For many organisations, moving project management into the cloud opens up a wealth of new opportunities. It enables people to collaborate from all over the world, sharing resources and developing ideas together regardless of their location or time zone. Cloud project management also makes it easy for workers to contribute to projects while at home or on the move. And crucially, cloud-based solutions are typically priced at an affordable level for businesses that may lack the resources to implement high-end project management software.
However, making the initial switch from more traditional management methods to using project management software online is not always easy. Project managers accustomed to an older way of working that revolves around regular face-to-face contact, scheduled meetings and conference calls are likely to fear losing control by moving into the cloud. Understandably, they may also worry about disrupting the well-established working practices of their team.
With these concerns in mind, we've put together five of the best tips for managing projects in the cloud:
1. Start at the end
The title of Dave Lavinsky's best-selling 2012 business book is also a great piece of advice for a project manager - whether you're using the cloud for the first time or not.
Starting at the end means establishing the end goal of your project and working backwards from there, plotting key milestones along the way. This relatively simple process can help you - and your team - visualise how the project needs to develop in stages to ensure you reach your goal.
Use your cloud project management software to create the individual tasks that make up the project and provide notice of important deadlines to each member of the team.
2. Trust and empower your team
The arrival of remote and mobile working has placed a greater emphasis on individual responsibility. You don't need to hold the hands of your employees and you should avoid the temptation to micro-manage. As project manager, your role is to empower them to achieve the best possible outcome.
Of course, you still need to make sure that tasks are completed on time and to an acceptable standard, but a good collaboration tool will provide the transparency you need to keep track of progress without bombarding your staff with phone calls and emails.
3. Create an open, social environment
It's much easier to nurture a culture of personal responsibility in an open working environment, where people are happy to both share their accomplishments and talk about any obstacles they might be facing. Cloud collaboration and project management software makes this possible, with functions like shared group calendars and task lists enabling everyone to see exactly who is doing what and when.
If you're really serious about creating a more open environment for your project, you could take the step of banning alternative means of communication such as email chains to ensure all information is shared via the collaboration platform.
4. Choose the right collaboration tool
It may be stating the obvious, but you will struggle to effectively manage projects in the cloud without a collaboration tool that is a good fit for your work and the goals of your organisation.
Think carefully about the features you need and make sure your chosen platform can provide them. Just as importantly, make a list of the functions you don't need - you could run the risk of slowing progress (and paying too much) by selecting a tool that is packed full of redundant features.
5. Gain knowledge, then pass it on
Take the time to learn how to use your chosen collaboration/project management tool. You're guaranteed to receive plenty of questions from staff during the initial rollout, and you need to be ready with the answers. Failure to provide a solution can severely hinder user adoption in those early stages.
At Kahootz, all our users have access to the Knowledgebase, an extensive library of help and support articles designed to ensure people get the most out of the tool.