As the size of projects grow, the project manager must scale efforts to meet the growing needs. Project management becomes a full time job. Some larger projects even have project management teams and project control specialists to help. But having the right tools can help anyone work more efficiently and effectively.
Let's just take a look at one example - scheduling. For a very small project, I've often used what's known as a milestone chart or 3WS (who, what, when, status) chart to map out the tasks. As projects grow, a simple task management software package may do the trick. And the largest projects can benefit from tools like MS Project, Primavera, or Project Libre which can easily detect overallocations and smooth out resource usage.
Here are some additional ideas on why project management tools, especially the right ones, are so important.
Promote better planning: Projects need the right amount of quality planning. The better the plan, the easier it will be for the team to follow the roadmap to success. Tools that are structured to encourage the right amount of planning will guide the team and result in a better plan.
Balances use of resources and time management: Many project managers working without tools will feel overwhelmed at tracking all the necessary project details. Having the right tools can promote better time management for both the project manager and the team, and also make sure that resources are fully engaged as needed.
Improve tracking: Tracking time, cost, schedule, and scope while also ensuring the right quality can be tedious. Having tools that can generate reports from basic data entry can help make sure the right level of tracking and reporting is accomplished.
Easier reporting and data sharing: In addition to easier reporting, having data available to the project manager and team members is critical to having feedback loops so issues can be appropriately handled. The right tools can facilitate data sharing and other communications needs.
Helps with remote teams and work: With work from home, many have been quickly initiated into working with remote teams. Here there can be issues with time zones, cultures, and communications that require mitigation. The use of Zoom and MS Teams has grown exponentially.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the importance of not just having project management tools, but having the right tools. How do we determine the right tools? We'll look at that in next week's tip!
In the meantime, if you are looking for some tools and templates, be sure to check out our free downloads at https://accidentalpm.online/downloads.
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