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The Intertwined Challenges of Collaborative Work and Project Management

Written By: Matt Lieberson
November 29, 2022
6 min read

Finding ways to better collaborate and get work done is top of mind for organizations looking to better work together on the things that are most impactful. And teams are continuing to throw more tools at this than ever. A recent Foundry survey found that 75% of organizations are using a minimum of six tools daily to manage their projects. More tools, more inefficiency, more challenges in the outside world – conditions are incredibly difficult.

Some organizations are getting by perfectly fine with this status quo – they have what they need to manage their projects, especially when that work is confined to internal teams and specific systems. The organizations taking on the most complex portfolios projects, though, are finding that the status quo isn’t good enough. These organizations, like many in industries such as general contracting, real estate management, and architecture/engineering, are working with more data, more people, and more systems – and finding more roadblocks. With the pressures of modern work, there is no more room for error.

The collaborative work management of today helps us manage simpler processes, but complex projects involving many people and systems the still give us the most trouble. This is where challenges come in like collaboration outside of your organization, synthesizing data from across systems, and ensuring all the finishing touches are buttoned up. When requirements constantly change and delays can be incredibly costly, this project delivery challenge is critical.

According to The Forrester Wave™: Collaborative Work Management Tools, Q4 2022, “...[Quickbase] differentiates itself by targeting key information that supports the delivery of complex projects and programs.” We believe this project delivery is the most critical aspect of completing work effectively. “It’s about us helping people get work done. Focusing on not just the management of their projects and activities, but also the delivery of those projects and intended outcomes. Driving those end outcomes, focusing on not just the what is getting done, but the how and when it’s getting delivered,” said Ryan Duguid, VP of Product Management at Quickbase.

This is what we view as the most critical piece of collaborative work going forward – the actual delivery of your projects and accomplishing what you need to on time and on budget. So why is it so hard, and how can we do it at scale?

The trouble with collaborative work

Project management is one subset of collaborative work – specifically focusing on individual projects at a time, and the tasks and processes to complete it. Project delivery, another piece of this, is the focus on ensuring end products are delivered in an effective and efficient manner – a big challenge throughout the process based on the amount of people, systems, and data required.

The logistics industry is one example of complex portfolios of projects that sees the biggest challenge with project delivery – with last mile logistics as a prime example. “The last mile ... can represent over 50% of the total logistics costs. It’s costly because there’s a lot of people involved,” said logistics expert Cathy Roberson on the Age of Agility podcast.


While project management comes through organizing teams and managing tasks, the actual project delivery requires immense collaboration and coordination. Take Lighthouse Electric, for example. Their prefabrication division had a very intricate process, involving over 50 people dedicated to planning and layout before handing off to the even larger prefabrication team. With this much coordination, the over 1,000 tasks required before creating a plan for a customer put the on-time delivery of projects at risk. Now, with all their information connected, and their projects organized within Quickbase from ordering supplies to working in the field, they can deliver on-time work to some of the world’s largest companies and have more competitive bids going forward.

“Lighthouse continues to build the case for Planning and Prefabrication on every project and has garnered the attention of mega projects nationwide,” said Bob Salaj, Senior Director at SRF (a subsidiary of Lighthouse Electric).

When it’s time to put your work into the market and get the actual products in the right hands, it takes understanding all your data, collaboration that reaches outside of your organization and keeping track of the physical assets that can so often be challenging. That same Foundry survey found that 40% of organizations believe supplier and material management – requiring coordination with other organizations and physical materials – would be the process that benefits most from the right software to help manage it.

Ensuring project delivery

Other collaborative work tools focus more on communication and task-tracking capabilities. Quickbase couples those with robust data-tracking capabilities to unite and centralize all your critical project data. “Quickbase has a powerful in memory database that's designed to deal with complex relational data at scale, to be able to store millions, billions of records and to be able to monitor everything that's going on in your organization,” Duguid added. This incredibly powerful data capability, coupled with the countless integrations Quickbase enables across your business, allows you to connect and unite the critical data from across your organization, providing a single pane of glass to drive insight and action.

When you are trying to get your work delivered most effectively, that is when this is at is most important. Collaborating with those outside of your company, delivering on the major milestones of your work – that is when the data needs are most important and when a consistent source of truth can make your collaborative work soar.

Success at scale

When work is happening at a higher volume than ever, it is critical to work together better on the things that are most impactful. And to better do so at scale means continuing to grow and improve your project delivery, every single time. That is why we see the future of collaborative work management blending the sophisticated no-code capabilities necessary to customize critical workflows to the exact needs of your projects, with more traditional approaches to project management and ad-hoc collaboration. Doing that takes a partner that can scale with you, and set you up for success with continued scale and growth.

Boyett Construction, for example, was struggling to ensure it was delivering consistent quality across projects as it grew. The Non-standardized processes it used made it difficult to manage concurrent projects, and they were hitting a wall with how much they could reasonably grow.

"We had reached our saturation point. To support business growth without impacting quality, we needed a way to standardize everything and put the latest information at our staff's fingertips,” said Vern Boyett, CEO of Boyett Construction.

With the flexibility of Quickbase no-code capabilities and project management & delivery solution, Boyett could streamline its processes and accelerate business growth as a result. While they can quickly deliver solutions that match familiar processes, enabling them to deliver projects from bidding to closeout, they have the flexibility to adapt to any number of customer needs of the 150 commercial construction projects underway through the San Francisco area.

Success with Quickbase isn’t repeating one process multiple times. You're not building one application, 10 applications or even 100 applications. You're building 1000s of applications safely and securely on the platform, all tailored to the customized needs every single one of your projects has. Doing this effectively takes the right applications, integrations among systems, and the right governance to pull it all together.

Matt Lieberson
Written By: Matt Lieberson

Matt Lieberson is a Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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