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Why You Need a Project Management System

By Alex Moore

Who uses project management? Every industry! Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. No matter what industry you may be in, every business has goals and organizes teams to meet those goals. How you organize, plan, and execute work for those teams is where project management can help. Depending on the resources available to a team, time or fiscal, the project management devices and strategies can vary.

One of the simplest and often first methods to management is with a task list on paper. Typically, because most business have access to paper and folders, the documents, meeting notes, tasks, and reports quickly become bundled into a paper project management system. Take for example the recent history of the medical services industry. While paper project management may be quick to implement and easy to adopt it can present some serious challenges for teams. You may have heard the old quip that "paper can't be hacked", while this is true it also speaks to a serious drawback for teams - access. To be able to review your project management documents you have to have physical access to the documents. This also means that allowing multiple people to access the documents at the same time is very difficult. What would happen if key documents are locked in the manager's office when they are not available?

Teams are powerful and often find a way to get around Access and Collaboration issues to move the project forward by using group meetings, shared photo copies, or presentations. During these sessions we can run into a few additional difficulties trying to maintain consistency, privacy, repeatability. A critical tenant of successful project management is having accurate and up to date data. If during a group presentation some project documents need to be updated, those updates would not be reflected onto any copies or communicated to team member not present. Likewise sharing access to a document is all or nothing. Once you can open a folder or look at the project pin board you can view everything whether it is pertinent to your role or not, which greatly affects privacy and security. During many projects there are often tasks that need to be executed multiple times, attempting to repeat tracking or documentation on paper can be frustrating. Finally gathering the resources, people, and time to share information in paper project plans is rather expensive causing friction in Repeat activities.

How can I fix this?

Digital Tracking for project management and collaboration is able to address most if not all of the above pain points. While traditionally digital products were industry specific or required a technical culture to be successful the Atlassian Tools have been designed to help all teams. Let's see how leveraging Jira, an issue tracker, and Confluence, a wiki documentation tool, can resolve or improve many aspects of project management.

Collaboration. Working in a digital environment allows all members of your team to view your project documents and tasks on their own devices, hold remote meetings, and work together. Jira enable all team members to view dashboards, reports, and work items from a central location then make changes as needed and permitted. Confluence lets team member share ideas and documents in a dedicate space, and edit documents together in real time. Using comments on Jira issues or Confluence pages helps to facilitate communication directly on the document to be discussed.

Consistency. With the Atlassian Tools any change made to a document, report, dashboard, or work item is instantly saved and reflected in the tool so that all team members will be working from the most up to date information. Jira issues and Confluence pages also track historical activity so team member can view any changes made before them and who made those changes.

Process. The Atlassian Tools were originally designed as an issue tracker for software development and they can use those process ideas to help organize the work and flow of your team. Jira can replace sticky notes with a Kanban board to track work items from beginning to end. Leveraging roles and groups helps to keep team members organized and informed of critical events.

Privacy. Digital recognizes that making data easily accessible also means making sure it is properly secured. Atlassian tools use comprehensive permission schemes, page restrictions, and access rules to make sure team member have access to what they need and only what they need.

Reportability. A strong benefit of using the Atlassian Tools is in the design of how they store data on work items and communicate with all parts of the system. This structure allows managers to generate reports based on any piece of data captured and then display those reports out to Confluence wiki pages or in live dashboards.

Repeatable. Once you are able to identify repeatable tasks you can leverage Jira features to "automate" those tasks, or configure a process to streamline the needed actions. In a digital environment hosting regular meetings using Templates in Confluence can greatly reduce the effort to collaborate with team members.

Can I make the switch?

The Atlassian Tools provide you with several guiding options when starting to help with quick tool deployment. However, the real strength of Atlassian Tools is in the application and process customizations available. Remember that the tools work for your business, not the other way around. Working with Atlassian Partners like the Platinum level Professional Services Team at Contegix can help you identify the business needs of your team and ensure that the tools support and promote your process and methods.

When engaging with new customers the Contegix Professional Services team performs in depth discovery session with your team and business stakeholders to identify the best solutions unique for your company and process. We are able to schedule these sessions either remotely using video conferencing tools, or by sending our Solution Engineers and Consultants on-site to your business.

We make sure to work with the customer in every step of the process to ensure that all goals are being met. While you may have direct contact with a small selection of consultants during your engagement, they are leveraging the combined experience diverse backgrounds of the entire Contegix organization. This allows us to find quick and unique solutions to your needs without forcing your team into a prepackaged solution.

We also want to make sure you love using the Atlassian Tools as much as we do. So, we want you to understand what is going on under the hood, as much as you are comfortable with, as we are designing and building your solution. We feel that is it critical that after our engagement ends you are comfortable managing your new tool and are able to shape it as your team's need change.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business.