My first exposure to multi-site, “serious” project management was in 1995 at Bengaluru (which had a name Bangalore at that time), the Silicon valley of India. My client was at Austin, Texas. I had visited their site for few months for requirements gathering. (and shocked to see people driving in the “wrong” side). After the requirements were gathered I was back in Bangalore managing a team of software developers.
The client wanted full control over the project. Every week we send elaborate reports followed weekly calls. In addition we transferred the code to Austin every night so that the client side engineers have visibility of the changes.
Fast forward 20 years, now we are maturing in managing globally dispersed team. In my last consulting assignment, we had geographically distributed team of consultants. Each one of us was self-managing independent process improvement streams.
We had installed DropBox to manage our documentation. One of the benefits (or annoyance, depending upon how you look at it) is the status update balloons when someone changes the document. It gave the entire team an up-to-date status of the project progress. Though we cannot guess how much work has been accomplished, we could gather the areas that are progressing.
Easy, free of cost, works on all major platforms, what else one could ask?
Well, there is a risk associated with it! Here is the statement from DropBox on July 31,2012 ( Agarwal 2012):
“Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts. We’ve contacted these users and have helped them protect their accounts.
A stolen password was also used to access an employee Dropbox account containing a project document with user email addresses. We believe this improper access is what led to the spam. We’re sorry about this, and have put additional controls in place to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
This is a timely reminder of using cloud computing services. A simple workaround can be to encrypt the sensitive documents before storing or password-protect the individual documents. However, you will realise that the features of the cloud services are so attractive, the organisations often overlook the risks associated with the services.
Dropbox is a simple way of collaboration and status tracking. It is not a project management tool. Dropbox may be ideal for small project, self managing projects where a typical project management tool set can be an overkill. However if we are considering any structured project management methodology, we cannot underestimate the need for project management tools. There are different areas in which cloud computing is affecting the project management discipline by providing different tool sets. The vast range of features available in this toolsets, are amazing. Few years back, in the traditional licensing model, these features were available only to big players due to the cost.
Another important factor that could benefit the business is the “pay as you go” model. By definition, Projects are temporary. If you are a business, looking to execute few projects in a year you may “hire” any tool that fits the bill for the duration of the project.
Finally you are not locked to one tool. Let us say, you are a Government agency running multiple projects. You will subscribe to a Portfolio Management tool. You also want to coordinate a major in-house event. Instead of using this Portfolio Management tool, you will subscribe to dedicated planning tool that supports event management template, say for 3 months. Your additional cost? Possibly around $60. Unbelievable!
I have classified the Project Management tools in 5 categories. The categories are:
Of course, there is a significant overlap between the features between the categories.
If you want to just see the list of project management tools, you can view them here:
In the next blogs, I will elaborate the salient features of each category and give example of tools in each category.
Kloudax is a portal that provides an overview of the cloud market that enables the business to see “what is out there”. Kloudax provides a categorized service directory and additional tools that empowers to take informed decisions. It also includes an introductory e-learning course complete with audio and self-assessment.
The portal is still evolving. Please do provide feedback. If you think some cloud providers are missing, please let us know. If you wish to add any features that will be useful to you, please provide feedback.
Did I tell you that it is all free?
Visit Kloudax at:
Agarwal. A (2012) Security update & new features – The Dropbox Blog. [online] Available at: http://blog.dropbox.com/index.php/security-update-new-features/ [Accessed: 2 Aug 2012]. Bottom of Form
Agile Manifesto (2001) Manifesto for Agile Software Development. [online] Available at: http://agilemanifesto.org/ [Accessed: 8 Aug 2012].