Chemistry’s Dry Glove Box & Its Relationship to Project Management, Communication, & Collaboration

In a previous life, I was doing research in chemistry. My work involved reactions that were both air-sensitive and flammable (Oxygen à Fire!). Consequently, we had to do everything in a Glove Box. You can read more about how the Glove Box works but, in brief, it provides a safe, sealed environment for the manipulation of objects. When a research team had several people and there was only one box, however, how was I to plan for its use without having to stay up late every night?

In spite of that loaded question, you may be wondering what the Dry Glove Box has to do with project management, communication, and collaboration. Well, it doesn’t matter what your job is, there is always this constant: in order to work most efficiently, and get the best results, you need to plan as well as communicate and collaborate with your team.

Here are the “project management” tricks I employed back in my research days:

  • Plan for how long it will take to get the equipment (glass, spatula, septum, etc.) in the antechamber. It takes at least 45 minutes to an hour to purge the antechamber with nitrogen or argon to keep the air out before you can open the internal door, so I had to be sure not to forget any of these items.
  • Next, I had to be sure that anything I brought in was already vacuumed or taped up since, during the “degas or evacuate” step, things will pop or break if there is any gas inside.
  • I would need to be aware of how long will I’d have to be in the box to get my reaction going.
  • I would also need to be aware of who else would be using the box that day so I could either go in at the same time as the co-worker (and come out at the same time), or take over the gloves when she/he is done. Note: You’re lucky if the Glove Box has the option for two operators.

This is just one specific example of how you can save a lot of time and effort if you plan, communicate, and collaborate effectively.

Nowadays, I don’t have to worry about blowing things up in my workspace on a bad day. Here at Bamboo, I enjoy helping my team make products that are useful to our users in their daily interactions with SharePoint. Bamboo provides tools that you can use for project management, communication management, and collaboration such as Project Management Central and Community Central (with its especially useful Discussion Board/forum features). And in the near future, to further assist with your planning, we’ll be incorporating Activity Streams into both products so you’ll be able to see what your team members are working on. Stay tuned for more information.

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