By Amanda Winstead
Managing a project successfully requires a delicate balance of people management skills and strategic savvy. This can certainly be a challenging prospect. However, over the last decade or so there have been significant advances in the tools available to support effective project management.
This isn’t to say that it’s necessarily effective to just tack a piece of tech on top of your current project processes. Rather, it tends to be more effective to find tools and protocols that you can integrate into the workflow.
But why is it worth exploring the potential of these tools and what elements can make a difference? Let’s take a closer look at revolutionizing project management with integrated and collaborative tech.
Recognize and Prioritize the Relevant Benefits
Integrating tech and collaborative tools into workflows requires a certain amount of planning and investment. As a project manager, it’s always in your best interests to make certain that the use of your capital is going to positively influence outcomes. Therefore, your first step should be to get a good understanding of the benefits of workflow integration and make plans to prioritize tools that meet the most relevant benefits for your team.
The benefits of integrating tech into workflows range from greater efficiency in projects to gaining insights that assist with planning. Some of the primary advantages project managers should be aware of include:
● Better team coordination: By integrating tech and protocols that keep all members connected and their activities visible, there are opportunities for staff to work together seamlessly.
● Reduced human error: Some tech tools — such as automated data entry and report generation software — draw directly from data sources and can be less susceptible to mistakes. The result tends to be improved efficiency.
● Simplified document management: It’s easy for projects to become disorganized and unproductive when there’s a lot of physical paperwork flying around or information stored on individual machines. By integrating tools like cloud platforms into the workflow, all important documents remain organized and accessible to all team members whenever they’re needed.
Focus on Team Communication
One of the challenges of project management is making certain all team members are collaborating in unison. This can be particularly difficult when you have a remote team with members spread across different cities or your company requires interdepartmental cooperation. A solid approach is to focus on integrating tools and protocols into the workflow that support effective and consistent communication.
When it comes to project management trends surrounding advanced tools and solutions, there are various communication platforms that can help to revolutionize how effectively projects proceed.
● Multifaceted communication platforms, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. These tools allow for text-based messaging, video conferencing, and audio calls from a single hub. Adopting them into the project workflow gives staff simplified solutions to keep in regular contact with one another wherever they happen to be.
● A cloud-based project management platform with the right integrations built in. Good communication isn’t just about having conversations with one another. It also involves ensuring all team members have visibility on the progress of one another’s work. Gantter
shows each task’s present state in the workflow and makes related documentation easier to access via seamless integration with Google.
● Collaborative ideation software, like Lucid and Miro. Projects tend to be more positive when there is easy communication of ideas. Collaborative software enables all staff members to contribute to the initial and ongoing brainstorming process wherever they happen to be operating. This is particularly useful if team members are working asynchronously.
Integrating communication tools into the workflow shouldn’t be your only consideration, though. You also need to make certain that all staff members have clarity on how and when to use these throughout projects. Take the time to create solid protocols that enable efficient and effective use. Provide team members with training on the tools and make a protocol document available at all times via cloud-based sharing platforms.
Minimize Security Risks
Adopting new technology into the project workflow brings advantages, but there are also risks. Shifting to digital and online methods may mean that sensitive information is vulnerable to cybercrime. This may involve sensitive data being stolen or project productivity being disrupted by viruses and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
As a result, changes to your workflow need to be influenced by an understanding of the importance of data privacy and data security. Good data privacy policies ensure that personal information — about customers, staff, or the company — is handled responsibly. Data security, on the other hand, are practices and tools that keep the data in your organization protected from potential breaches. When you’re planning to integrate new tech, it’s worth considering what tools best serve your security interests and duties.
These might include:
● Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven threat monitoring software: This automated tool can be integrated into your entire network and highlights potential issues. The software also utilizes machine learning algorithms to make predictions about threats and vulnerabilities so that your team can make adjustments to their actions or to the workflow well in advance of breaches.
● Encryption and password protocols: Particularly when your project workflow involves sharing data via cloud software or communication channels, there need to be layers of security in place to protect it. Make certain there’s end-to-end encryption on all staff members’ internet connections. Importantly, teams should utilize multi-factor authentication wherever possible to access tools.
There are significant advantages to integrating tech tools into your project management workflow. It’s important to take the time to explore these and prioritize the tools that best fit your
workflow. In general, you should consider adopting communication tech that aids collaborations and security software that safeguards data.
Remember, though, that technology and the challenges surrounding it are changing all the time. When establishing integrated workflows, you should also commit to regular assessments of each tool’s efficacy. This enables you to make the most upgrades and adjustments that keep your projects productive.