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Topics: Consulting
Is there an Industry best practice around the management of Project files?
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My team wants to allow multiple users to edit a single Project file simultaneously and I'm not finding a product that allows that. I'm also questioning if it is a good practice or should we reassess our processes / workflow?

I apologize, I should have qualified that we have a 31/2 year build process for our Shows and every item that goes into a Show will be noted and processed within the Project file (literally thousands of line items). We've been using Project locally however are now exploring with MS Project Online. With multiple PM's from different disciplines needing to access the file during the course of the 31/2 year process this is our quandary. I am inclined to believe that we have some work to do around our processes as well as finding the right tool to compliment them.

Looking specifically to see if Project Online is the right tool for us and whether the idea of concurrent access to the 'Master' file is the right way to proceed.

thanks for all responses!
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Google Docs will do that. I used it for papers in graduate school. You could actually see that another classmate was working on their part of the project while I was working on my own (reassuring). I have no idea about security for office use however.

Generally, processes are designed around it. It introduces some very fundamental computing challenges such as it's very easy for things to get out of synch and one person can be undoing another person's work if you're not careful. Serial flow is always easier to manage than parallel.

It's less of an issue in an agile environment where you might consider the kinds of errors experienced minor and you can sort them out after you have a useful product. It's the difference between "Get it right the first time." and "Get it running and then we can work out the bugs."
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:06 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Keith, philosophically I agree there are things to be addressed. I should have noted that we're looking for a Project Mgmt. specific tool that will allow for thousands of items within a single Project file over the course of a Show build which for us is 3+ years. We have multiple PM's from different disciplines needing access to the file which is our challenge.
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Office 365 also will allow that. Its a benefit to have the option to collaborate on a single instance of a document; whether simultaneously or via check-out/check-in. Different scenarios will drive different needs.
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:09 PM
Rob Taylor
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Andrew thanks, I should have given more context so I edited my post. We're O365 deployed however looking for a very specific PM software and acknowledging that we need to review our current processes also.
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Office 365, Google Doc
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:11 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Abolfazl, I edited my post to give more context. We are O365 deployed however needing a specific PM software.
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Rob -

Confluence is another option which would provide a good basis for establishing a persistent knowledge base vs. a bunch of disparate project documents.

Kiron
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:10 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Kiron, we are Confluence users however I realized I needed to give more context so edited my first post. We have a definite need for PM specific software based on number of users and the lengthy process we run.
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You asked the question is it good practice? - there are a few points here in relation to PMP framework.
1. Is there an audit trail to show who changed what, when? (depends on the solution)
2. Who is the Responsible and Accountable for the Project document ? (given that they have no real control, and the document while versioned, is never locked unless rights are removed)
If you are running a classic waterfall project these might be important to consider. In an agile or Scrum approach, working software is more important than correct documentation, and the Team is collectively responsible and accountable.
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:08 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Colin, I should have noted some of the points I edited in my post. I agree with your approach however it is more process related than merely a solution to fit our current process.
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SharePoint and OneDrive allow simultaneous editing.

https://support.office.com/en-ie/article/d...4a-782d26f564a4
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:07 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Reina, I should have given more info. We're familiar with these products and use each of them however they would not suffice for the Project Mgmt. we're needing.
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The only best practice is insde the IEEE Standards related to Configuration Management. That´s all you need to know. Is not a matter of tools, is a matter of process. PMI´s has published a practice standard time ago but, while I was part of it, it is not recomendable. Go for IEEE standards.
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 5:01 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Sergio, I'll take a look there. We are a highly creative company so we're not driven by many deep standards unless there is applicable wisdom in doing so. In this instance I believe it to be worth pursuing.
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Advice from a PM with a records and information management background...

Simultaneous editing of project documents, a.k.a records, is not a best practice. In my experience, using Google Docs or other online document collaboration tools contradict records and information (RIM) policies, procedures and rules in place within organizations. Specifically thinking of version control, security, privacy and auditing.

My recommendation is to adjust your processes.
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1 reply by Rob Taylor
May 10, 2019 4:59 PM
Rob Taylor
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Thanks Cynthia, I am inclined to think that way. I believe at the least it is worthy of review which will - with knowledge of what Project Online is capable of - help us find the common ground and a viable way forward.
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May 10, 2019 4:24 PM
Replying to Cynthia A. Drader
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Advice from a PM with a records and information management background...

Simultaneous editing of project documents, a.k.a records, is not a best practice. In my experience, using Google Docs or other online document collaboration tools contradict records and information (RIM) policies, procedures and rules in place within organizations. Specifically thinking of version control, security, privacy and auditing.

My recommendation is to adjust your processes.
Thanks Cynthia, I am inclined to think that way. I believe at the least it is worthy of review which will - with knowledge of what Project Online is capable of - help us find the common ground and a viable way forward.
Network:9



May 10, 2019 3:12 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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The only best practice is insde the IEEE Standards related to Configuration Management. That´s all you need to know. Is not a matter of tools, is a matter of process. PMI´s has published a practice standard time ago but, while I was part of it, it is not recomendable. Go for IEEE standards.
Thanks Sergio, I'll take a look there. We are a highly creative company so we're not driven by many deep standards unless there is applicable wisdom in doing so. In this instance I believe it to be worth pursuing.
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
May 10, 2019 6:47 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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The key success factor to be successful with innovation and creativity is to use standards to not waste time in thinking what it has been proven just for things that are basement, not strategical.
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