Project Management - An Overview
Before you learn what project management is or about project management tools, there is a need to understand what a project is. A project is a series of tasks executed to deliver a unique product or service to the customer. It indeed has a start and end time, and therefore defined resources and a unique set of operations are used to perform individual projects.
Project management, as it looks like, is a wholesome process of planning and executing projects. The discipline seeks to achieve objectives and goals by using plans mapped out as per customer demand. A specific set of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques are applied to meet the project requirement according to the project acceptance criteria within defined constraints.
The Project Management process has these elements:
- Allocation of Resources
- Executing Jobs
- Measuring Milestones
Project goals and objectives, whereas, are defined by the customer or stakeholders, and a project manager reinforces methodologies to generate a plan that links the resources, tasks, milepost, and deliverables to reach those goals. This plan also adheres to multiple constraints, such as limitations of time, cost, and scope that apply to every project.
The key factor that differentiates project management from management is the use of resources within a given time frame to get the project delivered to the customers. For an organization, management is a never-ending process. And project managers must be experienced and efficient to deliver the on-time and on-budget results. They need to have a wide spectrum of skills (mainly technical and operational), team spirit, and the ability to utilize resources effectively.
What is a Project Management Tool?
Project managers have a load of tasks aligned to get projects completed on time and within budget constraints. To get the project successfully onboard, managers have to arrange meetings, look after the allocation of resources and budgets, plan and schedule the tasks and activities and analyze the reports to map out milestones achieved. This is incredibly challenging as the workload becomes quite overwhelming when two or more projects have to be worked out concurrently.
To meet all the conditional equations, requirements, and schedules, managers tend to use project management software to achieve successful deliverables.
Project management software allows management to take control of the teamwork and keep projects on track for maximum productivity. The application of tools gives them the liberty to map if different teams and employees are working towards the required goal.
Accessing project management software lets you manage plans, costs, resources using one online tool. Using different tools such as Gantt charts, Dashboards, etc. you can create project schedules and assign work with resource availability. The tool minimizes your workload by updating project plans automatically when team members complete their tasks, keeping you informed with all the notifications in one place.
Here are some project management tools by Ignatiuz project management consultancy services:
Smartsheet is a cloud-based project management, work automation, and collaboration solution for managing work and projects with exceptional speed to business value, thus providing PM support at all levels.
Also, Smarsheet allows real-time analysis of key performance indicators, critical trends, and summary reports using Dashboards and Scorecards.
Gantt charts are a collaborative tool that allows easy representation of the project tracking timeline. The tool has the flexibility to display the project as a spreadsheet to the left and a timeline to the right. Tasks with their respected timeline (including the start and end date) help to map out the expected scheduling of the project.
But Gantt Charts are more than visual representation. They allow PMs to set major milestones, assign and associate dependent tasks to one another so that if one task is updated or altered, all linked tasks get changed as well.
The dashboard is a widget to show key data points such as task, status, budget, teamwork, and project overall plan status. A project management dashboard displays metrics for overall project performance and also highlights potential roadblocks that require critical attention.
The automatic feature to create a project dashboard from your data automatically is one of the most liked features of project management tools. Besides, you may want to keep your stakeholders or key people updated on the project and Dashboard is one such feature that lets you do so.
LeanKit lets you visualize your team’s work as it flows through your process. It ensures streamlined and centralized communications for all.
Top 10 Features in Project Management Software and Tools
Finding the best project management software for your organizational needs is a daunting task for there are a plethora of options available out in the market. Before picking up one, consider which features your workspace needs to carry out projects efficiently. Here is a guide on must-have features of project management tools. Let’s get started.
Planning and scheduling and task management tools
The best project management software helps in planning and scheduling tasks for team members and setting priorities and deadlines. There are many ways to do so, such as Gantt charts that give a picture of what activities your team members need to finish first, the status of each activity, and what jobs still need to be done. This tool is extremely helpful in assigning tasks to the team and understanding the team’s goals.
This feature is a must-have, especially if you’re running a project that involves moving parts and deliverables. Document management helps to attach different files or docs easily and quickly so that information remains centralized and shared with your team.
Team collaboration tools
A large project may have hundreds of people working remotely also. Collaboration tools may include options for file sharing, team communication, and sharing the customer data.
When choosing your project software, check whether the software offers free storage for uploading your files and data.
For example, you can share important details about the project where every team member will have access to it.
With lots of people involved in the project, there is a need for a tool that gives you real-time updates on the project. Real-time reporting allows instant notifications about project progress, missed timelines and tasks before they actually turn into some serious shortcomings. Real-time reporting should also allow for customizable reports that take data from previous projects and customize them into new ones.
For example, you can get weekly reports on your project resources, expenses, milestones, and team member’s performance and remain up-to-date on project progress.
Integrations with other software can streamline your workflow and save time in switching to different software applications. Integration keeps things organized and connected in one place. Not every program needs to be integrated but apps that are frequently used and not usually included in PM systems such as Email, CRM, Source Code Repository Integration can be integrated.
It should be possible for you to keep track of the resources being utilized in the project development life cycle. Outlining the use of scheduled and planned resources and the cost of their use will help you in managing a budget. Possibly this will guide you about overutilization or scarcity of resources.
For example, materials used in the accomplishment of tasks or manpower used in performing an individual task.
Learning how much time your team spends on specific tasks will help in working on the project completion date. Time tracking is one of the major constraints of project management. This tool lets you check which team members need guidance on time management. Time tool comes in the form of milestone measurement, which can help you calculate billable hours for the invoice.
Data analytics system
A data analytics system helps you draw important conclusions about your team members’ work ethics. A quality DAS shows where your team members are shortfalling so that you can guide them and make improvements.
Invoicing is an overwhelming process and takes a lot of your time. But with the automated invoicing feature, you can compile and generate a bill in a few clicks. The pre-designed templates will automatically send the invoice to you. Further, the best invoicing software will constantly remind you of due invoices and reduce your time and work.
There is no perfect tool but if your project management tool has these features, you are already close to the best one.
Ignatiuz's Project Management Consultancy Services and Tools
Ineffective project management tools can lead to a number of problems including missed deadlines and overrun costs. For small to medium-sized businesses, failed projects often lead to low revenue. Having learned about the importance of project management for business organizations, we have curated robust project management services and tools to help them grow and succeed.
Our project management solutions use innovative technologies and trends to streamline your project workflow, eliminate roadblocks, and optimize operational processes. Whether you utilize our project management tools as a part of your customer’s integrated management team or as a single contact point, we can help you engineer your business objectives, with our project management consultancy services.
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At every step, we work together with your team to ensure that projects are timely and accurately delivered within your budget constraints.