Project Management Tools

Project management tools are vital to a project’s completion. Here are three very popular tools: Gantt Charts, Critical Path Analysis and PERT Charts.

Project Management Tool – Gantt Charts

The management of communications on a project is a must have prerequisite. Gantt charts with their graphic displays of tracking cost schedule and performance, make this data easily identifiable.

This chart has been in project management use since the early 1900 thanks to the inventor, Henry Gantt. Gantt’s chart readily makes activities plotted against time-frames in the form of a bar chart. Activities make up the amount of work that is required to move along from one step to another. Activity start and end points are known as events.

The most common use for Gantt charts are for displaying progress of the program or for specifying the required work for an objective’s accomplishment. In a typical Gantt chart you’ll see items such as the project’s activities, the duration of the activity, schedule dates and the progress to date accomplishments.

The popularity of Gantt chart are due that they are super-simple to understand and just as easy to make changes. As far as project management tools, Gantt charts are the least complex means to show progress – or lack thereof. Plus they can be expanded upon to showcase specific elements that are ahead or behind the schedule.

Project Management Tools : Benefits of Gantt Charts

  • Reducing project cost and cutting down on the time scale
  • Planning coordination and expediting
  • Idle time elimination
  • Control over subcontractor activities and scheduling
  • Improvement of troubleshooting procedures
  • Allowing additional time for the decision-makers by cutting time on routine decisions

The PERT Project Management Tool

PERT is an acronym for Program Evaluation And Review Technique. PERT is also referred to as the Critical Path Method.

PERT is an event-oriented planning tool that’s typically done with computers for estimating project duration. This is very helpful when individual activity duration times are not known an must be estimated. PERT assists the project team chronologically order the the needed activities prior to implementing a decision.

PERT and Critical Path Analysis are very robust tools for scheduling and managing complex projects. They got their start in the early 1950s in controlling large Dept of Defense projects. Their effective use then lead them to routine use today.

Critical Path Analysis, just like Gantt Charts, assists in planning all tasks related to a project. They function as a base for schedule preparations and for the planning of resources. Additionally, they are a great tool for achievement monitoring during the management of the project. If a project gets off course, they can help in implementing any remedial action for course-correction.

Gantt Charts are routinely used to display the final project plan. Many use simple tools such as a spreadsheet for low-complexity projects. CPA identifies for a project manager which tasks have to be completed on time in order for the entire project to meet its projected time schedule. CPA can also identify any tasks that could possibly be postponed if resources are required for catching up on other tasks that may have been missed or even over-run.

Critical Path Analysis can also assist the project manager in identifying the minimum time required for project completion. Another benefit is that if a project needs to be accelerated, CPA can help you focus on the project steps that should be expedited so the project can be completed during the allotted time.

Project management tools don’t have to be expensive. And since these two tools were developed way prior to widespread use of computers, they can be the simplest tools for a project manager to keep tabs on all needed activities for successful project completion.