships can only be managed by you, but technology increases the opportunities for communication and the diversity of interaction techniques you can use with your stakeholders.

“Technology makes collaboration easier…”

  • Virtual meeting tools are essential for conducting focus groups with stakeholders you might otherwise have very limited contact with.
  • Polls and online forms should be used to extend your reach and ongoing contact with stakeholders to identify and monitor risk.

 

To read full download the whitepaper:
The Power of Virtual Collaboration in Project Management

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