A big part of being an effective project manager is being able to streamline file sharing in project management. A file sharing system can go a long way in minimizing bottlenecks and other setbacks. It gives team members and external collaborators access to up-to-date information, while also providing an avenue for management and stakeholders to contribute to the project. In other words, the system keeps everyone on the same page by ensuring all parties are working with the same data.
In this article, we’re going to look at how your file sharing platform can become an invaluable tool for expediting tasks and facilitating smooth collaboration.
What is file sharing in project management?
Simply put, file sharing is the exchange of company assets, like documents and multimedia files, between team members and departments. Now that cloud-based tools have become the norm, most organizations have moved away from physical storage devices like hard drives and USB drives in exchange for online document management services. These platforms allow authorized users to access files from their computer, tablet, or smartphone anywhere they have internet access.
Some of the advantages of cloud-based file sharing include:
- Improved accessibility: Team members have on-demand access to important files when they’re outside of the office and can download, share, or modify documents at any given time
- Greater collaboration: Having a dedicated file repository helps keep everyone on the same page by giving everyone access to the same relevant files
- Data consistency: Requiring teams to download digital assets from a file sharing platform makes it easier to ensure teams are working with the most up-to-date versions
- Automatic backups: Cloud-based storage is routinely backed up, meaning your company assets are better protected from crashes
What to look for in a file sharing platform
There are a number of online file sharing platforms to choose from, so finding the right one for your teams can seem daunting. Maximizing file sharing in project management requires more than a simple online database. You need a collection of document management tools that make it easier to organize and share company files with internal and external collaborators.
Here are some essential features to look for when selecting a file sharing platform for your company.
1. High-level security
Cybersecurity should be your top concern when selecting a file sharing platform for project management. That’s because data breaches are costly and can end up setting your organization back millions of dollars from stoppage, lost business, and regulatory fines.
According to IBM Security’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. You can minimize the risk of data breaches by choosing a secure file sharing platform that:
- Encrypts documents stored on the platform and data in transit
- Stores user data in a separate database
- Offers two- or multi-factor authentication
Along with protection from external threats, your file sharing platform should allow you to set access rights and restrictions based on teams, departments, and individual workers. That way, team members and external collaborators can access all relevant information but will not be able to view sensitive high-level documents.
2. Advanced versioning capabilities
When multiple people are collaborating on the same document, mistakes are bound to happen. Someone may enter the wrong data in a spreadsheet or share an obsolete report with outdated information. Versioning features can stop these blunders from snowballing into bigger problems that cause unnecessary setbacks and result in missed deadlines. Key versioning features to look for include:
- History feature that lists all changes made to a document
- Rollbacks for restoring documents to a previous version
- Unique filenames for each version of a document generated
The more people access and edit the same documents, the easier it is for mistakes to be made. Versioning features like these will help you identify and correct these errors as soon as possible.
3. Centralized file storage
When files are shared through emails and P2P applications, they can be difficult to track. If you’re managing multiple teams, you could wind up wasting a lot of time reading old conversations and clicking through hyperlinks while looking for a particular file.
Centralized file storage streamlines collaboration by allowing authorized parties to access files from a central location. This makes it easier to keep track of your documents, spreadsheets, contracts, and any other digital assets related to your project.
Get the most from file sharing in project management
A good file sharing platform serves as more than an online database. It acts as an essential project management tool that deepens collaboration, encourages team autonomy, and reduces setbacks.
Learn more about file sharing and other ways you can enhance your project management skills by downloading our eBook: Secrets of an Elite Project Manager.