Home > Uncategorized > Use case – Effective Project team collaboration

Use case – Effective Project team collaboration

There are numerous tools not only for project management, but also for project team collaboration. But when I look at well regarded tools like Basecamp or Projectplace, it amazes me how they regard conversations as a separate artifact or category along with to-do’s, documents and the likes. That is not natural. Conversations or discussions is an integral part of any project work and should be a function of any project artifact on any level.

Any results, content or intelligence the project team produces is achieved with collaborative effort, and the tool should reflect that. So anything need to be discussed and developed together, from requirement phase all the way down to delivery and project close. And the real value is that it is all recorded and can be followed/traced. This is the more impsortant today when results are reached applying agile methods, where emergence and continuous improvement is the norm rather than comprehensive upfront specifications.

I would say that a natural project team collaboration tool should look more like this:

Isn’t this a lot more natural?  It’s the task/issue/case that is in focus and everything plays around these and all is connected/linked in a natural manner.

This follows the (also natural) pattern of case focus outlined in  To make the knowledge worker productive

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2012-09-27 at 14:50

    I will take issue with the diagram — it looks too much like the classic top-down version that we’re used to. A more ‘conversational’ piece would have the tasks at the top.

  2. 2012-09-28 at 04:56

    Paula, thanks for response, but you got to explain that one better to me.
    The illustrations just represents a traditional way of organizing work. Tasks are bulked into groups to achieve a milestone or a (sub)delivery or a user story, and the milestones are there to achieve project goals. My point was not the hierarchy, but to stress the interactions that happens and are recorded on any level.

    But I agree, in illustrations I kind of mix project artifacts here (meeting notes, requirements, issues, etc.) with ways of organizing work (tasks are grouped under milestones/delieveries/user stories that are grouped under project). But again the point is on any level, on any activity in the project we talk, we discuss, we collaborate. And the least I would think a project collaboration tool should do is to naturally/easily integrate all of these conversations as part of these activities.

    Microsoft’s VS/TFS is actually a good example of this – at least on the task level. Well, at any development of task, including understanding and giving input to the task, you leave comments/questions in the history log and any changes are tracked. However (coming from Microsoft) TFS is not a native web tool, ie it doesn’t natively use the web connection abilities.

    On a Twitter respons (https://twitter.com/jordanfrank/status/251300165087014913), Jordan of course points out the ability of Traction Teampage to achieve this conversational recording on any level / artifact / activity. And that’s true, and it amazes me that not more tool vendors think about / delivers this. However Teampage has the underlying engine, but still has some more to delver with regards to top level user functionality and flexibility ( Teampage delivers one set of project/milestone/task user functionality/panels, but no other sets or flexibility to organize this as user (into a full wbs f.ex with more levels, or call it user stories in stead of milestones, use sub-milestones, etc. etc).

  3. 2012-10-01 at 22:15

    Hi Rolf – Probably too much to cover on the various points of flexibility. But, a few points to further the thinking here:

    – Right, there is no Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). However, you can customize the Task form if additional fields are required for your use case.

    – You make great points about needing conversation around tasks. Most platforms fail to give you the tools around tasks that you may want. TeamPage has threaded discussions of course, and treats tasks as “wiki” type pages that can be linked to, can be tagged, support rich text editing, and have a complete edit history including ability to revert to previous versions.

    – There’s more than Project / Milestone / Task in that one can add and link in Articles, Events, Documents to projects.

    – Tasks don’t have to be connected to Projects or Milestones, so you are not bound to that sort of structure. In your chart, they are subordinate to Milestones and Projects – but all too often tasks are misc. or tasks may associate to a Project but aren’t yet allocated to a milestone.

    – In your chart, one rigidity is all the milestones are subordinate to a Project. What if you have multiple projects that share a common set of milestones? We support that. And support the ability for the milestones to be in any space, not just the project’s space.

    – You talk about User Stories. A User Story could be conveyed as an Article with Tasks on it or Milestones could be User Stories themselves. If I were doing Scrum in TeamPage, I might make User Story tasks, then add Development tasks to the User Stories. When assigning a Task to a Sprint, I would edit the tasks to associate them to a Project or Milestone (depending on whether you want to use a Milestone for each sprint, or divide up the sprint into milestones within a Project.

    – There’s immense flexibility in ways to present tasks in dashboard sections and “section tables” depending on how they are tagged. One customer recently created a page with sections to break tasks down by Requirements (their User Stories, effectively), Risks, Opportunities, Gaps, Development Scripts. As such, the page and its sections are able to replace the god awful word document approach to writing a big project document. For more on section tables, see http://traction.tractionsoftware.com/traction/permalink/Blog1312. They’ve since been enhanced to allow you to show task Start/Due dates and other meta data.

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