The Successful Adoption of Web-Based Collaborative Software

I’m currently reading The Successful Adoption of Web-Based Collaborative Software from the journal e-Transit: Electronic Business Strategies for Public Transportation (Vol.7). It’s not entirely current as it was published in 2005 but it’s a useful case study for those wishing to convince larger organizations to adopt web based or ‘web 2.0’ tools for project management and collaboration. Thus far, experience has shown me that user adoption of tools such as these tends to be far behind the curve set by smaller studios and companies.
The focus of the study is on the adoption of web based collaborative tools by the Chicago Transit Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Raytheon.
In short, here are the conclusions set by the study:

  • Enhanced productivity. In Chicago, on the Douglas Blue Line Construction project, CTA senior technical personnel were able to process 260% as many RFIs per business day per person with the implementation of web-based collaborative software. At the PANYNJ, project managers were able to audit the expenses on their projects in a much more thorough and consistent way. At Raytheon, employees can work on a project 24/7 as it travels around the globe.
  • More accurate information to decision makers. All three organizations reported that although decisions may be made by the same people in the hierarchy as before, the web-based tools created an opportunity for more people to see the information and to give input about it to decision makers. We can assume this leads to higherquality decisions and fewer unpleasant surprises. • Enhanced speed for information exchange. The CTA has been able to quantify that its RFIs are processed 20% faster with the web-based collaborative software. At the PANYNJ, RFIs have been processed 18% faster. These gains in speed translate to reduced delays in construction, which, in turn, translate into cost savings.
  • Role enhancement for project managers. In Chicago, people appreciated the opportunity to have input into many new decisions. At the PANYNJ, easier access to cost information has begun to turn project managers into able financial managers.
  • Enhanced accountability throughout the system. In a web-based system, everything is time and date stamped, and the whole system is transparent. Anyone looking in can see the status of an RFI or change order request and can see where the delays are. Initially, this transparency is what people are afraid of, but once the system is operating, they come around to appreciate the heightened accountability. This accountability is equally shared across workers, managers, and outside contractors.

You can read the entire journal here.