By Christian Bisson, PMP
In the world of project management, you will encounter the “email philosophy” and the “project management tool philosophy” of how project tracking/communication should be done.
Emails can be an effective way to communicate or keep written documentation to refer to. Heck, I love emails. But ultimately, a properly used project management tool will be more efficient for your team. Here’s why:
Email might be a great way for you to track your written communications, but how properly it’s used and archived depends on the recipient. In contrast, with a project management tool, the “documentation” will be stored somewhere within a task or other type of item within the tool. Everyone can refer to it, and it should be easily found in the appropriate location instead of somewhere in someone’s inbox.
For example, I once took over a project from another project manager who used emails to manage the project. To help me get up to speed, the project manager had extracted a dozen emails and sent them over. I had to go through all those emails threads, most of which were out of context or outdated.
A better option would have been to have the relevant information within a project management tool where I could have reviewed the available information and known exactly who was doing what.
You could send someone an email listing tasks to accomplish, but unless that person replies with a status or you regularly ask for one, you will not get an update. If an update does come, only you and maybe others from the team will be aware, assuming they even read the email.
A project management tool will allow you to track all those tasks, with a proper assignee and status. It will be simple for someone to have all his or her tasks displayed and ordered in priority, including a description of each task/issue. In the meantime, the project manager can easily track the status of the project without having to constantly ask for one.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how to overcome challenges when switching from managing via email to managing via a project management tool.