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Project Management with Google Wave

Lucia Mancuso, 01 December, 2009 13 Comments

Working on a development project can be complicated. The days where
everyone is sitting just a cubicle away are long gone. You need to keep
the project manager, the clients, the copywriter, the developers, the
marketing people, the designers and the SEO team in the loop. Every
decision that’s made effects every part of the project. There are lots
of project management tools available, and they all fall short. Email
chains get unwieldy after a few replies and sharing files can become a
burden quickly.

Google Wave might be the answer we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a
combination of email, social networking and file sharing that brings
people and ideas into one place. We’ve been playing around with Wave for
a few weeks, and it’s impressive. It especially excels as a way to keep
complicated projects moving along while removing the bulk that comes
with other methods of project management.

Here’s a few reasons why we’re using Wave:

Media Handling Forget attachments

  • Wave handles every media file we’ve thrown at it in an elegant way.
    Relevant links, videos, audio files, copy and code can be shared right
    in the message. You seem them right in front of you without having to
    click around. That’s efficient. There’s also an option to browse media
    files which is very cool. Clicking through the various stages of a
    design, or every photo being used on a project is very convenient when
    making design changes.

Latecomers at Different Points in a Project

  • It’s sometimes necessary to bring a new person into the mix. Getting
    them up to speed can be a difficult dance of dredging up old emails,
    zipping groups of files and filling them in on past conversations. With
    Wave, simple include the new people working on the project in the Wave
    and they can get briefed on thier own time, see all the past revisions
    and discussions, and view the various iterations and changes that have
    been made. This is a gigantic time saver.

Tags

  • Tagging your projects gives you the ability to build an archive of
    your work over time, making it easy to see how problems were solved in
    the past. If you’re diligent about tagging specific issues and
    solutions, when you run into a similar issues, just search Wave and see
    how you developed a working solution in the past. That’s something so
    valuable you can’t put a price on.

Contacts

  • Having your contacts right in your project management software is
    very convenient. There’s no imports that fail, no proprietary data
    formats, and since Wave is spreading quickly, after you’ve collaborated
    with someone, you’ll be able to add them to new projects with a click.
    Over time you’ll build a database of old and new collaborators expanding
    your business network.

Fast

  • Wave is fast. Really fast. It swallows big media files, updates in
    real time, and is hosted by Google, who overall have a solid record of
    data integrity.

Is Google Wave the perfect project management tool? Maybe. It’s still
new, but so far we’re really impressed with it. So impressed we’re about
to start a huge new project involving a big team in many different
locations, and we’re using Wave to keep it together. We’ll keep you
updated.

What are your experiences with Wave so far? We’d love to hear how you’re using Wave for business or fun.

13 Responses to “Project Management with Google Wave”

  1. Anthony Woods

    Hey now this is interesting, I’m conducting research for my honours
    degree on Google Wave and how it can be used as a repository of study
    course work for academic learning students and lecturers. I think wave
    will be able to be a powerful project manageable tool as well as a good
    storage facility.

    I’ve been playing about with Google Wave now for about a month solid
    with both preview and sandbox accounts and I am really taken by it’s
    potential that it holds and it’s good that people like yourself are
    noticing it as well. I’ve been keeping my research studies on my wave at
    the moment for people to give feedback and stuff on what they think
    about the general whole idea behind the tool I will be developing.

    Really enjoyed your article, you portray good arguments for your cause
    and I really think this is something that will lift off for people in
    the production of their projects.

  2. Lucia

    Thanks for your comment Anthony.

    I’ve used every project management tool that you can imagine. Google
    Wave definitely has the potential to wipe them all out. There is
    definitely a learning curve but I truly believe it will be well worth
    it. 

    Keep us posted on the tool you are developing & any insights you can share.

  3. Anthony Woods

    I will do, for anyone who is interested in my proposal that I had to
    conduct before getting into the in-depth interim report, just add me on
    google wave [email protected] and I will be sure to invite you in to have a look and gain your feedback on what I have done and what I plan to do :-)

    btw just bookmarked this website, loving the articles I have been seeing on here when I came across it today.

  4. Sara BROCA

    Your article is very interesting, your aguments are good too. But do
    you think that GW can be used for any kind of projects. I think that is
    THE tool for internal project or research project.

    I’m very interested by the REX of your use of GW.

  5. Michael

    Hey Sara, thanks for the comment. Personally, I think it’s possible
    to use Wave for any project, with the exception of heavy duty code
    collaboration, for which there are already many specialized systems out
    there.

    For any project that requires coordinating people, media, and various
    iterations and changes, I think Wave is the way to go. I’m still
    learning the ins and outs myself, but so far I’m impressed.

    What type of projects do you have in mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  6. izdelava internet strani

    Didn’t know for the google wave. We’ll definetly try it in our firm. thanx for the usefull tips

  7. Sara BROCA

    Projects like innovation, validation of new technologies, feasibility
    are for me the kind of project wher GW is suitable because they need
    fast communication, getting people quickly and introducing change
    quickly too.

    But I’m afraid that posssibility to modify the TL is blocking to manage correctly a project.

    Only practice and feedback on a project will tell us how best to use GW

  8. Chris

    Lucia,

    I agree that Google wave has potential but there is an area of concern
    that I’m not sure has been addressed yet.  Since all participants
    of the wave can edit the content there is the potential that content can
    be deleted or maliciously edited when other users are not present on
    the wave.  There needs to be a way to administer a wave and enable
    wave locking to prevent such edits from happening.

  9. Lucia

    Great point Chris. I hadn’t thought of that. Luckily I really trust
    all the staff here and we really encourage an open spirit when it comes
    to trial, error, successes, failures, etc… For us everything that could
    go wrong is a learning lesson to make us better. However I see how this
    could be an issue with others.

    I really hope this is something addressed in further GW revisions.

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  10. chris

    Another really good way to use Wave that I recently thought of is during vendor review sessions or demos. 

    I have the furtunate/unfortunate task of being able to/having to sit
    through numerous vendor demo sessions during RFI/RFP processes. These
    sessions usually have a large audience that each keeps thier own notes
    on the demo/presentation which usually never get conslidated into a
    single list. This is a side effect of laziness or of the individual
    users feeling that they are not contributing anything of value.

    Enter Google Wave.

    If all participants in such a session are in a wave together, they can
    create a back channel and realtime collaborative note taking session
    that helps facilitate a richer Q&A session and can help deepen
    understanding and streamline the whole process.

    Until Wave becomes more entrenched and reaches critical mass, this use
    will be sporadic and will require that current wave members save their
    coveted invites for sessions such as this.

  11. Lucia

    Thanks for that Chris. You just gave me a great idea for one of our projects & now I know what to do with all my invites.

    Google Wave is great for collaborative notes & I would imagine it
    may help inspire people to contribute that usually may not. At least,
    that is what I would hope for.

  12. Anthony Woods

    Hey Chris,

    Just going back to your comment about administration on the wave and
    people deleting or editing certain areas of the wave without any
    approval from staff while staff aren’t participating on the wave.

    Can’t the play back function act as a type of administration to the
    staff controlling the wave? For example, if a random staff member
    deletes a certain part of the document that is being worked on, surely
    with play back function this not only helps to pin point the deletion of
    that specific area, but allows re-runs to going back to that state of
    the wave.

    I totally approve of the “needing to lock waves so nothing can be
    changed until approved by a higher authority” and I am sure GW will
    probably implement this function very soon, if not I can already see
    developers programming a robot to do this job.

    But I agree, there needs to be some kind of permission system for users
    in a wave, but at the moment GW is still very much young and can see no
    problem with this area expanding!

  13. Blondie

    EmhmWX Very true! Makes a change to see someone spell it out like that. :)

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