What’s your project stack?

Quick thought as I await confirmation as to whether I’m meeting with a client via Skype or Google Hangouts (or whatever the new name is): just as marketing technology has evolved into the marketing stack, project tools have now created a project stack.  Not to add to everyone’s tech burden, but I really think every team or project should have a project stack.

This took me a while to find as I initially used “stacked” as an image search term

Since we have so many no-cost-to-user tools out there, marketers have redundant tools for communication (email, Slack, group texts [please don’t], POTS) as well as content creation (Office Suite, Google Suite, LibreOffice) and project management (seems every one of the above has some sort of sharing/management feature).  I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a project where we friction develops because one or more persons uses one system while everyone else uses another.

Put another way, did you ever have that moment when you realized that a co-worker had five different ways to communicate with you and yet he used none of them?  That, raised to the power of three because now there are two additional systems (content creation and project management) to get crossed up on.

The solution?  Set expectations and define your project stack.

What do I mean by “project stack?”  Let me give a good example from my own experience.  I worked on one project with The Velo Group, a lean branding agency based on the border of Chinatown and what’s left of Little Italy in Manhattan.  The project team included three Velo partners and another three contractors in addition to myself.

Our first meeting, via conference call, outlined what tools we should use:

  • Email accounts with a Velo domain accessed via gmail for general communications
  • Slack channels for workstream discussions
  • Dropbox with a managed folder structure for sharing documents
  • Office-formatted documents

I can’t remember what project management tool we used, but on a small project such as this one, we only had one project manager so we didn’t expect any confusion.  On a larger project, I suspect we’d have had to define that as well.

This 10-minute discussion saved countless missed connections throughout the project.  It also allowed for scale if the project had expanded.  No ambiguity.

Do you have a project stack that you think works especially well?  Please share in the comments!

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