Effective Project Management with Lync

A project manager is required to possess focus, organizational skills, a positive attitude, and most importantly, impeccable communication skills.  We use several tools to help us effectively manage the projects that we lead or are directly involved in.  Tools such as Microsoft Project help us to track milestones and tasks along with resource allocation and tools such as Podio help us to collaborate with our project team by sharing information and managing tasks.
What tools then are available for us to communicate, which is one of the more important qualities of a good project manager, with stakeholders, developers, project teams, etc.?  We can certainly use Outlook to email status reports.  We can schedule in-person meetings to discuss the project and present what has been accomplished thus far.  We can call parties using the phone systems available to us or our mobile phones.  We can even use GoToMeeting to schedule online meetings.
The problem with these communication tools is that they are so disparate and they don’t really allow for distributed project teams to communicate well.  Microsoft Lync, however, addresses each of these areas in one product.
In all the projects that I manage, I am remotely located.  There are times when I travel onsite to be with our clients, however, the large majority of my time is spent using Lync to communicate with my team as well as stakeholders virtually.  With Lync and the features that are available to me, I’ve been able to successfully complete my projects.
With the presence feature, the project team can at all times quickly see who is available to them.  For teams that are not in the same office, this is extremely important.  In situations when a team member needs to reach out to another to ask a question or resolve an issue, they will be able to see who is available for them to call. With the ability to instant message, it eliminates the need to send an email and it fosters real-time communication when a quick, simple answer is required.
With the ability to start an impromptu conference, it provides the team with a way to address issues that require multiple people to be involved.  A conference can be started by simply dragging and dropping contacts into the conversation, sending an email invitation, or adding a phone number.  Lync conferencing can also be used for scheduled project meetings without the need to be collocated.
Anyone can be included in a Lync conference as long as they have Internet access.  Because it is a Voice over IP (VOIP) system, a phone line is not required to join the audio portion of meetings.  Your computer’s microphone and speakers can be used instead.
With the video capability, distributed teams can always have “face-to-face” conversations with each other.  This adds another layer to the communication between the team with the aspects of body language and facial expressions.
With the ability to share desktops, team members can visually collaborate on a task or solve a problem by looking at one screen.  Presenting through Lync also gives the ability to give control to someone else so instead of sending a file for your teammate to edit, the edits can be done together in real-time.
With the whiteboard feature, brainstorm sessions can take place virtually while still giving the team the opportunity to share their ideas by writing on the whiteboard.  The whiteboard can then be saved and made available to the team for future reference.
All the features mentioned above are also available on the Lync mobile app which eliminates the need for you to be at your desk to lead your projects.  If you are at your desk and are called away, you can continue a call by seamlessly transferring it to your mobile phone without alerting the other participants.
Lync is a wonderful project management communication tool.  Don’t take my word for it…try it for yourself!