Project Management Software Questions and Answers

What is project management software?

Project management software is software used by project managers to schedule, control costs, resources and completion terms of their projects. Even complex projects become clear and easy to manage, because they are arranged as a succession of scheduled and interrelated tasks with various resources assigned. Project management software helps managers estimate their project finish dates, calculate project budgets, smartly manage available resources, and timely recognize and resolve critical issues.
 

Do I need project management software?

If you have a team of professionals all working on or involved in a project, you probably need some tool that will help you organize the collaborative work of all the team’s members, both in time and space. You will need to schedule all the events and tasks to be done in time and arrange them in a logical order, taking account of the way they depend on each another.  All that can be managed with the help of project management software.
 
 You definitely need project management software if you have to:

  • calculate your project budget and costs
  • know how much time your project will take to complete
  • know what human, material, and cost resources your project will take to complete
  • organize the work of many people responsible for different tasks in your project
  • identify critical issues that may affect meeting project deadlines
  • organize and take full control of the project to ensure its successful implementation
  • your customer works with such software

How would project management software help my project?

  • You will have your project scheduled task by task
  • Project management software helps you schedule all the events and tasks to be done in time and arrange them in a logical order, taking account of the way they depend on each another. Let’s say, some job should be performed prior to another. For example, you may need to have some materials supplied before your production personnel starts their works.  The production process may also involve several steps that depend on one another: preparation works, actual production works, tests, correction, final tests, and approval. If a certain task may not start before another one (for example, the testing of a product may not logically start before the product is finished), you can visually link such tasks as dependent in your project plan. Also, you could arrange some tasks to follow one another, but you could smartly organize your production team to start preparation works together with supplies. When the materials are there, your team will also be ready to start off the production process. Such types of event dependencies can be coordinated in project management software.

  • You will smartly employ personnel throughout the project
  • When there are different people responsible for performing different tasks, it is a challenge to control and organize smooth interaction of all the people involved.  Back to our sample case, different personnel might be employed at each phase of the project: supplies can be handled by procurement managers, while product testing can be performed by qualified testers. In project management software, you can assign different work resources to any task to see who is responsible for what at each phase of your project.
     
    In your company, the same people can naturally be assigned to several tasks or even projects at a time. For example, testers might have to simultaneously evaluate some other products, or the same designer might be involved in preparing patterns for different projects. In this case, there is a risk of overloading people, and this challenge is successfully resolved with the help of the project management software. Using such software, you would instantly see who is assigned to more tasks than they can handle.  You can also find the ways to resolve this, for example, through resource leveling. You can reassign the task in question to other people, or assign more people to that task, or just reschedule it so that an overallocated person could perform it when less busy.

  • You will easily and quickly estimate your project finish dates
  • Even more importantly, you probably need some instruments to estimate the time that your project will be complete by. Without such instruments, you only have to guess the proposed finish dates of you project. And your forecast would be based on approximate assumptions of how long each task in the project will take. In project management software, you will be able to set time phases for every task in the project and see their calculated durations. Likewise, the length of the entire project will be automatically estimated based on all the tasks’ durations summed up. Thus, project management software will provide you with specific start and end dates for your project, making your project assumptions as clear and accurate as never before.

  • You will timely identify and resolve critical issues
  • Project management software will be helpful if you have strict deadlines for your project completion. When it comes to meeting deadlines, it is important that you understand what tasks are critical to the successful completion of your project right in time. Again, such software can help you duly identify the tasks at risk. For example, with task dependencies set out, you will be able to clearly see that if a certain task is delayed, your entire project may be affected. In project management software, you will also see ways to optimize such a situation. For example, allocate a backup work resource that can replace or help your key responsible person in case they are unable to complete the critical task in time. Or reschedule the predecessor tasks to earlier dates to win more time for the critical one.

  • You will easily calculate your project costs
  • Project management software helps you easily calculate the budget for your project. You may use any types of resources – human, material, or otherwise – throughout your project, and all of them cost money. If you want to know how much attracting a certain professional to the project will cost you, or to calculate the cost of the entire project, a project planner is the right instrument to do this.

  • You can consider different project scenarios
  • You can use project management software to consider different “what if” scenarios for your project development.  You can make various assumptions and see how the project behaves. For example, what if you shift some task to a later date, or employ a more expensive yet more efficient specialist, or use cheaper material resources? How will this affect your project costs, finish dates, deadlines, or resource workload? There can be plenty of scenarios, and project planners provide handy tools to explore them.
     

    10 things to keep in mind when choosing project management software:

    1. Usability – Nice and user-friendly interface is critical to project management software, since you will be using it to have your project
    2. Affordability – When optimizing project costs is essential, finding a cost effective project management solution is one of the ways to do so.
    3. Variety of task dependencies – In complex projects, events and tasks may depend on each other in different ways. Your project planner should support at least 4 types of task dependencies.
    4. Variety of task constraints and deadlines – A task constraint is a parameter that restricts the task to finish or start before a certain date or time. For best convenience, there should be at least 8 types of task constraints.
    5. Several resource types – In reality, you don’t employ only human resources in your project. There are also material and cost (like rent, airplane tickets, etc.) resources involved. To keep your project true to life, use project management software that allows you to choose from various types of resources, not just work resources.
    6. Team planner supported – Your project management software should enable you to identify resource overloading issues and effectively manage them.
    7. Critical path method supported – When meeting deadlines is critical, it is important to know what events can affect project completion dates. Using a critical path in your project management software, you will instantly identify critical tasks the delay of which may affect the length of the entire project.
    8. Visual Gantt chart – It should support all types of task dependencies, and a mouse use for greater convenience.
    9. Customizable calendars – It is only natural that your resources may have different working schedules or may not be available at the same time. Your project management software should allow you to customize individual calendars for all types of resources, as well as support exceptions and work weeks.
    10. Microsoft Project file import – As long as you’re not using Microsoft Project, this feature is critical to you because your partners or customers may work with mpp files. Select the project management software that is absolutely compatible with MS Project.

    Go and choose your project management tool here

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