In a large organization, information sharing and team collaboration requirements typically become more complex. Comprehensive indexing, intuitive search capabilities, and the ability to manage and analyze large volumes of project-related information across many data stores are the key requirements. Businesses also need advanced document management, including well-defined publishing processes and versioning to ensure that the data and information they are collaborating on are complete and up-to-date. Using WSS-based features, organizations can aggregate content from multiple data sources for projects and programs into a portal website, creating personalized digital dashboards, regardless of where the data resides.
Large projects require a lot of attention and require your project teams to focus on different areas. You need to collaborate not only with your project team members but also with your clients and other stakeholders. You need to be able to answer the following questions:
The answers may be found in setting up a WSS website for each project accessible to all on your project team and your stakeholders. You can use this project website to post meeting agendas and minutes, post related project documents, track project issues and risks, hold online discussions, and more.
Other technologies are available from Microsoft that can help you with effective team collaboration. For example, if you are using the concept of virtual teams where your project team members are not in the same location, you can use Microsoft Office Live Meeting for online meetings.
The relevant project information that the project manager should maintain typically comes from many different sources, such as individual project team members, clients, stakeholders, external consultants, accounting, HR systems, and other data sources. One of the technical challenges for Enterprise Project Management (EPM) system designers and project managers today is creating a project-centric environment that promotes project team collaboration. In this project-centric collaboration space, all relevant project management data is collected and organized with appropriate tools for filtering and sorting available as well as appropriate rolebased security.
Based on the findings from Forester Research Report, most large companies go through four collaboration phases:
Although the desired state of team collaboration for any large organization is enterprise strategy and standardization, the majority of large companies are stuck in the first two phases. The question is how do you get to the next phase?
The free Forester Research Reports referred to in this chapter are available from the following Microsoft website: http://www.microsoft.com/business/productivity/collaboration/Reports/default.mspx.
Based on another Forester Research Report available from the previously referenced Microsoft website, the most significant and most common challenges of rolling out team collaboration software relate to people and human behavior rather than technology. Organizations commonly face the following roadblocks to successful team collaboration rollouts:
The article titled "Leveraging the Power of Project Team Collaboration" is available from the following Microsoft website: http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/assistance/HA010788211033.aspx.
Dan Webb also suggests in the previously referenced article that "A key human-factors challenge for project managers is to make sure that all crucial information related to the project has been validated by at least two team members who agree about the validation, and that the information has been effectively integrated by the stakeholders whose successful performance depends upon it. Team members need access to crucial information, and they need support for communicating clearly and reaching agreement easily. Clear communication and ease of agreement can never be assumed without some appropriate test for that condition."