Project Management in the Cloud
As an Electrical Engineer and Project Manager, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some pretty exciting energy projects. These projects have also allowed me to use some of the most powerful pieces of software on the planet. Some have dramatically …
As an Electrical Engineer and Project Manager, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some pretty exciting energy projects. These projects have also allowed me to use some of the most powerful pieces of software on the planet. Some have dramatically improved my productivity, while others have caused more problems than they have solved.
So what have I learned?
The rise of cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) has changed the way a lot of companies do business. Paying by the user enables small businesses in particular to grow their subscription in line with their staffing levels. This principle allows Incite Energy to use some of the best tools available, without the upfront investment and infrastructure that had been required in the past.
How does SaaS enable good Project Management?
My project management journey so far has led me to try and apply two main principles to each of my projects:
- Do things once and do them properly
- Work smarter, not longer
These principles should also apply to project management systems.
I want to be able to enter a piece of information once and have it carry through the project. This means less time entering data and more time delivering projects.
In our case, we use WorkflowMax to securely track a project from initial opportunity right through to project close-out. I can do a cost buildup for quotation and carry that same information through to purchase orders, invoices and project reporting. And because WorkflowMax is owned by Xero, our project accounting is taken care of as well.
Before you start looking for a disclaimer, we haven’t been paid to plug WorkflowMax or Xero, we are just a happy customer.
Enter client or supplier information once, and it appears on any document we create for them. Have they moved office or point of contact changed? That’s ok too. Update it once and any new documents (or re-prints of old documents) will contain the new information. Our staff can even enter time sheets using their mobile phone and the relevant task/project will update automatically.
Entering information once not only saves time, it also helps cut down errors and rework. Win-win!
Projects in the Cloud
Another key benefit of cloud-based solutions is portability.
With founders in both Brisbane and Perth, Incite Energy was built from the ground up to be an Australia-wide company. This led us to choose cloud-based services (like Dropbox) for our document storage, allowing files to be accessed and synchronised across all of our devices. Our documents are kept secure, off site and backed up regularly.
Operating in the cloud also encourages us to be paperless wherever possible, which also helps the environment.
We can create a document in Perth and have it signed electronically in both Perth and Brisbane in minutes. This allows us to provide our customers with a level of responsiveness that wouldn’t have been possible using paper.
Our decision to embrace cloud services was part preference, part necessity – but now that we’ve experienced it we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Have you found a Project Management System that works well for your business? Let us know in the Comment section below!