The success of any business is almost always based on an element of collaboration. While every small business owner will attest to the fact that they are occasionally called upon to be the ‘head cook and bottle washer’ at the same time, you can only achieve real success if you delegate and rely on people who are competent and skilled at their particular vocation. Whenever a project kicks off it’s important that everybody is on the same page and understands what needs to be done to make sure that the project is a success.
In the old business model, organisations may have chosen to keep everything in-house, to employ particular specialists under the same roof and thereby, to some extent, simplify communications at the very least. However, we know that a much more modern-day approach and one that is likely to return bigger dividends is to outsource whenever possible.
Outsourcing often requires the use of several different virtual assistants and individuals who may be located in far-flung geographical areas. No longer is it a case of going into the next office to discuss a particular element of the project while in progress, but it is often the case of working across different time zones and finding a way to communicate with someone who may be working while the rest of the team is effectively sleeping.
Web-based project management and collaboration tools are coming into their element, as a powerful answer to this particular challenge. Business owners who adapt and embrace these project management tools have the ability to be flexible when needed, to communicate clearly and proactively and help to keep the workflow moving.
Let’s look at a few of these options:
Basecamp is one of the better-known options available. This product focuses on message sharing rather than trying to make head or tail of e-mail threads. To do’s can be assigned and deadlines issued to individual members. Files, documents and other multimedia information can be shared both internally within the team and shown to the clients at the appropriate time.
Podio is a very flexible alternative. Here, you can create your own applications and work towards goals, shaping the way that you manage your projects. There’s an amazing array of customisable workflows and you can tailor the development of your project.
ActiveCollab, my project management system of choice, can be installed on your server or local network and can be configured as required and according to the growth of a project or your business size. As with many other options here it can be configured to allow access to unlimited users, set up for unlimited projects and infinite storage space.
Zoho Projects is another example where you can focus on milestones in order to organise projects, take ownership of tasks, and record your working hours for all those important invoicing purposes.
A project management and collaboration tool is an essential requirement for any expanding, modern online business in order to ensure prompt communication between various individuals responsible for integral elements. These tools take the guesswork out of project development and ensure that deadlines are met, consistently.
Do you use project management tools in your business? If so, I’d love to read your comments.