7 Critical Project Management Tools Features Project Manager Needs
Jennifer was clueless for a moment. Peter, business manager from client has called up regarding a problem his started facing in the first iteration of service management solution, Jennifer’s team has delivered in last month. Jennifer is a client project manager implementing her company’s flagship service management software for its clients. She is stretched in terms of pulling off things together, there are limited resources issue, extended delivery date issue, team management issue, requirement gold platting concerns. Though for a moment she couldn’t even think how she would be able to pick up her daughter today evening from a coaching class.
As Jennifer assured Peter that she will get the team look into the problem and will try to resolve it at earliest. She started thinking about, why things have becoming unmanageable. She can’t get the status of project progress, she doesn’t know exactly who is working on what activity, how far her team members are occupied across projects. She knew that she can’t be using spreadsheet forever to plan and manage project timeline. Each project has a separate spreadsheet for timeline, issue log, risk log, resource allocation schedule; and of course as you guessed, there were multiple copies of each. Though there was a time tracking tool but that’s about it. Team members were not entering their time data regularly; rightfully so because it was a tedious task in itself to enter data in that software.
Jennifer is not alone. There are a very significant percentage of project managers who are struggling to manage their project. Few of the primary reasons for this struggle
- Unclear requirement, gold-platting
- Not sufficient budget
- Unavailability of rightly skilled resources, team members
- Lack of client/higher management support
- Absence of right project management tools and collaboration platform
- Lack of mature project management process
- Resistance to change
We have talked about these aspects previously. Let’s look at how project manager can get started using project management tool, for himself/herself, for team’s benefit, for client/higher management’s benefit, to ensure transparency and accountability of stakeholders, to streamline and standardize project management processes. There are certainly elements project managers has to check before s/he selects project management tool. Let’s look at those elements.
Critical Project Management Tools Features for Project Manager
Getting engrossed too much into tactical activities (such as organize status call, status meetings, keep pinging team members for minor update/ issues, etc) is not good for a manager who is driving project deliveries. Yes, there has to be a balancing act between tactical and strategic (understanding trends through KPIs, exploiting insights from project KPIs/PMO processes, implementing new process, improving existing process, innovative approach of collaboration, cutting down time to market/delivery, etc.) activities. In order to reduce the excessive burden of tactical activities on project manager, facilitate team collaboration, streamline project management process, right project management tools play a very effective role.
PM Tool Is No Longer An Exclusivity of Project Manager: It is For Entire Team
A robust project management software is meant to be used by entire project team, rather than project manager alone. The right set of tools will help project team to focus on their project activities and the same set of tools will allow project manager to identify, plan, track, monitor those project activities seamlessly; without struggling on tactical aspects.
Integrated Project Planning: Not Just Scheduling
Speaking of project planning, by and large many PMs think of Microsoft Project® or Oracle Primavera®, which is not entirely correct. Project planning means much more than scheduling: it is also about communication planning, it is also about risk planning, it is also about resource planning, budgeting/cost planning, etc. In my experience I have seen project managers struggle to use Microsoft Project beyond its basic excel like task scheduling functionality. The project management tool should have rich scheduling capability such as Gantt Chart plus critical path and baseline, cost estimation, resourcing, billing, earned value management. Project manager should be able to create/update project plan, fairly easily: set up tasks, milestones, create dependency, set lead/lag time, etc. S/he should be able to link issues, risks to task for planning purpose. In short project management tool should offer integrated or holistic approach to plan and manage projects.
We will look at rest 5 important project management tools features for project manager in next post.
Additional readings about project management, leadership
- Case Study: What Happens When Project Team Has Dual Reporting
- Avoid These 10 Most Common Mistakes That Leads to Project Failure
- Back2Basics: Ultimate Project Management Guide: Project Planning
- 8 Reasons to Decide Whether Your Organization Needs Project Management Office
- How To Select The Right Project Management Software
Your life can be become easier with the right project management system. ZilicusPM is the right PM tool for you and your team. Get started now.
Zilicus offers All-In-One online project management software ZilicusPM that provides complete project management control for project and portfolio managers; at the same time makes it really simple for project team members to stay on top of things. If you have been managing projects with conventional spreadsheet/ MS Excel templates or emails, it is the right time to start using online project portfolio management software. ZilicusPM is great platform for better project collaboration. Take a screenshot tour of project management software tour of ZilicusPM and Sign up for 30-days free trial of project management software ZilicusPM