When I wrote my book “Creating a Trading floor” back in 2006, the concept of Cloud computing was still somewhat in its infancy. Things have now changed for the better. It is now considerably more easy to electronically control the distribution of project documentation. In the book I suggested that one of the early necessities once the Trading Floor project kicks off is to create a project server where documents could be held centrally for the project team. This avoids the problem of people accessing the wrong version of documents and also prevents over-burdened emails with masses of attachments.
Think about the nature of a trading floor project team. It is transient comprised of highly skilled people. It forms and changes shape dynamically. Members are added and removed as the project progresses. While the environment has to be dynamic and flexible, but there is also the need for comprehensive formal documentation. It is generally necessary to retain archival copies of progress documents, which may at some time need to be referred to in subsequent contractual disputes/resolutions. There also needs to be collaboration activities on documents as the project progresses.
Project Team members are often geographically dispersed. They are usually expensive highly skilled individuals who have many demands on their knowledge and skills. They may be located on the project site or they may be in another part of the globe at sometime during the life of the project. Previously the only way to ensure people had easy access to documents was for large emails to be sent to all active project team members when changes occur. Some of those working documents would be held on laptop computers, desk top PCs in head office or in PCs at the site office. It is difficult to keep documents in-sync and the loss of a laptop computer or site PC can be catastrophic.
Now I would say that the project team should make use of a combination of Google Docs and Google Business Apps for simple formatted documentation and something like SugarSync to automatically keep other more complex important documents such CAD files in synchronisation between the various PCs and laptops of the project team. To achieve this it is essential that the project team establishes a good Internet connection at the site from the very early stages of the project. Initially this may have to be a public wireless connection, but it should be replaced with a high speed Internet link as soon as possible thereafter. Clear project protocols should be established as to where, or which directories, individuals should store documents requiring collaboration or long term archive. Good Internet links will help also with web based meetings e.g. GoToMeeting, VOIP, Voice & Video conferencing. Using SugarSync it is possible to keep central copies on a project server as well as in the Cloud.