Working on projects, regardless of the size, involves many processes that need to be efficiently managed. The success of the project depends on how each segment or process is completed because most managers prefer to streamline the different segments with the use of an automated system.
According to The Houston Chronicles, the software allows organizations to juggle huge amounts of tasks. Read on to discover the basics of the software to utilize its features effectively.
What is Project Management Software?
In order to fully appreciate and understand the software, you need to know the basics of project management. A simple definition of project management taken from Free Management Library, an online resource, explains it as the planning and organizing of a one-time activity including the launching of a product or a special event.
While planning for a project, you need to define goals, as well as, organize plan to execute efficiently. For example, if you are launching a product, you need to focus on the impact you want to create as well as identify who are your audience. To effectively do this, you need to keep an eye on the different segments; however, a project management software sure to get the work done.
Project management tools, as defined by Study.com,allow you to complete a project by managing the different elements involved. These help in planning and organizing various segments necessary in completing the project within the deadline, which include but are not limited to, paperwork and personnel.
Types of Project Management Software
There are different types of project management tools to choose from to take care of your needs. According to SQA, an IT project management firm, tools categorize these into the following:
- Desktop Project Management Software
This type provides graphical and more responsive interface, which helps you work faster. The data is stored in a local file of the computer allowing multiple users to access in the centralized database. However, collaborative work is limited as only one user can access the tool at a time.
With this type of simple project management software, downloaded and installed work stations are utilized. Different versions, such as ones for Windows and Mac, are available depending on the provider offering the best graphical features but with limited access.
- Web-based Project Management Software
Also known as online project management software, this type is accessible with workstation connected to the internet. It functions the same as any web applications, which means the speed and efficiency depends on how fast the connection is. There is no need to download or install the software; the tool can be used from virtually any location. This type is often used for construction program management software where different users access and update the framework simultaneously. These users may be at the build site or home office where real time updates are crucial for project completion.
Web-based tools have limited graphical features and are not ideal for projects needing this function. However, its benefit of multi-user facility and ease of access makes it the preferred type of companies that have a mobile workforce.
- Single User Project Management Software
This type is ideal for small projects that only need one personnel to complete, including desktop tools wherein software can be downloaded to the workstation that need sharing of data.
- Collaborative Project Management Software
For organizations that work on projects where different groups of people need to work together, this type of tool is ideal. Client server and web-based tools fall into this category as these allow members of the team to collaborate on the project.
- Integrated Project Management Software
This type of tool combines planning software with tools used by the business for other aspects of operations. For example, contractors working on building are often paid by the number of hours worked. With integrated software, the labor hours tracked on the project management tool is linked to the billing and invoicing tool making the entire operations more efficient.
Making the Right Choice
While the benefits of using software project management tools are considerable, it is important that you find one that fits your needs. You may choose the one that has multiple features particularly needed for your operations. It is crucial to keep in mind that the best project management tools manage projects efficiently. Whether you choose those need to be purchased or opt for free project management software, consider the following when making your choice.
- Project Needs
According to Scoro, a project management software provider, one of the most important things to consider before choosing software is the features that you need. List down the tasks to be done for your project so that you can identify the necessary features. The next thing is to purchase software that will deliver every thing you need. There may be expensive tools but with impressive features unnecessary for you project. You might be surprised to find out that even free software may already be sufficient. By doing a careful inventory of your needs before shopping, you can minimize the risk of inflating your costs.
- User Friendly Interface
One of the most basic things you need to consider when choosing a tool is the ease of access. While you and your team are highly skilled, a complicated project management tool will ruin the workflow of your project. You can check program management tool reviews available to see feedback from users on how manageable the software is. A case study done by Easy Projects,a software provider based in Canada, showed that company executives stay up-to-date with running projects because of a user-friendly interface of the software, which is something that you want to have in your projects.
- Task Management
This is a basic feature that you cannot do without, whether you are working on a large or small project. To create useful Gantt charts, you need to have a list of tasks to be plotted. You should be able to effortlessly assign tasks to different team members using your tool so that everybody is aware of what they should be focusing on.
- Share Functions
Web-based and multi-user software allows you to share project information with your team members. However, sharing details externally is an entirely different story. If you need to provide information about the project with clients or other stakeholders, then your tools need to have this feature.
- Time sheets
As with every other aspect of your business, managing costs is important when working on a project. While this feature may not win any popularity contests with your team members, it is essential that you track the labor hours spent on the different segments and tasks of what everybody is working on. Be sure to pick a software where completing this task will not be too time consuming without affecting the accuracy of the data collected.
- Dashboards and Highly Graphical Reports
While data remains to be the most important element in completing a project, dashboard containing graphs and summaries of progress is useful. This helps you present information to clients and stakeholders easily. If you work on projects that require reporting of progress, then this feature is what will help you.
- Scheduling Tools
If you’re running on a complex project, which involves multiple groups or teams working simultaneously, then this feature allows you to manage the schedules of the team to finish the set deadline.
- Customizable Interface and Reports
Choosing commercial software for project management does not mean settling on a pre-designed template. Look for tools where you can make adjustments so that you can easily work with the reports and other features.
Project management can be a complex series of processes. This is why software is designed to simplify and streamline the processes in a project. Check out the list of project management software providers available on Crowdreviews.com so you can start finding one that can provide the solutions you need.
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