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Outsourcing of work is becoming kind of a necessity now for every other company, as the project requirements and expectations keep getting more and more demanding. As important projects are being outsourced to offshore development centers, quick communication has become quite a necessity.

Technology has made the world a small place to live in. As technology gets better, communication methodologies also are getting better every moment. In this scenario, Instant Messengers or IMs are becoming popular as a formal means of communication.

Right from a quick clarification between project team members about the project, solving of issues in projects, nullifying time zone differences, effecting Multi-tasking to even initiation of important new business deals and getting project approvals, doing it all through instant messaging has become the order of the day.

Why IM when we have emails

IM is quicker and gives the effect of talking directly, though not as expensive as the telephone lines! Where emails take more time to reach the intended email address, IM, as the name suggests, is instant and information can be shared at the click of a mouse! This makes IM quite a star, when it comes to instant transfer of information, be it formal or informal, when compared to emails.

Few Main reasons that IMs are employed in organizations for Project Management include: We can see how are they useful in these aspects of project management, from the explanations below:

1.Communication for outsourced Projects

In any project, perfect communication medium is very important to develop trustworthiness and understanding between the client and the organization. It might not be necessarily feasible to communicate through the telephone always. Especially, if the project has been outsourced to an offshore company, then it is not always practical to call up and communicate important issues and discussions.

This is where IMs come handy. Not only would one get immediate response from other member, but even highly useful yet complex actions like public conferences can also be held through instant messengers. In order to make projects more understandable and to deliver the best to the clients, the cost effective yet powerful medium to discuss issues and take immediate yet precise and decisive decisions is to utilize IMs.

2.Binding team members together

Big companies might have many branch offices all over the globe. IMs prove to be a powerful means of binding the team members together, even though they are sitting miles away from each other. Many IMs come free nowadays, and even if they were spent upon, then that investment would still prove to be useful enough, looking at the cost saved on phone bills and blunders done in projects, due to misunderstanding or failure in understanding of the project requirements.

3.Time zone advantage

If communication of projects has to be done between two teams living in places with different time zones, then IMs prove to be highly advantageous, as it would help you contact your team mate at any time possible, through IMs, with prior information.

4.Simultaneous messaging and calls

With Skype facilities available, simultaneous messaging and talking over the phone is also possible. This utilizes your time effectively, along with immediate transfer of information between the team members.

5.A new era of KM!

Knowledge Management (KM) is a very important aspect in any organization. A company might have many good sources of information scattered around. IMs prove to be a source of knowledge management, providing immediate sharing of information and knowledge between team members and clients.

6.Get Time for reference

If a person comes to you personally for a query clarification or a discussion, then you are bound to reply to them then and there, without having much time to refer or check out more details about the same. At the same time, if you are asked the same query or discussion through instant messages, you have time to check out details before answering or discussing about any matter.

Overall, the whole article can be summed up as the below mentioned pros and cons of IM:

Advantages

  • Quick and easy access.
  • Cost effective when compared to phone calls.
  • Highly effective for long distance communication.
  • Information can be shared immediately.
  • No need to wait for responses.
  • Time zone advantages.
  • Can refer and prepare beforehand, and then reply to queries.
  • Online conferences are possible, involving many people in the discussion.
  • Immediate file transfer possible.
  • Multi-tasking possible.
  • You know if the person to be contacted is available or not, thereby saving time in trying to find out if the concerned person is in or not.
  • Occurrence of Spam reduced to a greater extent.
And much more!

Disadvantages

  • Cross-messenger communication not possible always.
  • Particular word count limit for messages typed.
  • Have to make the other person understand the issue, by typing out the complete content, unlike phone calls that are easy to communicate.
  • Language problems might pose a threat as well. Not all might be conversant in typing out a language that the other user understands In a nutshell, it is quite evident that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. For effective project management, IMs always prove to be useful, be it solving of project issues or having a high-end discussion with many officials involved, Instant Messaging is here to stay as the preferred choice of communication for professionals and business clients staying miles apart from each other.
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