Bridging the Divide between Internal and External Project Teams

by Karl Mamer - Published on 12/29/2009 11:06 AM

Working with project teams inside and outside of office boundaries is becoming increasingly popular and as businesses strive to cut costs, both teams need to work more efficiently without as much face time.  This can be difficult for many companies that may not have the proper tools in place to get the job done right.

Projects often have many documents that need to be passed back and forth between project team members.  If some of your project teams are outside of your office walls, collating, binding and shipping these documents can become rather costly and dealing with various workflows in how a document is passed on from individual to individual can become very time consuming.  Sure you can send files via email, but if doing so, one must make sure that file types are something that everyone can open - like a PDF.

What would be even better than sending PDF files back and forth through email, would be to keep all documents centralized  in one environment that can be accessed by any member of the team from anywhere in the world.  When deciding to collaborate with your project teams using a specialized system, make sure that a document repository is part of it.

Another area where projects suffer when both external and internal teams are required is in communication and access to information.  With external project teams, there is always a chance that some teams will not be in the same time zone as others.  In this case it is very difficult to get all team members working together at the same time.  Fortunately Web-conferencing has now enabled work teams to be able to quickly get a meeting together without the need for repetitive travel.  But what about other forms of communication and the access to information that is required at various times throughout the day where not everyone will be available?

A web-based project management system should allow all team members to have access to a list of tasks that are to be performed where statuses of tasks are readily available with any notes that have been made.  A list of call logs that may have occurred across project teams is handy for a quick review of what may have been discussed with one project team that may be related to project stages or tasks of other project teams.  You may also have a need for several project teams to see and review a list of email communications that have gone out regarding the project.  With all of this information stored and available for anyone at any time over the web, the divide between internal and external teams begins to shrink.

Access to information is really where the main problem lies and the speed at which one can gain access to information can be correlated to delays in the project timeline.  If project teams make use of a web-based project management system, not only will they always have access to important information regarding a project, but they will also be able to quickly run reports on any details that are captured within the system to aid in decision making and overall success of projects.

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