The thing I remember most clearly was the sense of dread. You are sitting in the bi-weekly action tracking meeting with the whole project team, and suddenly you see your name on a task that you had totally forgotten about. As soon as the person running the meeting clicks down to that line in the spreadsheet, you know that all eyes will be on you and you scramble to think of a convincing explanation.
I used to loathe those spreadsheets that sit on Sharepoint and you have to remember to update in the few minutes before the meeting. (Hilariously, you could see that there were typically half a dozen people in there at the same time, all scrambling to make changes before we all traipsed into the boardroom). The good news is that there is a better way.
Digital project management is not intended to revolutionize how projects are managed. You don’t need to send everyone back to school to tell them that everything they have been doing to date is wrong and they need to start all over again. It is simply the ability to digitize an existing process.
Take that terrifying “bi-weekly action meeting” for example. The meeting itself still needs to be done, and the critical internal communication between the stakeholders still happens. The key difference is in the mechanics of how you manage the tasks. Get rid of that old spreadsheet with all its filters, and replace it with a digital tool like O3’s ONTarget.
Essentially, it’s a checklist on steroids, housed in an environment intended for collaboration. (I cringe every time I hear someone use the term “Excel database”).
Then you can extend this concept of digital project management to other critical areas, which become especially powerful when there are multiple stakeholder groups involved. And again, you aren’t changing what is done, you are just digitizing how it is done.
None of these tasks are revolutionary on their own. But by digitizing your processes, especially in the early project phases, you get your team used to working in a collaborative online database tool and you simplify the early change management. Then, when you’re ready to move on to executing Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), you are already part of the way there.
Ditch Excel. There is a better way.