Project Management Tools – Do They Enhance Productivity or Hinder It?

Project Management is a complex function which requires expertise and technique. What basically go into it are the Project Manager’s techniques of estimation and planning based on the client’s requirements which are approved by the management and carried out by the Project team members. The experience and the expertise of the Project Manager are what usually lead the project into a success. So we conclude that the estimation and resource planning are key factors to a Project’s success. How does a project management tool help here is a valid question! While programmed software cannot give better input than an expert Project Manager, it can definitely use the past data for data analytics and project the results so that the previous trends and mistakes are not repeated.

The conventional paper and pen methods for project estimation and planning have already vanished long back. Then came the MS Excel way of project estimation and planning! While for smaller projects it is quite convenient, when the stakes are large, you need to think larger than convenience. Established Project Management software does a lot more than precise estimation and planning. Competition has evolved Project Management tools into super-tools that help to manage and deliver projects faster and efficiently. Since it tracks the real-time data, any deviations from the plan, in terms of money and work, are detected faster and alerted to the Project Managers. This ensures a more efficient tracking system wherein the shortfalls in planning, estimation and execution are identified and rectified faster. After all, timely delivery and quality of the project matter the most to the client and the organization’s reputation.

How can the Project Management Software simply work?

Project Management software comes with many useful tools for costing, estimation, resource planning, task scheduling, document management and client management. The competitive players in the current market even offer web portals and mobile management for the Project Managers who deals with multiple projects at one go. It simplifies the Project Manager’s work in terms of drawing the costing, estimation and planning schedules. Reviews of the actual work completed can be availed over the mobile at any given time which ensures faster detection and correction of deviations. Another important aspect of Project Management software is consolidating the data in a presentable form to the management.

Single Level Entry can help track the entire project

In the initial stages, implementing the digital system in an organization may have many hurdles to cross. Data entry is the major issue that many organizations find the most difficult to manage. Either the employees have to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes of their precious time exclusively to input the details of work done every day, or the management has to employ a new set of data entry operators who would consolidate the data and enter it into the system. Both ways, the management will lose a considerable amount of man-hours on real-time data entry. But the advantage it gives is many times greater than the man-hours lost. In fact, the initial burden of data entry will gradually become a part of their work as they get used to the system and it will reflect in the appraisals. Yes, the management can make use of this daily work of employees, compare them against the scheduled work and find out the employees who are the most cost effective for the organization and appraise them properly. This would improve the productivity, which will further reduce the cost of production or cost of the project and will result in higher margins for the organization over a period of time.

Stakes are high but the results are worth

As far as the management is concerned, the cost will be the key factor they consider while deciding on a Project management system. The cost involved in acquiring and implementing new Project Management software and in training the employees would add to the project cost. While it affects the projects-in-progress during the implementation and training process, the results are gained in the upcoming or recently started projects. This system will have the details which can be the base for payroll, accounting, and budgeting. So integration with these modules in the organization can reduce a significant amount of work done there in consolidating such data.

Cloud-based and shared software

With cloud-based and shared software concept trending in the market, organizations can first adopt the shared version of the software they plan to implement and work out a few projects to check how effective it is for their organization. The shared software works on periodical subscription which is nominal compared to buying and implementing software exclusively for the organization. This keeps the stakes low at the initial stages and compensates for the slowdown in the work because of the implementation of a new workflow within the organization. Once the organization has the data which proves how effective the software has been in the successful completion of a project, they can decide on whether to upgrade their online subscription or to go for an exclusive on-premise implementation.

The Technology Drive

Make use of the technology drive trending in the market. A highly competitive market, as we have now, provides a host of solutions to organizations seeking one. Get an industry expert and a technology expert to decide on what is the best solution for the organization and then decide on the type of implementation required that works out in the budget given. Technology keeps coming up with better solutions every day and hence a stand-alone implementation can only keep you looking forward to an upgrade. By the time you analyze and decide to implement one particular upgrade 10 other upgrades will be available in the market! It is an ongoing process. Choosing cloud-based software can keep the project management software working in a cost-effective manner with the most recent upgrades always available to you. The SaaS, IaaS and PaaS ways of sharing the Software, Infrastructure or the Platform can keep the cost on the bay and get you upmarket software which can lead your organization to attain higher goals.