Project management software is priced from $50 up into the tens of thousands, depending on the level of sophistication required. As with any kind of software, it doesn’t automatically make the user – the project manager – more effective, but it certainly can make the PM a lot more efficient in the tasks. Project management software doesn’t do the job of defining the scope of the project, nor does it communicate to the sponsor of the project or dole out detailed assignments to those on the project team. It doesn’t do those things, but it allows the manager to accomplish those steps in a more efficient manner.
Before delving into the various kinds of project management software, let’s look at the kind of projects under your direction and the skill levels of PM. By taking a look at these factors, you’re better equipped to select the most appropriate software for you and your objectives.
After all, what you seek is some project management software to use as a tool for consistently finish projects that are on time and on budget. PM software replaces antiquated tools like conducting scheduling with a spreadsheet, or worse yet, a yellow legal pad. Ineffective tools just waste your time when your goal is to complete this vital PM steps such as spotting problems early. Without early problem identification, it’s often too late to fix them.
* You need software that optimizes the use of resources. Resource optimization allows you finish the project as early as possible.
* The ability to update the plan weekly and in a few minutes. It’s ever important to know where you are in the project.
* And finally, circumstances change and you need the ability to update everyone’s schedule – fast!
Naturally, a good PM software program will address a number of benefits, but the proceeding four items every project manager should have – at a minimum. Clearly, trying to accomplish these tasks using a spreadsheet or legal pad will not cut it!
Project Management Software Concepts
What you would like to see in project management software is the ability to save time with your scheduling, have analysis tools and save or archive this data for any future projects you’re involved in. It’s sad, but most Project Management training does not include real-world application using project management software. PM training also falls short in educating new project managers of the true value gained by archiving data for every project.
A PM’s skills at scheduling encompass analyzing the critical path using slack and delay data so resources are optimized and the project is completed quickly. Software is effectively used when it identifies problems early on offers alternative solutions promptly. Manually accomplishing these tasks can dominate a PM’s work schedule. These tasks are ideal when they are accomplished with project management software.
An archive proves its value for future projects making their estimates considerably easier and inherently more accurate. By using appropriate project management software, actual performance tracking regarding the required work hours and dates of completion is accumulated in a database. This is vital when estimating future projects.
Scheduling Without Project Management Software
Today there are many project managers trying to track track their project’s actual performance against the plan because they don’t have access to the tools or training. Nor can they optimize scheduling or effectively use the available resources. Working without the necessary tools, they are then surprised by problems and situations, many of which could have been anticipated IF they had the data to help them anticipate them. Working without data, project managers are not able to provide decision makers advice on early project completion or potential costs incurred if changes are to be implemented. This leaves the project guidance to ‘best guesses’. Without the proper tools, the chances of project failure rates increases and a company’s capital and human resources are not efficiently used.
As you can see, the software can’t do the real work of a good project manager. But a project manager can’t be ‘good’ without the proper tools. Project management software provides the tools to adequately work on a project and get the most of every individual and dollar allocated to the endeavor. Investment in project management software is money well spent.