Benefits of using Google Drive for project management

Today thousands of specialized project management solutions are available online. But still many project teams prefer to manage their work using simple emails, spreadsheets, shared folders etc. Why is that? And can we use simple Google Drive tools as an effective project management solution? Let’s explore.

General expectations from project management tools

Let us first look at what are the expectations from a project management solution, at a very basic level.

Enable collaboration

Projects are often done by teams, rather than individuals. Each team member is responsible for different activities of a project. But all of these activities are interdependent.

A project management solution should enable easy online collaboration. It should be able to connect multiple stakeholders who may be working from different locations, or even in different time zones.

Needed for collaboration – file sharing, commenting, access control, cloud based platform, version management

Simple and lightweight UI

A project management solution should be able to track and report the actual work done by the team. This is done by frequently gathering progress updates from the team.

For example – a team member can submit a daily / weekly progress update forms to report how much work is done against what was planned.

But most people find it burdensome to frequently fill out progress update forms in addition to doing their actual work. This burden is compounded if the user interface (UI) is complex or too heavy.

That’s the main reason why people prefer to work with simple spreadsheets rather than complex tools like ERP.

Needed for simple UI – spreadsheet based interface, easy editing, version management, mobile friendly forms, easy to customize

Easy access

Not all of the project work is executed within an office environment. For example – in construction projects, most of the work happens on the construction site. That is where the project team spends most of their time.

In such cases, we will need project management tools that can be easily accessed from outside of the office, on mobile devices.

Needed for easy access – mobile friendly UI, works in low connectivity areas, offline working option

Connect with other tools

Apart from connecting different people on the team, we also need to think about connecting their work. In most projects, different project activities are managed using different tools.

For example – in an engineering design project, the schedule is managed in a Gantt chart like MS Projects, the actual engineering drawings are in a CAD software like AutoCAD, the list of drawings is in a Google Spreadsheet.

An effective project management solution should be able to connect these different tools and automate progress tracking.

Needed for connectivity with other tools – APIs, configurable workflows, ecosystem of well connected tools

Using Google Drive for project management

So we have identified 4 basic functions that a project management tool should be able to perform. Now let’s explore if we can perform those project management functions using Google Drive.

benefits of using google drive for project management
  1. Collaboration – Google Drive is already a very widely known file sharing platform with – versioning, commenting and collaboration features. It can also easily integrates with Gmail to further enable communication and collaboration within a project team.
  2. Simple, lightweight UI – Google sheets offer us a configurable, lightweight, spreadsheet based UI that can be used for easily capturing inputs from different members of a project team. Additionally, Google Forms provide a mobile friendly, easily configurable form based UI.
  3. Easy access – All Google Drive or GSuite tools have mobile friendly apps or mobile friendly UI in case of Google forms. Additionally, Google’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) always ensures that Google apps work even with low network bandwidth. Offline working mode is also available in Google Drive, Sheets, Docs etc.
  4. Connectivity – Google already has a well established ecosystem of a wide range of work management tools – Drive, Sheets, Docs, Forms, Calendars, Gmail. All of these tools can be easily interconnected. Plus a well document set of APIs also helps us to connect them to many other external tools. We can use platforms like Fuzen, Zapier etc. to connect Google apps with numerous other tools.

As we can see, Google Drive / G Suite apps have excellent capabilities on all the four fronts. By connecting the different Google Drive apps we can create very capable, highly customized project management solutions for different kinds of projects.

Benefits in infrastructure project management

In case of construction and infrastructure projects, the usual challenges in online collaboration are even more pronounced.

  • Due to complex nature and large number of project activities, simple spreadsheet based UI is preferred.
  • Mobile friendly and lightweight apps are preferred to enable connectivity from the site.
  • Many different types of activities and tools are involved, making it necessary to bind all of them together for effective project management.

For these reasons, Google Drive apps are preferred by construction managers and their team to manage their project work.

But on their own, the Google Drive apps are not directly connected to each other. Another solution is needed to bind the Google drive apps together.

Fuzen provides a platform to connect all Google Drive, Sheets, Forms and Gmail. By connecting them, we have created a well integrated construction project management solution.

Fuzen’s customized workflows help you to automate your project management chores while maintaining the same work processes and procedures that your team has been following for years. To find out how it works, check out our free trial.

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