The challenges of managing project correspondence

Managing project correspondence can be a real challenge. We all know that sinking feeling when you’re looking for an email containing vital information. It’s there somewhere in your inbox, but so are thousands of other emails.

You search, try various different keywords, then spend the next half hour scanning through the dozens of emails that came up in the results list. Eventually, if you’re lucky, you find the email you were looking for, only to find that it didn’t contain the attachment you needed after all…

In project management related roles, saving time is crucial in order to increase efficiency and ensure timely delivery of your project. Project managers rely on team members keeping their correspondence uniform and well ordered. In doing so though, team members lose time that could be spent completing project related tasks, ultimately leading to missed deadlines and delays.

Challenges with formal correspondence

Key issues when faced with formal correspondence are:

  • Time wasted searching for correspondence
  • Unapproved messages released publicly
  • Formal review and approval processes need to be followed
  • Tracking attachments and multiple documents tied together

Of all project correspondence related channels, formal and physical correspondence are possibly the hardest to manage and keep track of. This is partially due to the fact that faxes, phone calls and letters aren’t documented in the same way that electronic correspondence is. Attaching the relevant information digitally can therefore prove to be a difficult and time consuming task.

In traditional correspondence management fashion the saving and segmenting of the received and sent correspondence is up to each individual. This can prove to be time consuming and, especially when running projects with a long implementation time, can lead to deadlines not being observed.

In addition to being time consuming to upload and keep track of, formal correspondence usually consists of multiple documents collected into a single communication. In most cases there are multiple documents or attachments which need to be stored and kept within the context of the overall message. Additionally, team members need to be able to reference related documents quickly when reviewing communications ready for approval and release.

Challenges with electronic correspondence

Key issues when faced with electronic correspondence are:

  • Time wasted searching for correspondence
  • Time wasted converting electronic correspondence into a suitable format
  • Converting, managing and uploading electronic attachments
  • Tracking phone calls and phone call notes

Electronic correspondence is generally the easiest type of correspondence to keep track of, it is also the easiest to manage and centrally store. However, a lot of electronic correspondence contain attachments, which need to be uploaded so that these too can be crawled by the system to search for project related keywords. Converting attachments to a readable format can be time consuming with the resulting files being overly large in size and cluttering server space.

In addition to the written correspondence a lot of project related information is communicated telephonically and often times important project related information goes lost due to agents not taking notes or notes going lost. This is often solved by recording calls and uploading the recordings with labels relating to the topics that were discussed.

Project related correspondence solutions

Many larger projects rely on correspondence management tools in order to keep their incoming and outgoing communication uniform and offer a central touchpoint for anybody involved in the project to search for project related correspondence, with the option to share it externally.

The pros of using a correspondence management solution are that less time is spent on unifying all communications, capturing different channels as they appear, offering a central storage location for data, and capturing all attachments at the same time as the document with which it was sent.

ProjectVault to the rescue

As OpenText Content Server experts, ProjectVault has come up with a solution that is capable of managing electronic, physical and formal correspondence. Having spent several decades working within large projects, our team have identified the unique problems project managers face when trying to manage and track both physical and electronic correspondence. These unique insights have allowed us to create integrated systems that manage all of the above automatically, without the need to significant extra workload. At the end of the day, ProjectVault enables deadlines to be met and the daily life of a project manager to be simplified.

To read more on the ProjectVault correspondence offerings and how the challenges associated with electronic, physical and formal correspondence can be addressed, read our whitepaper.