BBN has taken project management and collaboration to a new level: into the cloud. With all of the disparate locations around the globe, they had incredible inefficiencies in simply managing projects due to files being saved locally, getting lost, not being shared, etc. Additionally, they had to respond to FCC re-licensing initiatives manually and in paper form, which was “burying” them in paper.
In response, they shifted to online management of projects, including their IT department. Now, when a change is made to a project timeline, all necessary parties are automatically notified, which is incredibly powerful. However, there is a potential downside to this – if you want to manage the messaging to more senior members of the organization, this would need to be done before the change is made in the system so that they do not feel like they are getting any “nasty surprises” in their inbox.
Another piece that is interesting, is that they are not only managing the project, but the project documents in the cloud. This can be one of the hardest pieces to change within an organization. Individuals are used to their own naming convention on their own hard drives, and it is incredibly challenging to get everyone to “speak the same language” when truly collaborating on files in the cloud.
Collaboration, while not a specific “line” in classic project management, is critical. Since so many documents are created and shared with the proliferation of technology, the need to manage versions and share information quickly is becoming essential. With the processes and software that BBN has put in-place, they seem to have done this successfully.
Another aspect of this is that the sizes of inboxes are not getting any smaller, but files are getting bigger. This is making collaboration even more essential as people more frequently end up in “email jail”. If collaboration software is used successfully, this happens much less frequently since the sizes of emails shrink exponentially when links to files are used versus attachments.
Project managers and teams are facing: wider range of locations for team members, larger file sizes, greater regulations, increasing cost and efficiency pressures, and tighter timelines. Its the trifecta of “do more with less”, and to do more with less, we need to do things differently – which is what BBN has done.
What did not come through explicitly in the article (but is likely a key success factor for them): tools do not do our jobs for us, but they help us do them better. BBN is a smaller company, so were likely able to deal with the change management issues easier – but they were able to overcome them.