I will admit something: I was a big fan of the ill-fated Google Wave. It was a great way for teams to collaborate on documents and deliverables. It kept track of the evolving conversation right alongside of the deliverable. If someone came into the project after it had already started, you could send him back to the beginning of the Wave, and he should be up to speed by the time he got to the end of it.
To me, this was a collaboration tool that actually offered project managers something new. Sadly, Google quietly pulled the plug on it shortly after it was launched. Now a new tool called Co-meeting is trying to pick up where Wave left off, and they have an interesting take on the process of collaboration. It has a more real time feel to it than Wave did, and I like the fact that it can import your old Google Waves. If you leave a Co-meeting conversation, the next time you come back it will direct you to the point where you left off, which I find particularly useful.
Another tool that I have been using to help me manage projects is Asana. This is a great way of assigning tasks, managing progress against them, and holding people accountable. My favorite thing about Asana is that it preserves the thread of conversation related to tasks so that you can get a quick feel for what has been done to date and where things currently stand.
Both of these are great if you are managing in an environment where everyone doesn’t necessarily have the same software or platform, and both are free for a limited number of users.
If you have a favorite tool to use in collaboration, share it below.
As a project manager, I’m fatigued by all the tools out there and have started resorting back to getting people to meet face-to-face or just reach out directly and call or visit them. I’m at the point where I will only use a few collaborative tools and they need to be ones that are the most ubiquitous among my team or stakeholders even if they’re not the best or most cutting edge. What’s bad about all the tools glut is that you are forcing people to constant learn and fidget with a new tool rather than communicating.
Don, I totally agree that when face-to-face is an option, it is most often the best choice. That said, I am currently in a program with 12 other people from various parts of Atlanta who are working on a pro bono project for our community, and it is incredibly complicated to get everyone together, and there will always be people who cannot make a given meeting. The advantage of a tool like Co-meeting is that we can post a draft deliverable out there and let everyone review and give comments even if they are out of the country.
I do think you and I are very strongly aligned that when it comes down to it, it’s all about people, and personal communication trumps everything.
We use SharePoint. For each of our projects we create a project site for maintaining all documents. Our clients are given a login so that they can get to the documents that we are sharing with them also.
We are using Project Server which simplifies this a little (sites created when MS Project plan is published etc), but we were able to do most of this with plain SharePoint.
Would be great to revisit this topic and share what the current tools you’re using are, for project updates/summaries and tasks.