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What Do You Look for in a Collaboration Tool?

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With so many project management collaboration tools out there, what is a useful, intuitive and inexpensive tool to use? It all depends on what you look for in a tool.

I look for the ability to assign tasks to team members or teams. I also like to be able to add notes and collaborate with team members through the tool, specific to the tasks they're assigned or the work they are doing. These capabilities cut through many unnecessary meetings and allow you to see real-time progress of the assigned work.

I use a web-based software called IntervalsTM. I create my projects and tasks, and then add my team to the projects and assign each of them their respective tasks. While I may create an MS Project-based project plan, I would use Intervals to manage the actual tasks, time and budget.

It's also a great tool for assessing how much time various tasks take and getting a more accurate measure of the time spent on the tasks. This tool has built-in timers for each task and general timers that make it easy to track your time.

Timesheet management is quite easy as well. I get my team to submit the hours they spent on a regular basis. At the end of the week, they submit their timesheet, which I either approve or reject -- it all happens online.

Another great feature is the executive role, which allows an executive or sponsor to see the latest progress on a project without having to be involved in any other details. The progress can be seen at any time online, by anyone provided such access.

What are your favorite collaboration tools? Are there any tools you use that achieve all these abilities?

The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

 

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The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

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3 Comments

ProjectManager is a great online solution that is integrated with Microsoft Project, Microsoft Office and Google Apps, making it super easy to exchange data across multiple online and offline environments.

Also, for collaboration to be effective, real-time communication is important. ProjectManager has tools that provide instant status updates, much like you'd see in Twitter if you tweet.

Another benefit of using ProjectManager is that it really was developed based on the PMBOK industry standard. So, for PMP students like myself, it can be used in an educational environment where classmates become the project team and an entire project can be brought to life using this software to keep team members connected both in the classroom and outside the classroom.

I look for collaboration platforms that improve your project environment. These tools enhance your project management best practices implementation. Tools such as SharePoint are simple, but effective.

I frequently blog on this topic.
http://pm-foundations.com/2011/06/05/9-ways-sharepoint-makes-your-pm-best-practices-better/

Steve Hart, PMP

Hi Dmitri. Thank you for suggesting this tool. The best thing, I see about the product "Intervals" is its time tracking capability.

I use my company's proprietary project management tool IPMS (Integrated Project Management System). This tool does everything to assign and track tasks, billing, reporting etc. It even supports final inspection, audit, delivery etc.

However, this tool does not have time tracking capability (as running the timer).

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