Tips for Bringing Workgroups Together Using Online Collaboration Tools

Project Management Software
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A great benefit of project management software is how it can facilitate communications within a company. The application’s ability to easily speed up communications brings workgroups together allowing them to continually collaborate. The workgroup collaboration is bolstered by the project management software‘s capability to manage and track documentation. Below are some tips to make workgroup collaboration, using project management software, a reality.

Online Collaboration Tools and the Project Charter

  • Use the Project Charter. The project charter is a key document that, at a high level, defines the project, empowers the project manager and sets the ground rules within the company for how the project will be implemented. The use of project management software within the organization and workgroups use of it can be mandated within the project charter.
  • Leverage the Project Communications Plan. Within the project plan there is typically a section that addresses how the team will communicate both internally and externally. The section on communications, known as the project communications plan is an opportunity to standardize the use of the project management software. This section can be amplified to include the application’s functionality for workgroup collaboration. The project plan is normally presented to the project team at a kickoff meeting. Using the project management software for workgroup collaboration can be demonstrated during this key meeting.
  • Set up useful links. When users of the online collaboration tools see how the application is helping them do their work their collaboration will increase. A simple way to accomplish this is to help the users manage their information. Information can be managed if it is organized and linked. Organization can be as basic as setting up a file system or just alphabetizing or indexing the documentation. Linking can be as easy as, for example, having a column for risk and having each risk number or description hyperlinked to a document that further describes the risk event or issue in greater detail. Workgroups needing information on different risks will appreciate the ease of being able access this data quickly and efficiently. By giving them read and write access they can continually collaborate on these issues and do so in real time.
  • Set the example. The project sponsor and the project manager should use the project management software and collaborate directly with the workgroups. When project team and workgroup members see this example it will speak volumes. The executive’s use of the project management software for collaboration will be emulated by the rest of the organization.
  • Provide positive reinforcement. As team members use the online collaboration tools for workgroup collaboration they should receive positive reinforcement. As team members see that this type of teamwork is valued its use as a collaborative tool will increase.
  • Use the application during meetings. Oftentimes workgroups, even when they use project management software for collaboration, have meetings and don’t use the software. The use of the online collaboration tools during meetings will further show the application’s capabilities to team members. This tip will be particularly helpful in promoting the use of workgroup collaboration functionality for those team members who may not have been using the application yet.