Communication is an essential component of any project and for project managers there are plenty of ways to bring those soft skills onto hardware like the Apple iPad.
Ian Sharpe, is a principal consultant with UXC Consulting, which is part of UXC Limited, the largest Australian-owned provider of ICT consulting services.
Initially Sharpe bought an Apple iPad “because it was cool” but then discovered how useful it could be to keep in touch with clients, stakeholders and team members.
“The obvious things people already use it for is email and scheduling in terms of calendar, but I thought there just has to be more to it than that,” he says.
Here are some individual apps that are suitable for project managers who need to keep in touch:
1. AudioNote (Apple app store)
How is your minute-taking at meetings? Do you spend more time trying to capture everything than listening and participating in the discussion? AudioNote is an app that enables you to skip backwards and forwards to the most noteworthy parts of the conversation.
“So, we spend a lot of time in meetings taking notes. I can write notes and sketch ideas using a stylus on the iPad,” says Sharpe. “I use AudioNote where I can do all of these things and, with the permission of the attendees at the meeting, I can also have an audio recording of what proceeds time-indexed to my notes so when I tap the relevant annotation it’ll jump to the relevant point in the conversation. I can hear what was actually said at the time to ensure I have correctly captured the points made.”
2. Dragon Dictation (Apple app store)
Back in the day you might have had a secretary at your disposal to take dictation. Today you can do that through your iPad with this transcription app. Dragon Dictation is the leading Dragon Naturally Speaking software for the iPad user.
“Speak and it transcribes it into text, with a high success rate. It is then easy to edit the text,” says Sharpe. “You can then copy it and use it elsewhere or email it directly to capture a fast answer when you don’t have time to type.”
The earliest apps were the social networking platforms and these tools have become a good way for project managers to develop their professional networks. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype “all have excellent (and regularly evolving) iDevice support,” says Sharpe.
“Project managers are just like any other professional: it’s essential that we build and grow active networks so we maintain connected, informed, educated and relevant to our clients and peers.”
The best part is being able to interact on the go; sometimes social networks are the only place where you’ll be guaranteed to find a project manager after you’ve called an empty office.
What are your favourite communication apps?