One glance project status
There's a whole range of project management solutions out there and before I continue I must admit that we have only tested a few. Time and again, we found that it takes more time and effort to enter project updates than to quickly send an IM or call via Skype (of course, the situation may be different for larger teams, where ad-hoc chats or calls may be unfeasible).
While great for ongoing work, this workflow is perhaps not ideal for projects that have been dormant for a while. What did we need for this project again to continue? Did client x already send material y? These are questions that are normally resolved fairly quickly, but not without some digital digging.
What we need then is not a full-blown project management app, but a quick overview of each project's current status. A bit like those flight departures boards.
There are some nice analogies between flights and projects: on time, final call, delayed, cancelled… So going back to those dormant projects, such a board (how could the satisfying whirr of the refresh be retained digitally?) should display as basic information
- the last recorded activity (eg. email sent)
- any actions or material needed to continue (eg. document x)
Emails or materials listed could of course be hotlinked to open the respective messages or files, or, as a low-tech alternative, users could simply paste the relevant snippets (eg. extracts of an email, the file name, etc.) into the respective project.
I'll stop now and will revisit this topic when we've had more thinking time.