I was reading some articles recently regarding what companies are doing to collaborate, not just with their team, but with their company and clients. Project management and collaboration software is becoming more mainstream as technology has advanced allowing more tasks to be automated as well as making it much easier for teams to work together remotely.
I came across an article from CIO talking about a large upswing in companies with 1,000 employees or more that will be implementing a formal collaboration technology strategy for 2008. This was from a survey taken from Forrester Research and shows that the value of proper collaboration tools are starting to really penetrate the market, which should help to spur strides in social technologies even more.
If you are reading this blog then there is a good chance you know that the company I work for (Falafel Software) is well known for software consulting within several different market verticals. We have seen how teams work together, which tools are most often used, and have asked our clients what their ideal solutions would be. Many of these companies have some sort of project management/collaboration software that they have purchased at some point but have never really utilized for various reasons and seem to fall back on simple tools which everyone has and is familiar with, such as Outlook and Excel. We began to ask our Clients why and consistently received the following answers:
- Need for a web-based solution. It is hard to collaborate with teams in various locations when your app prevents you from connecting online.
- Speed! Many of the apps were too slow and prevented productivity (especially web apps).
- Complexity. The learning curve can be sharp on many complex applications and made it hard to get everyone on board, which defeated the purpose.
- Customizability. While the software seemed to work fairly well for a specific purpose, as projects evolved it did not allow them to modify the environment.
We had many of the same issues within our own company and decided to leverage our talented architects and developers to provide a solution. The result was a great web-app called ActiveFocus (just released in March '08). I know this is a bit of a shameless plug, but I have to admit ActiveFocus truly did address many of the concerns our clients faced and provided our own company with a project management tool that our developers actually enjoyed using. We gave it an outlook feel so that people would be comfortable with it from the get go, as well as engineered it with surprising speed (so much that many people we gave a demo to were not aware it was even a web-app). It also adapts to just about any industry (such as real estate, medical, construction, law, etc..), not just software.
If it sounds of interest, I would encourage you to check out the Demo.
Now on to the title question, How do YOU collaborate? I am interested in finding out what people out there have used or are using for project management and team collaboration. What works for you, what doesn't, what would you like to see? Please post a reply and tell me your thoughts.