To start this off from the very foundation, we need to provide an  answer to the question; what is collaborative project management? But before we do that let’s first define the word “collaboration”.

The Business Dictionary defines the word collaboration as … “Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.”

From the above definition, we can clearly see that it depicts a relationship between two or more parties who have to work closely together to achieve certain goals. In project management, collaborations are the norm.

It is then safe to say that collaborative project management is a concept that is centered around connecting various personnel and teams for the deliberate and planned execution of a common goal – the project, via a structure or system that aids all members of the team in contributing to the management of several tasks.

To effectively drive this home, think of it as “a division of labor” of some sort where an overall task is broken down into smaller components that are then assigned to different teams or departments. Each department can also break their assignments into micro-tasks for each member of the sub-group to handle; with everyone having a clear picture of what the end goal is.

Why Collaborative Project Management?

There are 2 primary reasons:

  • To elicit buy-in from the team members
  • To successfully deliver on the project in a timely manner

The Importance of Eliciting Buy-in in Project Management

To successfully execute a project, you need the cooperation of team members; they have to assume ownership of the process; the goal is to get them to buy-in to the project. If you take a look at traditional project management methods, you would notice a trend of “directives”.

You have a situation where the first phase of the project – the initiation, is being handled by the designated project manager and some top executives based on some input from the team members. You also have project planning, which again the project manager facilitates even as the individual team members focus on the areas that are pertinent to them. Of course we have the project execution phase – where the project  manager is often seen, giving out directives. Lastly, the project closeout – where once again the project manager facilitates the preparation of the lessons learned document and other close-out activities.

In all this, you would notice a trend of directives being dished out; so if something goes wrong with the project, the project manager is usually the one that owns up to them. There is absolutely no form of commitment from the team members.

Why is this bad?

The team members may not understand how important their individual roles are to the success of the project, they may not understand the inter-relationships among the tasks and what role feeds off another.

On the other hand, collaboration in project management ensures that not only is the project manager responsible for the planning of the project but the project members as well. Why is this important? Because then, the team has ownership of the entire process and the project manager has the buy-in of the entire team.

What Else Does Collaborative Project Management Do?

Collaboration in project management is critical if the project manager is handling a project that sees the need for a geographically dispersed team for one reason or the other. It could be an international project with the project manager coordinating all tasks from the home office.

It could also be that certain projects are highly complex in nature, involving some serious planning with a myriad of technical details to incorporate, or perhaps the sensitive or dynamic nature of the project at hand, requiring the implementation of a large number of phases.

You can also find out more on our post about the “Benefits of Collaboration Between Organizations and Teams”

Enter… Collaborative Project Management  Tools

Project Management collaborative tools are tools that help project teams, plan, organize, track and review all components of a project and the Nutcache cloud-based collaborative software is a great example and this is why…

With collaborative project management software, you want your team to be able to easily access all the necessary information pertaining to the project because if you remember earlier we talked about eliciting buy-in.

You also want a collaborative project management software that improves teamwork and communication.

If team members are able to clearly see the interdependencies between tasks, as well as monitor and track progress, the project manager would no longer be dealing with a team that has no stake in the success of the project.

The point is that, in this day and age, a good project manager should be leveraging the internet as a great tool of communication in collaboration for project management.

Not to blow our trumpet excessively but here’s why Nutcache is great for building collaboration in project management:

  • The Nutcache collaborative project management software is free for a team of up to 20 members (we are serious about collaboration).
  • It supports 8 languages – we understand that international projects require you collaborating with virtual teams who may not always speak the same language.
  • Nutcache project management software supports global product budgeting – again, we’re thinking big, international, complex organizations.
  •  It offers multiple simultaneous timers
  • Expense tracking and supplier management
  • Nutcache helps with tax management
  • Employment information

Just to mention a few…

We would like to know your thoughts on collaborative project management. Kindly share your opinions with us by dropping a few lines in the comment section below.