Skip the Scramble: Project Management Solutions Save the Day

by Clare Briner
Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL

The day’s schedule is full. You’ll be bouncing from one meeting to another, putting out random fires via email and hopefully getting some “real work” done along the way. Then comes a call from a vice president asking for the last three years of the college’s annual report and a copy of the newest strategic plan to be sent via email to a stakeholder as soon as possible.

Calls like that can easily send a marketing and communications team scrambling. Who designed the piece? What is it named? Where are the files located? Who can access the files? Are the files final? Can they be easily sent via email?

What on the surface seems like (and should be) a simple request could easily hijack an already busy day. But, wait, project management solution to the rescue!

This real-life request was fulfilled within minutes without the battery of questions and without engaging anyone else in the department thanks to a well-designed and well-utilized project management solution. In fact, not just three, but four years of annual reports were located within a keystroke and can be shared via a link for download instead of clogging up email servers with wildly large PDF files.

Moraine Valley Community College’s marketing and communications team selected and implemented “Teamwork” as its project management solution in 2015. Its adoption continues to be one of the most meaningful and wide-reaching enhancements to the department’s work.

Whether you’re looking for a project management solution, want to improve an existing workflow or want a healthier relationship with the solution you have, here are Moraine Valley’s suggestions to make the most of it:

  • Be formulaic and follow your own rules. Developing process documentation and setting expectations for unified usage isn’t fun work, but it’s necessary and requires engagement of everyone who uses the solution.
  • Naming conventions are critical. Consistent numbering and coding will pay dividends. Similarly, final and web- and/or print-ready files must be identified as such.
  • You get out of it, what you put into it. Your future self will thank your past self for not shortcutting details on a project. Since a lot of projects are repeated semester-to-semester or year-to-year, including details on what to do differently for the next cycle positions you for a better outcome.
  • Give skeptics time. Not everyone is eager to change how they manage their work, or to do it in such a transparent way. As soon as they personally feel the benefit of the solution, they’ll be singing its praises.
  • And, finally, celebrate the wins. Don’t let moments when the project management solution saved the day, like the one mentioned above, go unnoticed. The “wins” are great reminders of how important the solution is to the team’s efficiency and success.

Clare Briner is director of marketing and communications at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois. 

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