Two of the largest hurdles that project managers find themselves constantly struggling against are finishing projects ahead of schedule and ensuring that projects come in under budget.
Benefits of Project Management Software
Project management software addresses both of these concerns by enabling project managers to automate processes that would otherwise be prone to oversights, errors and a mismanagement of resources.
Through streamlining the planning and resource allocation phases of each project, project heads can feel confident that cost control and resource allocation processes are optimized and documentation is made every step of the way.
The magic behind most project management software packages starts with the ability to visually depict and juggle each project’s phases and those phases’ interconnections.
From there, project management software provides managers with the scheduling resources and resource allocation tools – particularly for your most valuable resource: your own employees – needed to reach your project’s deadline ahead of schedule and under budget.
Project Management Software Must Haves
All project management software packages, though, are not created equal. Some excel in areas that others lag behind in while other packages are well-rounded planning, scheduling and cost control powerhouses.
An example of a piece of project management software that does particularly well on the planning side is Microsoft Project.
Microsoft Project is part of the company’s enterprise project management system, and this software can help managers proactively gauge the project’s progress and monitor workloads in real time for optimal resource allocation.
Microsoft’s project management software is a great example of a package that gives you collaborative tools to coordinate between members of your team while presenting a project manager’s inner circle with an incredible sleek user interface.
While Microsoft Project is arguably the project management software par excellence for PC users, a very popular option among Mac users is OmniPlan.
OmniPlan – a clever portmanteau of “omniscience” and the ability of managers to adequately “plan” and efficiently allocate resources – puts simplified project visualization tools right at the fingertips of iPad and Mac users.
Project tracking and an incredibly intuitive interface makes OmniPlan a crowd favorite among project managers around the country.
Although the two packages listed above are probably the most popular options for PC and Mac users, respectively, these pieces of project management software might be outperformed in certain niche areas by companies you haven’t necessarily heard much from recently.
Basecamp, for instance, is a relative newcomer on the project management software scene since it specializes in the task management phase of every project and is mainly accessed through mobile app.
This particular project management software is usually taken up by freelancers, small shops and medium-sized businesses eager to leverage and coordinate human resources to meet ambitious deadlines. Best of all, Basecamp requires absolutely no IT technical support and is fully cloud-enabled – and over 99.9% uptime isn’t too shabby either.
More Helpful Features
Although getting everyone on the same page and coordinating the job duties of every team member is an essential side of resource allocation, perhaps as important is keeping an accurate tally of all documentation. Ensuring that documentation is secured in the cloud and accessible by all relevant team members should also be a feature of a well-rounded project management software package.
Even though web-based tools like GoogleDocs can help managers disseminate and store documents, project management software with built-in document storage tools greatly simplifies the process while offering the other benefits mentioned above. GoPlan and DotProject are two additional management framework tools that can make sure your next project starts (and ends) on the right foot.