I met Dux Raymond Sy a year or two ago while doing some work for Bamboo Solutions. Dux is an expert in leveraging technology to enhance project management. He is the author of SharePoint for Project Management.
What is SharePoint? For those of you living in a cave, SharePoint allows individuals within an organization to quickly and easily create and manage their own collaboration websites. Once SharePoint is part of your organization, there is no need to ever call IT for support or to set up permissions. Individuals are empowered to define and manage access to specific information. SharePoint is pretty slick and it is often overlooked as a project management tool.
I read the book because I believe most marketing failures can be traced back to failures of project management. I wanted to see how SharePoint could be used to quickly manage marketing projects and help my clients avoid marketing project failure.
Don’t get me wrong. There is no shortage of great project management tools. ProjectCompanion. Microsoft Project Server. Primavera. Basecamp. ProjectTurf. But many people don’t know that they probably already have SharePoint running somewhere within their organization. When budgets are tight, leveraging technology that you already have can help stretch a strained budget.
I emailed Dux to get a better understanding of some of the essential capabilities marketing managers should look for when evaluating project management tools. His response was succinct:
· Supports the generation of a project charter, schedule and budget
· Facilitates communication and feedback
· Monitors project activities
· Controls project changes
· Analyzes and forecasts project performance
· Disseminates project status to relevant stakeholders
· Provides real time information essential for initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing a project
In response to my question: “When should a marketing manager start thinking about using a project management tool,” he responded:
1) No standardized systems for integrating project goals: project schedule, cost and quality objectives are individual silos. For example, financial information in Excel is not automatically recalculated anytime the project schedule is adjusted. Making manual updates takes time away from other project activities.
2) Inefficient document management: project documents are not stored in a central location. Tracking, undoing changes, and the ability to roll-back to prior versions are limited. Additionally, varying levels of access permissions are unavailable. IT/IS can only do so much in supporting information access requirements.
3) Lack of appropriate tools to facilitate team collaboration: Project information is not accessible anytime, anywhere. In addition, the team is incapable of developing or working with information at the same time.
4) Inability to report accurate and timely status of the project: project status information is only available whenever the project manager makes it available. How do you deal with project sponsors who want to view real time project status information?
5) Not achieving organizational strategic goals: lacking a standardized tool to facilitate consistent project management processes throughout an organization can limit the ability to effectively support strategic goals.
Any marketing manager should quickly realize that these five issues alone more than justify the need for investment in reliable project management tools. Dux’s book gives a deep dive for any marketing manager investigating how to use SharePoint to better manage his or her department. Pick it up at Amazon.