Project Planning: Online is Better
Project management tools and techniques have improved drastically since the old days, but truth be told, project management software is not all that new of a development. Such programs have been around since computers were first invented, to varying degrees of complexity and effectiveness.
There has been a lot of hype about online features and the cloud, but is it really justified? Does an Internet-connected program truly offer tangible, unique benefits to a project management team?
The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why:
Expanded Communication and Collaboration
In the past, project managers were severely hampered by the limitations of contemporary communication, such as messenger, mail, telegraph, and telephone lines. Information moved slowly, and so did progress.
These days, online communication methods allow information and documents to flow at an unprecedented rate. Stakeholders and team members can update each other at the push of a button, allowing projects to proceed at a rapid pace. There are project management programs that even allow clients to follow along as well via real-time status updates.
Before the Internet, location played a huge role in a project’s outcome. Most of the time, remote contributors had to be brought into a central location in order to properly manage and coordinate their efforts.
Today, near-instant communication over the Internet allows teams from disparate locations to be just as effective as ones working in a physical office. Many of the top online project management tools include chat, video conferencing, and file sharing in one cohesive package.
Secure Backups of Your Data
Storing data locally entails a lot of risk, even in the digital age. Hardware malfunctions, virus attacks, and more could erase valuable data and set the team back by months. Losing records of billable hours and communications logs could seriously affect the project budget and project scope.
Fortunately, many modern online project management tools store data on their own servers. This gives teams a reliable, valuable backup file storage system on which they can rely in case disaster strikes.
To be clear, offline project planning is still a viable and effective way of managing a project. But online project software adds unique and very compelling benefits to the equation. A wise project manager would do well to examine this option and see if it is a fit for his organization.
Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.