Understanding Project Context: What are the Tools of Engagement?

At the beginning of each project it can be exciting to dive right in and learn about the client. However, there are a few basic logistical items to address with regard to which tools facilitate our work together.


I have a system to share with each client. Some clients choose to let me access their systems internally and others don’t for security reasons.

  • What tools are we going to use to work together, share documents, and communicate?
  • Can I use my email or do you prefer to provide me with your company email?
  • What desktop sharing do you use? Do you have an external service or use something internal like MS Lync?
  • Where are we going to store and share files? How do we display the current state of the work being performed?
  • Are the teams used to working in a distributed manner? What are your standards and policies?

My preference is to join the team and use tools they already have on their desktops so they do not need to acclimate to something new.

We need 3 basic tools for communication and collaboration:

  1. textual communication (e.g. email, Google Chat, HipChat)
  2. file storage and sharing (e.g. Google Docs, Dropbox, Outlook 365)
  3. desktop conferencing and sharing (e.g. Google Hangouts, Webex, GotoMeeting)

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