3 fixes for project managements Achilles heel

| By:
Mark Sokol

Your biggest customer arrives in 5 minutes for her first project progress update. Your project manager had a family emergency and won’t be coming in today. You can’t find the latest client notes on the shared drive, and no one else on the project team seems to have a full snapshot of where the project sits. Sound familiar?

It doesn’t matter how stellar your project manager is if you’re completely lost the moment they leave the office. Using one person’s brain as the knowledge bank for projects is a recipe for embarrassment. Sooner or later, they’re going to be unavailable when you need them most.  With a professional service automation tool, all communications sent through the system are documented and dropped in one central, searchable location, making it painless to locate project updates.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to sit in terror anxiously awaiting the moment your PM will fail you. Breathe! We’ve got three fixes that enable you to take a proactive approach:

1. Centralize information.

How can you find what you’re looking for if you don’t know where to look? Task a member of your team with developing naming conventions for folders and files so anyone in the company can quickly find needed information. Or step it up a notch, and invest in a system that centralizes and organizes information for you.

2. Explain the value of centralization to your team.

People are often resistant to change unless you explain the value behind the transition. One study suggests you can realize a 93% acceptance rate by simply including the word “because” in your request.

  • Bad: “Effective December 1, we will all begin centralizing new project information in database X.”
  • Good: “Because we’re dedicated to reducing the amount of time it takes to locate key customer information, beginning December 1, we will centralize new project information in database X.”

3. Put the right information in the centralized database.

Develop or borrow a recap form to capture all important information discussed with the client. By keeping all important client details in one location, you’ll enable your team to more efficiently locate all project-related communication details, saving your team valuable time.

Once information is centralized, you can give your bottom line a growth spurt by using the Data-Driven Approach below.

The Data Drive Approach to Project Management