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How to Reduce the Cost of Delivering your Projects

The cost of delivering projects is increasing due to costly meetings and travel.

This article shows one way to dramatically reduce the time and costs incurred in communicating to members of your project team and at the same time improve the effectiveness of your project delivery.

Project management typically uses technology in 2 areas: project planning and monitoring (eg MS Project) and time management. These can be regarded as process management.

But what about other areas of project management? Perhaps the most important area of all is communication:

  • Discussing stakeholder requirements
  • Assessing risks
  • Developing project estimates
  • Defining project scope
  • Communicating progress
  • User acceptance
  • Knowledge transfer

TIME IS MONEY
Historically, the bread and butter of project communications was the project meeting ( in its many guises - kick-off, review, acceptance). As more organisations are spread geographically with delivery partners spread across the globe, it becomes increasingly expensive to run these meetings. Communication channels fall back to email and telephone, but these have inherent problems:

  • Email does not permit instant feedback (a reply some time later means you have to recall what your thoughts were when you sent the original email)
  • Telephone calls don't work very well with people with a visual style of thinking (what you are talking about might be different to how I visualise it).

NEW TECHNOLOGIES IMPROVE PROJECT COMMUNICATIONS
The internet provides the basis for some new collaborative tools and these tools are being used increasingly to support project delivery.

GotoMeeting is an online service provided by Citrix. Basically, GotoMeeting enables a group of people with internet access to share their laptop screens and even talk (using Voice over IP although you can also use the telephone). The impact of this can be enormous. Project meetings no longer rely on spending time to plan the meeting, travel to it and then collate the results. Think of delivering projects faster, cheaper and more effective.

A TYPICAL PROJECT SCENARIO - PROJECT PROGRESS
3 business locations, 2 suppliers

Everyone logs on to the GotoMeeting session. The organiser records the whole session and makes it available to the participants for reference.

The project manager goes through a brief Powerpoint presentation to summarise progressBusiness Management Articles, issues and any new information.

Presentation control is now handed over to one of the supppliers who shows his MS Project plan to the group and discusses a slippage. The group discuss the nature of the slippage and the impact. A technical question is asked and the supplier brings in his technical expert to answer the query (the technical expert can be brought into the meeting quickly as he is in the supplier's building).

With the previous issue explained the other supplier announces a work-around so that his delivery dates do not slip.

The meeting continues to focus on specific issues and their solution. After the meeting ends the participants move on to their other work.

The meeting lasts an hour - but no-one spends time travelling afterwards!

This is a simple example but think about how project life could be easier for you using this approach:

  • Immediate and effective progress with your project
  • No time wasted in travelling
  • No travelling costs
  • Questions answered immediately and understood by the group
  • Immediately move to your next task after the meeting


... and you have reduced your company's carbon footprint!


CONCLUSION
The economy is forcing organisations to make progress at a lower cost. Collaborative conference tools such as GotoMeeting can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of project delivery and a big reduction in project costs.

GotoMeeting isn't a big ticket service - it currently costs less than $50 per month for unlimited meetings. That's probably the real cost of a 10 minute phonecall between 2 managers.

Altica have been using the service for 3 years for presentations and project updates and have seen what a difference it can make. See our website for more information.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Graham Perry is an IT professional based in the UK. He is owner and Managing Director of Altica - http://www.altica.co.uk/.

Further details about GotoMeeting can be found HERE



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