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Managing Projects with Multiple Sites

Growing companies with talented people in various offices are increasing the number of collaborative projects that take place over a distance. It can be difficult to organize the efforts of multiple sites, but such an undertaking often yields good results, as it allows project managers to have the best people in the company, rather than just settling for the best of who is immediately available on site. Technological advancements have made it so that people at different sites can remain in touch, and work at their sites without having to make too many trips.

One of the best tools that has contributed to the feasibility of more projects encompassing is the advent of online collaboration project management software. Online collaboration software is just what it sounds like: software designed to allow people to work together online. This can be over the Internet, but it more common for companies to have their own separate servers and networks to facilitate long distance collaboration. Many of them have their own systems to reduce the likelihood of outsiders finding their way into proprietary information.

While many projects with multiple sites still require some sort of in-person meeting at some point, most of the time it can be accomplished near the beginning. The project manager may need to visit the other project sites to make sure that everything is in order, or to provide immediate feedback or clarification of objectives. However, there is no reason that the project team members should meet in person more than once or twice (depending on the length of the project) unless there is a very specific task that needs special handling by long distance partners on the project.

For the most part, the project management of projects with multiple sites is much the same as managing a project entirely based on one site. The fundamental principles of effective project management still apply. The project manager should know each team member’s strengths and areas of expertise so that he or she can be assigned a role that best fits her or him. This may require a little extra effort for project team members that are not located at the same site as the manager, but it is important. Clearly explaining what needs to be done, and effectively communicating responsibilities to team members is also very important.

Project management software makes the whole process easier. While centralized software will work when one is managing a project with multiple sites, it is often easier to use an integrated program so that the team does not have to wait for the other sites to have the software installed before the project can move forward. Unless everyone already has the same programs, when a multi-site project is proposed it is important to consider integrated project management software. This way the members at the other sites can just jump right in.

Managing projects with multiple sites need not be overly stressful. While there will likely be coordination issues, this is something that can be factored into the schedule and through the process of risk assessment and management. Project management software can help you monitor everyone’s work, even if they are at another location. With airplanes, personal visits do not take very long, and most of what needs to be done can be accomplished through videoconferencing or an Internet meeting. With so many tools available to project managers, the project management of multiple sites is now a reality in the corporate world.

Article by Remedysoft, Inc.
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Laguna Hills, CA

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