Thursday, September 11, 2008

Project Management via Google Sites?

Does it make sense for project managers to use something like Google Sites (Ex: to manage projects? Instead of MS Project (anything is better then MS Project) or other desktop and/or web based project tools? What is Google Sites - Google Sites is an online application that makes creating a team web site as easy as editing a document.( For the most part it's a wiki like environment that includes gadgets like calendering, word/spreadsheet docs, photos, etc.....some benefits over PM specific systems:
  • it's free (always take free with a grain of salt, if it doesn't work it could cost you a lot)
  • easy, group updateable (but not pretty)
  • lots of neat gadgets
  • does not have PM specific functionality, like task management (which might be a good thing, use the calendar or spreadsheet)
  • it's not fully under your control - what if the site is down or they go out of business (Google? - I'm assuming all other PM companies will be out of business prior to Google)
I think it's worth a try and some experimentation. If PM's can get along for years via spreadsheets (most do not use a given tool) and now the spreadsheet is available within a container of other goodies, I don't see why it's not possible....

Next steps?:
  • select a low risk project
  • play around with Google sites (learn how the thing works)
  • setup the basics like a home page, calendar and the file cabinet (for your docs)
  • invite others
  • see if the effort/cost + confusion + frustration > benefit
Let me know if anyone out there has used it for PM or if/when you try it out, how it works.


  1. The danger with using a generic tools such as Google Sites (or any wiki for that matter) to manage your projects is that you require a lot of discipline to get consistent results across multiple projects.

    Wikis are great for capturing ideas and to get a conversation going. Everybody can have their say and contribute. After all the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

    What wikis are not good at is structuring data such as work breakdown structures, timesheets, risk registers, etc. Wikis do not generally provide options for managing the workflow around items like these and for automating any processing of the data.

  2. I can't disagree with you - at least 100%, but I think there's a 'coming together' of communication tools and management tools, mostly driven from an unstructured approach - for example:

    Most PM's still manage via excel and email for a reason, it's effective and low effort (cost)...if a PM's goal is to provide the highest value through reduction of risk, they need to use tools that are effective. (my opinion)