GradDip in Management (Learning) related blog post
Module BSBRES801A – Initiate & Lead Applied Research
I’ll be digging about some ways to capture data, collaborate on analysis, and make sure personal identification doesn’t sneak through when reporting on the problem as a whole. Because there are so many technology tools that can be used, and analysing all the varieties of software isn’t my goal, I’ll just be picking on a few instead – and be looking for integration!
Gathering Resultant Data, Analysis, and Results
There are some great programs around that encompass the needs of the teams analysing, writing results, keeping in touch with all team members in a way that is private but still cloud-based and easy to use.
Knowledge and Document Management and the ability to also hold the discussions around these items, in a systematic way – dividing into sub-projects, for example – is of high importance.
The team members being able to get into, not only their own documents, but being able to search other parts of the project, allowing transparency throughout the project team also helps build the community and collaboration. Having a ‘login box’ that can be added to any other webpage means you can have that link from the Organisation’s Front Page, or whereever it might be best placed – then team members won’t have to remember more, or complex, URLs.
Being able to get an easy overview, set delegations, to-do lists, action items, due dates, etc means that you won’t have to use a separate program to ‘run’ the project/time/resource management as well. You might run multiple projects or need to separate sensitive parts of the overall project – you need the capability to have people attached to certain projects, and not be able to run freely over everything you might be using the software for.
Cloud-based, with useful iPhone & Android Apps, means that you can keep touch from the airport, or comment on an update while waiting for a meeting. Security is vital at this point as well. You don’t want people outside of the project (such as internal IT or admin staff) from being able to access the private discussions or personal information. External servers is preferred.
I’m going to pick on BaseCamp for this task.
Personnel Data, Storage of Raw Data, Interview Data
Next is how we can store private, personal information and discussions – including qualitative data – from not only staff but also external stakeholders. Integration with other systems, and the ability to create Groups of team members with different levels of access to the details are highly ranked.
Ability to keep private notes (private by person, or by group), storage of emails and their attachments, and documents relating to are also ranked.
The usefulness of an external ‘cloud’ service and security is perhaps even more important then the Project software.
Results & Reporting
I am under the belief that ‘Management’, up to and including C-suite, speaks in graphs, diagrams and bulletpoints.
Because of this, my next tool, for communication to Management, is two pieces of common office software. Spreadsheets, and Presentations.
Spreadsheets allow all quantitative data to be massaged into forecast numbers, graphs, and make sense of numbers. Excel. It’s a word that strikes terror into ‘people-people’, but it creates things that Managers adore and understand.
Presentations let you tell the story around the data, contextualising it, by using tables and graphs from the Spreadsheets and adding things like flow, process, hierarchical diagrams – you can help the time-poor, often productivity-focused, Managers understand. Because it works so brilliantly with diagrams, and imports from Excel, and also is readily available to the general populous – I’m voting on PowerPoint for this.
Save these into Basecamp!
It costs money to collect, analyse and report on projects – personnel and technology resources can help with this.
Could it be done on paper? – yes. Could it be done with free software/open source? – sure. I’m pretty sure you could find many other ways to adapt other media and software to do this task. Your organisation might already have software (such as Sharepoint) that it wants you to use.
These tools are my suggestion for what can save time, keep the project on track, maintain security around personal and project data, and for ease of use by the project members. And perhaps that last one is the most important. If the tools do not work easily, or how people expect, they will build systems to get around it – and then you lose the community, tracking and security.
[symple_highlight color=”yellow”]DISCLAIMER: I pay for a Microsoft Office subscription, I’ve been using their software for years, they do not own my soul. And I haven’t used Basecamp or Highrise yet. I’ve spoken with some people using it, and have read reviews online in order to get this information. No money has changed hands between myself and either software companies (except for my MS Office subscription).[/symple_highlight]