Collaborative Project Management Misconceptions

With the proliferation of social media, Collaborative Project Management (CPM) is finally on the radar of many organizations and executives.  I have been a practitioner of Collaborative Project Management before Mark Zuckerberg went to Harvard.  In the old days, we simply used Project Management tools like MS project plus constant communication either in person, phone lines or email to collaborative on our projects. Now we can integrate social tools such as virtual whiteboards, instant messaging, Task Wikis, crowd-sourcing tools and instant communication like chat, audio and video into project management and call it collaborative project management.

Andy Warhol probably never managed a project, but his views on change are applicable to the adoption of Collaborative Project Management:   “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”   The passage of time, the ubiquity of social media technologies and the entry of Millennials to the workforce will not bring Collaborative Management to the organization.   Commitment to implementation, investment of resources in new practices and the selection of the right tools are the building blocks to successful Collaborative Project Management.   Or as old timers would say: “People, process and technology.”

Collaborative project management misconceptions

Everybody knows collaboration is good, and project management by nature should be collaborative. But there are lots of misconceptions on what collaborative and collaboration mean in the context of project management. Let’s look at some of the challenges (or excuses) that you will hear about why CPM adoption hard or not working for many organizations. We will address these misconceptions here and show you  what you can do to address these concerns.

1-Collaborative Project Management is only for Millennials

We often hear the argument that Collaborative Project Management is for new employees entering the workforce and traditional Project Management is for everyone else.

Nothing could be further from the truth. A more careful analysis shows that it is not only true but in fact collaboration should be the integral part of the overall organizational culture for any modern company.  Collaboration fits perfectly in project management where a group of people work on a common goal to deliver a product or service. That means the management should align review and compensation of the employees to the adoption of collaborative practices. Senior management needs to provide guidelines and full sponsorship to make sure collaboration takes root in all levels in the organization. This needs to happen before the words such that project management, Scrum, Sprint or Gantt chart are uttered.

2-The current Project Management methodology already works

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it as the saying goes.  You have selected a Project Management methodology, have trained your employees and are seeing the results that you think are OK.  The logic is correct, but based on a false assumption.  Collaborative Project Management is not a new process or methodology, it’s about taking existing methodologies and infusing them with common sense principles that tap into the knowledge and expertise of the organization and improve team performance.   Whether the organization has a tailored process or uses Agile or Waterfall, Collaborative Project Management practices apply in equal measure.  For more information about this topic read Definite guide to collaborative project management.  

3-Collaborative Project Management tools are expensive

Some managers say we have an open dialog with our employees and freely share and exchange information and ideas, so we don’t need more collaboration tools. In addition we can use free social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to get the job done.

It is natural that business managers are concerned about cost and push back on spending on new technology. Otherwise they are not doing their job!  At the same time, collaboration does not happen in a vacuum and if you try to use free social media tools such as Facebook for team collaboration, don’t be surprised if productivity levels plummet. In addition you need to consider security issues when you use free social media tools for business collaboration. Is your data safe when using Facebook or Twitter for business collaboration? Remember tools such as Facebook and Twitter are designed to make all data available to largest audience possible and not just your employees. So there is no incentive for these sites to hide your data from others. In addition these sites don’t encrypt files and data the way services like Binfire do. So your important data might not be safe at these sites.

The good news here is that the investment in Collaborative Project Management tools does not have to be costly or disruptive to existing systems and processes. The Binfire Collaboration and Project Management platform starts at $25/month for 6 members and is delivered as SaaS, thereby eliminating the need for IT integration and maintenance.   The other good news is that you can try out Binfire for absolutely no cost by clicking here.

David Robins


David Robins is the founder and CEO of Binfire. David studied at both Cornell and MIT, and was the Director of Software Engineering at Polaroid for 11 years.

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