The team collaboration problem during SAP Projects – a solution & a question
This blog aims to briefly remind the Project Management community of a common pain point during SAP Project Management and then offer a solution that seem to resolve the same. However there is an open question at the end requesting you to share your experience while adopting the likes of the proposed solution.
One of the challenges that I have seen during SAP Projects is that there is always the question of how to get the team members to Collaborate.
The Pain Points-
1. Information flow management – typically emails flowing around reminds me of the n(n-1)/2 communication channels that the teams open up. n being the number of team members. So that puts it at a figure of 30 channels of communication in a team strength of 6 people!
If a new team member comes on board, retrospectively getting him back into loop with mails already sent around is a time consuming task for some module leads too.
2. Document repository – A common place where the documents can be stored. Typically the customer network access is a difficult case to easily work around. When you have new team members joining randomly, you need a PMO resource to try and get their access to the repository to facilitate the resource to even get started in some cases. You may also have classic cases of the project team being constituted by contractors, employees and even customer team members. So an internal collaboration tool also sometimes hit a roadblock.
3. Reporting & Dashboarding – Project Communication Plan typically incorporates an exercise to identify what reports will be created, the stakeholders and the choice of formats & KPIs to be disseminated. Compiling the reports running after multiple team leads is another challenge.
4. Issue Logs & Defects – There is also a challenge in how to manage issues, assign the tasks to specific team and get the response on time, collate all updates into 1 place so that you could easily get to know what issues are open etc is not only time consuming, but also zapping to team members who are being chased for updates. Not least, this will start off another set of emails to the involved stakeholders.
When I recently starting working on creating a Cloud based support team that needed to collaborate with external customers, onsite resources and virtually located colleagues I was introduced to asana. It was a pleasant surprise to read about the company being founded by ex-facebook employees & know that companies like dropbox, airbnb & Uber use asana for employee collaboration.
The tool resolves all of the above mentioned problems.
You could create different Workspaces for different teams and then create tasks for the workspaces, assign owners to the workspaces – typically leads and still be able to go to a Dashboard where you will clearly see the progress report of each teams.
Mails are totally gone and the entire task management comes up with such a “facebooky” style of collaboration that it brings in the freshness of a startup company to your projects.
You could easily add people who are employees, contractors or just anyone who has an email address. This makes it so agile in terms of being able to accommodate the diversity of the project team.
One of the amazing thing about the tool is that being in the “Open” league of Cloud products 10s of companies have created supporting applications that seamlessly integrate with asana. In addition to innovative solutions around managing projects like “Templates” to manage “repetitive tasks” as projects templates or even task templates, you have different value added services available with the product.
Surely there is a cost involved. But being a Cloud product itself it is based on a subscription model and the ROI in terms of cluttered & scattered information I guess it is one of the best tool that exists today.
asana – could be a solution to the whole challenge of employee collaboration in SAP projects.
In a Cloud like environment I am investigating possibilities of being able to adopt the tool. I am almost certain from the initial discussions that the tool has impressed many stakeholders. The time will tell me if it will be adopted.
However the question is – as Project Managers do you think in an SAP Customer implementation project such a collaboration tool will be approved by all stakeholders? Have you tried to use such products in the past? In case there is a challenge to the data security, can it be possible to collaborate without putting in a lot of the “confidential” stuff up their on the cloud? please do let me know too. Maybe it will help the challenge of team collaboration for a lot of project managers in the SAP world!!!
Happy Project Management there! 🙂