Outsourcing optimize

Four practical project uses for Cohuman

Andy Makar describes projects where the free social platform Cohuman helps teams collaborate and deliver.

In my TechRepublic post about three project tools that rock, I highlighted free tools that PMs can use for small to medium size projects. After working with one of those tools, Mindjet's Cohuman, I found four practical project applications for the social collaboration platform.

1: Software development sprint or iteration execution

Cohuman supports Agile software development as well as task list project management. Each Agile project team can establish the sprint backlog and develop a separate sprint plan with all the tasks needed to deliver the sprint goal. A separate project can be created to manage the product backlog and, as user stories are prioritized, they can be added to specific sprints. By using Cohuman's task following feature, both "pigs and chickens" can follow task progress without yet another status meeting (Figure A). Figure A

Sprint planning (Click the image to enlarge.)

2: Event planning

If you ever tried to plan a corporate event, seminar, or social event across multiple people, you know the amount of email you will receive as you coordinate everything from guest speakers to appetizer selection. Rather than drowning in the email inbox, applying Cohuman to manage the project and collaborate across event planners is a simpler and better way to work. Tasks are easily assigned and comments are integrated into the assigned tasks. The event planning team can use Cohuman's Posts feature to debate the latest heated topic of either serving the garlic shrimp appetizer or cold cuts.

Figure B

Event planning (Click the image to enlarge.)

3: Managing virtual assistants and outsourced projects

The concept of outsourcing is prevalent in enterprise organizations; however, smaller organizations may be reluctant to outsource work to other teams due to trust issues and lack of visibility. With Cohuman, trust, collaboration, and visibility are supported with task transparency and communication across the tool.

If you hire a freelance worker from popular sites such as oDesk , ELance, or Guru, Cohuman will help you track and monitor progress. Many of these outsourcing sites provide a project workspace to post questions and send files; Cohuman makes the collaboration process much easier by bringing a much more social feeling to project collaboration across virtual teams.

Figure C

Managing virtual assistants (Click the image to enlarge.)

4: Blog and editorial calendar planning

With the explosive growth of blogging and digital media replacing dead trees, editors and writers still need a tool to manage their editorial calendars, conduct article research, and plan publication dates. With Cohuman, editors can create an Article Ideas project with article queries, emerging article ideas, and editorial topics. Once a set of articles are approved for writing and publication, the articles can be moved to an active blog content project where writers are assigned with target publication dates.

Figure D

Blog and editorial calendar planning (Click the image to enlarge.)

Summary

In these examples, I created multiple projects within the same Cohuman account. If I was working on all of these projects at the same time, I could prioritize each task in my own personal task view. Based on the workload and priority, all of the other projects would adjust accordingly.

I can also view other users' tasks on all the projects that we are working on together. The task transparency helps everyone stay focused and informed as they write a blog post, deliver a user story in a sprint, plan the company holiday party, or simply manage an ever-growing to-do list.

Give Cohuman a try, and let the TechRepublic community know what you think of it. If you're already using Cohuman and know of other practical project applications for the platform, please tell us about them in the discussion.

About

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of How To Use Microsoft Project and Project Management Interview Questions Made Easy. For more project management advice visit http://www.tacticalprojectmanagement.com.

2 comments
ViCentelles
ViCentelles

I liked very much the "Free project collaboration tools that rock" and now, this one about cohuman. A very important point for us is to view all the task of a consultant in all the projects. Hope the free version to be good enough.