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Moving Away from Desktop to Online Project Management System

Moving Away from Desktop to Online Project Management System

We looked at concerns/challenges in switching from desktop to online project management system. Now let’s explore its adoption opportunities/challenges.

Levels of User Access to Online Project Management System

Access Permissions in Online Project Management System
Access Permissions in Online Project Management System

If you are evaluating a online project management system for a fairly mid-size company or enterprise, you are going to need different levels of user access to project data. At minimum the online project management system should provide access level corresponding to

User Hierarchy in Online Project Management System

  • Project Manager
  • Team Member
  • Contracted Team Members (Limited Access)
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Partner/External User Access; additionally there can be
  • Finance Controller
  • Accounts Manager

Typically an enterprise organizations takes greater security measures with directory services like Active Directory /LDAP based Single Sign On (SSO) access control. SSO in simple language means a single login to enterprise director services enables single access to multiple systems (corporate portal, – payroll, HRMS, appraisal, training, etc.), without requiring a user to separately login to each system. In this cases, if an online project management system provides SSO integration, it can be easily accessed by users and what they can view/edit can be decided based on their role, permissions.

Aim Big but You Can Start Small Also

Change management is challenging, that’s a universal truth. The diffusion of adoption curve holds true for society as well as business (well business are part of our society). Unlike MS Project software or such legacy software which are typically chosen for management (or exclusive/elite class of project managers), online project management systems instill transparency and accountability. Everyone can be involved in the project management process – be it individual team member, partner/vendor or executive management.

Introducing any new software systems means changing

  • The way people used to know about assignment of project activities,
  • The way project team members used to update project progress
  • The way data sharing mechanism used to function (but it is in good terms) and
  • How project managers used to track project progress
  • And the way project managers could present project progress to higher management

So it is prudent to start small and grow bigger. If you try to push entirely new online project management system to all users, they will naturally resist and may not accept it well. The tact is to work with early adopters and exploit project champions to achieve greater adoption results.

Identify Early Adopters, Leverage Project Champions

If you have been with an organization for some time, it will not be difficult for you to identify the early adopters of new technology, new processes or process change. Nominate and empower those early adopters/ change agents as project management system champion. Trust me, instead of higher management relentlessly pushing the software onto the team, thereby ignoring concerns/questions of team; it always work better if software messenger/champion reach out to individual and share his/her own experiences of using the system, benefits thereof. Champions can do lot beer job of liaising between software provider and end users. There are similar and useful approach like Train-The-Trainer to help team embrace online project management system.

Need Complex Software Customization, Think Twice!

I can understand that each organization has its own way of doing business or has its own processes. But if you are thinking of pushing your organization specific processes into a project management software so-much-so, that implementing online project management system would require massive customization, then you should review your processes. Subtle customizations are certainly required/helpful but if you have to invest significantly (time and money) in software customization before you can start using it, then it is better to invest those resources in process itself.

Having said that, one should be able to set email notification preference, view preference, custom fields, custom holidays, etc to suit its regular/mandatory business activities. In next post we will closely look at other best practices to embrace online project management system while moving away from desktop based or legacy systems.

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ABOUT
Dhan

I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.