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Current Collaboration Tools Failing U.S. Project Teams According to Planview Study

U.S. team members waste up to 9 work weeks per year trying to collaborate on projects using an average of 4 partial tools

AUSTIN, Texas – May 26, 2015

The current collaboration technologies U.S. project teams use to address modern business challenges lead to inefficiencies that cause them to waste more than two working months per year, adversely impacting project timeliness, quality and cost. This is according to the results of a new project collaboration survey of more than 200 business professionals commissioned by Planview® and conducted by independent consulting and research firm Appleseed Partners.

The survey findings show that the use of disparate tools – both legacy tools and newer collaboration point solutions – is especially harmful to the 70 percent of employees engaging in project collaboration with distributed teams (such as contractors, consultants, agencies and employees), 38 percent working cross functionally, and a third attempting to collaborate across geographies and time boundaries.

“Everyone is a project manager these days and – while most are not certified project managers according to the survey results – they are working on teams that are increasingly virtual and dispersed both inside and outside organizations,” said Jason Morio, segment marketing manager for Planview Projectplace. “This extended team dynamic makes it even more critical to know who’s working on what, keep everyone on the same page, track progress and tasks, share documents, etc., but current toolsets are letting them down.”

Survey Highlights

Traditional and Newer Disparate Tools Lead to Collaboration Hurdles:

  • Collaborators use an average of four tools to manage projects. The top ones cited are email (73%), spreadsheets (62%), phone calls (53%), and web conferencing (49%).
  • Although email is the top collaboration method, more than 40 percent also said it is their top collaboration hurdle with the risk of missing important emails.
  • Nearly half (48%) of respondents believe they are using specialized collaboration tools, but the majority of these mention “partial” solutions, such as various Google products (e.g., Google Drive), GoToMeeting, Microsoft Project, the “cloud” and SharePoint. In fact, 43% said that they want an all-in-one collaboration solution that provides the functions offered by these stated partial solutions.
  • Other top obstacles include making project information easily accessible to all members (40%) and understanding who is available and who is in overload (39%).

Dire Consequences

  • Survey respondents believe they waste more than seven hours per week per person of productivity time because of collaboration issues, adding up to 350 hours or nearly nine weeks per year.
  • Team members are frustrated due to poor collaboration (45%), and believe they are duplicating efforts resulting in lower productivity (37%).
  • Approximately a third say project collaboration difficulties result in late project delivery (34%), lower quality projects (33%) and going over budget (24%).

What Project Teams Need to Succeed: Modern Project Collaboration in an All-in-One Solution

  • Respondents ranked the following equally as the most important needs for project collaboration (an average of 44%): document sharing (version control and iteration), project planning and scheduling (Gantt charting), workload visualization, an all-in-one collaboration solution (not separate tools), and a dashboard to track multiple projects.
  • A third of participants said it is important for collaboration to include external participants and have visual task management (e.g., Kanban boards).

Facilitating Virtual Teams

“The escalating business challenges associated with team collaboration is the reason Planview acquired Swedish product Projectplace last year,” continued Morio. “Because Projectplace uniquely facilitates people working across many different organizations and time zones, it has more than one million users in 170 countries. Planview has aggressive expansion plans for Projectplace in North America and has integrated its sales organizations to support direct and indirect sales to small teams as well as enterprises.”

One of the first Projectplace customers in the U.S. is Florida Virtual Campus, headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida.

“Projectplace is enabling us to collaborate on a major website redesign across 27 people, including our internal team spread across three campuses in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Tampa as well as our external vendors,” said Susanne Korta, manager, Office of Process and Project Management, Florida Virtual Campus. “The ability to connect, collaborate and focus on achieving our ambitious timeline all in one tool is making all the difference.”

These survey results corroborate many of the findings of the Projectplace “The Chaos Theory” report based on the responses of 1,200 project managers in six European countries.

Projectplace is a smart project collaboration solution that brings teams together to improve collaboration and get things done. Whether just down the hall or on the other side of the globe, Projectplace provides everything teams need to set direction, communicate, execute tasks, track progress and ultimately achieve goals. It is the only product that combines project management and task visualization with document sharing and collaboration.