Keeping up with the latest ways to work

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Keeping up with the latest ways to work

This mini-series examines how project management is coping with 21st century business practices. Did you miss last week’s article about how project management is responding? You can catch up by clicking here.
The current economy and business culture are different than the one for which most of our project management tools were created. The business world has changed, and certain parts of your organization have likely moved faster than others. Your project management function is likely to have not changed at all and you are still doing the same things you did 10 years ago. It doesn’t have to be broken.
As project managers, we should make it easy to allow others to work on our projects. This means that everyone must work in the same way as them at work and at home.
Here are some new ways to work:
Podcasts
I learned everything I could about healthcare when I first started my career.
This could be used to train people and for project communication.

Wikis
This is useful for long-term projects with high staff turnover.
Encourages knowledge sharing and discourages knowledge silos
Searchable, customizable and better than email folders

Blogs
This is useful for project teams that do not have a co-located office, so they can keep in touch with each other.
It is more useful for stakeholder communication, engagement, and communication if comments are allowed, especially if the stakeholders are external.

Webinars
Another training tool
This is useful for keeping project costs down, especially when travel is involved in training overhead.
Can be recorded and stored so that people can catch up later if they are unable to attend the session
This has also been used to collaborate on documents in real-time with colleagues in another nation

Messaging
Although MSN and other messaging tools are not yet widely used in the workplace, it is a great way to see when colleagues are online and available for conversation.
Employers must accept the fact that people used to chat at home about non-work matters before the technology took off.

SaaS
This is something that “professional” project managers don’t worry about, but some tools make it clear they should. SaaS can make every project manager a SaaS.
This is a great tool for small-to medium projects
Some tools allow you to manage status updates via email.
These tools may be used in your organization by people who don’t have the title of project manager. How can you engage them as stakeholders in your project? You need to be sensitive to their expectations about project management tools.

Microsoft Sharepoint and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Sharepoint make it necessary to provide real-time reporting that other departments may not have, and to engage with mobile users and provide information. It’s a bad thing that you can’t access my monthly steering group report from a BlackBerry.
I’m not suggesting that you should adopt all of these ideas in your project right away. This would not be practical and it might not be right for your culture or team. If you don’t think you’ve considered any of the above, it’s important to find out why. These are all tools that you can use to manage your project. You don’t need to use all of them. Pick and choose what works best for you.
Last month, I asked the audience at the APM conference if their project management style reflected how others work in their organization. The results were almost equal: 50% agreed and 50% disagreed. While some of us are making improvements in how we work, others still have a lot to do. Next week, I’ll be reviewing the progress made towards closing this gap.