Using software to help you manage projectsIf you Google the term "project management software" then you will find something like 196 million search results! So which tools do you need and how should you use them to boost your chances of success? To help you out, we have described here the 5 typical groups of project software used, why they are used and how:
Type 1: Planning Software
The most common type of software tool used by project teams, is project planning software. Managers and teams typically use it to create a Gantt chart of their "Work Breakdown Structure" (WBS).
But it should also be used to schedule resources and financial expenditure, as well as equipment used and materials consumed. Dependencies within and between projects should also be listed.
Sample Providers: MS Project, Primavera
Type 2: Methodology Software
After planning a project, you need to implement a suite of processes to ensure its success. These processes together form part of a "methodology" for the project's execution. Such methodologies exist and are easily downloadable. They help you to implement processes to manage the project's; risk, changes, issues, time, cost, quality, staff, customers and suppliers.
By implementing such a methodology, you can improve your project efficiency and improve your chances of success.
Sample Providers: MPMM.com
Type 3: Tracking Software
Ok, so you have created a plan and implemented a suite of project processes. You are now ready for the execution phase of the project.
To help you monitor and control the project's execution, most managers implement some form of tracking software. This software helps you to:
|Monitor and record changes, risks and issues|
|Keep track of time and money spent|
|Control the quality of deliverables|
|Report and communicate project status|
|Keep the project "on track" at all times|
As with the other types of software specified here, using this type of software to monitor and control the project's progress is critical to success.
Sample Providers: Mercury, Tenrox
Type 4: Collaboration Software
On all projects, collaboration between project staff is key. They need to meet to discuss the project progress, current risks and issues, work outstanding and the plan going forward.
There are now a range of software providers that help your team to collaborate more easily, using MSN messenger, intranets, extranets and forums. They allow your team to identify and resolve issues quickly. They promote positive communication and they help you build a "team spirit" even if your team are spread across different physical locations.
Sample Providers: BaseCampHQ, AceProject
Type 5: Administration Software
Admin is often one of the most time consuming tasks for a manager. You need to create documentation, keep accounts up-to-date and administer risks and issues. Yet it is typically the area that you can gain the greatest level of efficiency in, using smart software tools.
By implementing templates to generate documentation quickly and software for your accounts, you can save an enormous amount of time administering, leaving you free to focus on the people side of running a project.
Sample Providers: Method123.com for templates, Oracle Projects for accounting
We hope this has given you a brief overview of the types of project management software available in the market so you can reduce the 196 million software search results to just a few!
If you are interested in viewing two great project management solutions, then check these out now...
|Project Management Templates|
|Project Management Methodology|