Sunday, 6 December 2009

Online Issue Logs

Activity - Using workspace features to usefully share a key project document

Participants - 1 project manager, 1 project board member, several team members

Technologies - The spreadsheet in Google docs was used after uploading a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. (It is worth noting that the Microsoft shared office features available are very impressive..... if your organisation has access to them)

Issue logs are an important aspect of the PRINCE2 project management methodology. They are really useful for controlling a project and are used to log any "issues" that are important and any steps being taken to address the "issues". What I have experienced is that they work best when they are visible to a number of key people in the project.

In the past I have e-mailed similar project control documents to team members responsible for the delivery of products. This does present a challenge to version control..... once the issue log has been sent then it will get out of date when a new project issue is raised by the project manager and also when the team manager updates an issue with new information. There is a real danger that people are working on different versions and therefore the clarity that comes from an issue log is replaced with confusion.

What I have experienced recently is a real benefit from using a simple spreadsheet for each discreet project and sharing it online with the team members and a member of the project board. The spreadsheet has been hosted on Google docs which has offered some definite online collaboration benefits:

  • Different-Time : as project manager I have been able to continue to raise issues while the team have been updating it with information about resolutions to issues.
  • Different-Time: My project board member is able to see what is happening if they want to get a live, current update.
  • Real-Time: Google docs has enabled us to look at the same document during checkpoint meetings (using Skype) and collaboratively update the issue log during our discussion

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Project Collaboration

Activity - a shared online workspace. Using PowerPoint, Word, Visio, an Project files and comments

Participants - 1 project manager and 1 consultant

Technologies - was used as the workspace

On Tuesday I took part in a presentation to a board following a year long project of requirements gathering, process analysis, selection workshops and reporting. It was a great project working with great people.

The project manager and I collaborated extensively, we met regularly face to face, discussed plans co-authored documents, diagrams and presentations.

The co-authoring was supported by the use of a shared folder on What was really valuable was keeping the current version of the documents and also providing comments for each other about next steps. This was useful while we was developing things and also served as a prompt.

Personally the thing I noticed was greater awareness of the combined effort, I noticed:

  • when a new version of a document was uploaded - prompting me to review it
  • when a document was downloaded - reassuirng me that things were happening
  • when I hadn't uploaded documents I was aware that the project manager would know I wasn't working on it :-)