In my research on the benefits of project management and work management, I have thought a lot about the power of collaboration not only on projects, but on project processes, methodologies, and frameworks. While it is obvious that there is power in collaboration to get work done, I would like to consider the power of collaboration on “how” that work gets done. After all the “how” is ultimately what carries projects through their life cycle.

To bring this discussion to a very focused level, I would like to discuss the benefit of collaboration on the “tools” of managing the “how.” In less complicated, less opaque terms, I mean the things like project management templates, project cycle management, software etc., where the actual processes are managed. While project management software effectively directs the project, and the methodology effectively directs the project processes, the project management templates change the way in which the project management software uses methodologies to direct projects and their processes.

This is a lot to think about, so, let me provide a metaphor. A project is like cutting an apple. The methodology is the way you slice it, and the software is the knife that slices the apple. The there’s the apple slicer, a very specific knife which makes exact cuts all around the apple in one downward motion. Like the apple cutter, with software that creates and customizes templates, project managers can hone in on projects with extreme focus to its individual characteristics.

Let me bring you back to the crux of my argument: the power of collaboration on templates. If project teams are equipped with means of web-based collaboration on project templates, then the efficiency of project execution is greatly enhanced. In another metaphor, a project is like building a road. The methodology is like the knowledge of how to build successful roads. The template is like the guide to the type of road you are building – trail, dirt road, interstate highway, etc. – how to gather the specific types of resources and the knowledge of where / when to conform to certain regulations. That said, when team members are able to collaborate on the exact “how-to’s” of the road they build, they are able to produce much faster while maintaining efficiency. It is not about making roads into new places, nor is it about making new types of roads. It is about standardizing the means of making new types of roads into new places.

The purpose of project management software, in this respect, is to automate time-consuming and / or repetitive processes, and what better way to do it than let team members collectively produce their own means of managing work? When this happens, management truly starts to pave roads for a future of creativity and workplace harmony. That is when, in its ultimate end, a foundation for work is laid out for entire enterprises.

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