We have recently been working on a new update and also making plans for V2 of ProProfs Project. As we have been doing that I've been trying to think of the possible ways of eliminating email from the project management workflow. Is it possible and should we even be trying to doing it?
I was recently inspired by reading this article where a high ranking employee of IBM has managed to basically remove emails from his daily working life over the course of 3 years, and has been using Social Media instead.
He says that instead of a productivity tool, email has become a 'procrastinators best friend'.
“As a remote employee, I’ve wanted to prove to everyone that I could keep working for the company without using e-mail, relying almost … exclusively on social software tools to communicate daily with my team members.”
In the world of project management, conversations between project managers and collaborators can sometimes amount to 10-20 messages per day. When using email these messages will sometimes get buried with all the other emails you receive, and can be quite difficult to organize. Also you have to sometimes read through the email first before realizing what project it is referring to (unless you have some very clever Mail rules or ticket system!).
Bringing in the Right Tools
So at ProProfs Project when we launched the collaborative tools back in March we made it essential that you could post comments on projects and tasks, and have a discussion with collaborators using this tool. Email notifications are also sent out as well in case you are not logged in to the system to see the message. Now the system we have is 'ok', but we are always wanting to improve it - and it's a personal passion of mine to make the best online productivity software out there.
I've been thinking about what we can do in a future version of ProProfs Project that will really aid with the discussion of projects amongst team members. In the short term we can do things like allow comments on comments (like Facebook), and comments on File uploads so collaborators can discuss a particular File upload with the project manager. We can also expand on the Dashboard notifications system and enhance the display of threaded project discussions when clicking on "Comments". Those 'web-based' features I see to be quite simple and we will no doubt have this functionality in the very near future.
Using Mobile Apps
However I do believe that the biggest way that we can eliminate email from the workflow will be with mobile applications and desktop apps that utilize our API. For example if we allow the API to interact with the comments system, future iPhone, iPad and Desktop apps can receive push notifications when there are new messages. This means that you could have applications on your mobile or computer that allow you to chat instantly about a project, and those messages get pushed to you whenever new ones come in, and also stay synchronized with your online project comments for when you go in to your project and do further task management.
Streamlining project management workflow is something I'm always thinking about, especially as plans are being made for V2, because I believe that if we can spend less time fiddling around with the actual processes of managing projects and more time being productive then ultimately businesses will make more money and waste less time.
Perhaps you love email and don't want to move away from it, or maybe you have some ideas of your own. If you do have any thoughts on eliminating email from the workflow, please share.