Cloud-Based Project Management

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.


4 thoughts on “Cloud-Based Project Management

  1. I believe that automating the project management processes would add more benefit to the organization in comparison to the old way, also centralizing the document management for the projects will reduce the total size of exchanged documents. But the challenge here, and especially in big enterprises, is how to effectively manage these centralized documents and keep them up to date.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts on cloud-based project management.

    To me this technology wull take sometime to establish. As in my company we have recently started a similar sort of project management technique, where we are supposed to work on a documents and upload it on the system and then again check it out to update. In this way the report is always in the cloud and accessible to all its authorized users. People are taking sometime to digest such tech nology, as some say its time consuming, some say its not comfortable etc etc. Most importantly, because of that reason most of the seniors are not willingly adopting and are allowing juniors to keep working the old way.

    Also its a new technology so would take time to get perfect.

  3. Great example of using digital tools for coordination of large projects, thanks for sharing! This article helped me reflect on my own team’s use of project management tools. We are currently using a combination of Basecamp ( and Excel sheets to achieve BBN’s centralized approach. A few members have left the company since the project began, however since we have Basecamp there are digital records of their tasks that new members have been able to pick up and complete. Therefore these kind of digital repositories are extremely beneficial to the project life cycle in that the institutional knowledge from the project is saved rather than being lost due to attrition or a project ending.

    While these kinds of tools can certainly facilitate processes within a project I agree with the previous comments that monitoring the system is necessary. If someone isn’t overseeing the organization of documents, or addressing issues new users are having, the system can quickly become hard to navigate. We are currently facing this issue with Basecamp where multiple team members have attempted to create calendar reminders. Unfortunately this overload of calendar items has prevented us from being able to focus on high-level dates.

  4. Good example of using latest technology. I think cloud based tool used by BBN added a lot of benefits to the project management, I believe that this tool simplify the process by providing some collaboration features, send notifications, automated workflows, files sharing, keep updated documents in one place, also this tool may reduce the time used to install a software on all stakeholders machine. On the other hand, companies who are going to use cloud based technology for project management should consider the security as a risk, since all the project documents are saved in a cloud, also they should consider the down time as another risk.

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