3 Main Reasons to Switch to a New Project Management Software

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A project management software is an indispensible tool for project managers. The software can help in efficient management of the projects. Using a software can help in adjusting to the ever-changing need of the client.

Not all project management applications are equal. If you are already using work management software, you should find out whether it meets the existing needs of the project. If it’s not, you should consider switching to more appropriate project collaboration software.

Here are three things that will help you decide whether you should switch to a new project management software.

1. Using Microsoft Excel to Manage Project

While Microsoft Excel is a great spreadsheet application, there are certain limitations make it less suitable for managing project. The software is great to collect and analyze data and generate basic schedule. However, the fact that it is a standalone application makes creates hindrance in managing projects. 

An online project management software can give team members, stakeholders, and the management access to project related data. When the team members update the progress, the changes are updated in the system. This is something that is not possible in Excel. So, if you are currently using excel to manage the projects, it’s recommended that you consider making a switch to a new project management application.

2. Not Meeting Project Deadline

Traditional project management tool does not feature user friendly interface. The project manager cannot see whether the team is behind or ahead of schedule. Online project management software have easy-to-understand interface that reflects information in real time. The project manager will be able to know the updated performance of the team members. You will know where the team stands and adjust resources accordingly. 

3. Too Much Time is Spent on Using the Software

Time is precious, especially for project managers. However, the problem with traditional project management software is that too much time is spent on creating reports. With online work management software, however, a company will be able to streamline the project management process. The software has a number of metrics that are displayed on the dashboard. The project manager can view different aspects of the project and easily print the information for review. 

Advancements in work management software have made it possible for firms to ensure real time collaboration between the employees. This is made possible due to easy to deploy online work management software. Fast internet connection and efficient SAAS infrastructure has made it possible to match the performance of desktop computers. This is particularly helpful for small business owners who can access new project management solutions without having to pay top dollars. The subscription rates are only a couple of bucks per month.  Also, most of the online project management software provides free trial so that you understand what’s in it for you before plopping out cash.

5 Project Planning Tips for Quality Project Delivery

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While most of you already know what it takes to ensure quality project delivery, it certainly helps to brush up the project management skills. A good project manager should always remain up-to-date about the most modern project management skills. Follow the five project planning tips that are mentioned in this article to ensure that the project gets completed within time and under budget. 

1. Start with a Solid Foundation

When making the project plan, make sure that you are on the same page with the key stakeholders regarding the project deliverable. A project manager should fully understand the expectations and the interests of the stakeholders. This will help in determining the scope of the project as well as the responsibilities and roles of different project members. 

2. Establish Measurable Criteria for Quality Delivery

At the start of the project, you also need to establish clearly defined goals that are closely assigned with the end deliverables. The established goals should be measurable and easily monitored. Examples of the goals include achieving budget targets, accomplishing tasks within time, ensuring satisfactory project outcome, and meeting regulations and quality standards. Establishing measurable goals will allow you to lay the benchmark against which the success of the project can be measured.

3. Ensure Alignment with Strategic goals

The established goals should not just be aligned with the project requirements set by the client, but also with the overall business strategy. According to Moira Alexander, founder and president of the Lead-Her-Ship Group, the complex corporate environment and global competition has necessitated the need for aligning project management with business strategy. The business activities including project management should be driven by strategies otherwise there is no point of the project.

By ensuring alignment with strategic goals, a project manager will help in avoiding underutilized resources, ambiguous direction, declining project revenues, low performance, and high costs. Alignment with the strategic goals will help in establishing a shared vision that will help the organization as a whole to move in a forward direction. 

4. Remain Laser Focused on Project Requirements

A project manager should remain laser focused on fulfilling requirements of the project. The project manager must ensure that the team have a common goal that is tied with the project requirement. The project team should work as cohesive unit to ensure that all the project requirements are fulfilled. The project manager must align the talents, team, and personalities with the requirements of the project. In this regard, a team management software will prove invaluable.

An online project management software will help individual team members remain clear about their job role and tasks. It will also help the employees to know how their contribution helps in achieving overall project goals. 

5. Keep the Plan Simple

The last project planning tip is that you should try to keep it as simple as possible. Consider making a single page plan. You should consider listing a number of questions that relate to the project , and answering them in the plan. The questions should be answered in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner. 

Digital Project Management: Industry Best Practices

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The advancements of the digital technologies have introduced new work practices. Today almost every business has moved online along with the associated job. The project managers have to adopt new methods and approaches to manage online projects.

Digital project management involves using online collaboration software, digital work management strategies, and cloud file storages. The project managers need to know the industry best practices to ensure that the work is performed efficiently ensuring successful completion of the project. In this article, we will share some of the tips that can help in effective handling of the digital projects. 

1. Know about Project Goals

Digital projects have slightly different goals as compared to traditional projects. These projects entail different deliverables that the project manager should identify before scheduling the project. Find out how the clients measure the project success. Take time to find out what are key requirements of the projects or what matters most to the stakeholders, and align them with your project management strategy.

2. Create an Open Communication with the Customers

With a digital project, you should always be in the loop with the end customers. This is important to ensure that the digital project conforms exactly to the requirements of the clients. After all what’s the point of a digital project that the client will not want to use. Through creating an open line of dialogue with the customer, you will be in the same wavelength with the client regarding the kind of features that should be incorporated with the product. The input of the customers is vital to delivering true value of the project. 

3. Implement the Iron Triangle Approach

The Iron Triangle concept addresses the intrinsic connection between resources, time, and scope. Resources are the tangible part of the project, whereas, project schedule is in essence the time expected to produce the deliverables. Lastly, the scope of the project represents the functionality and features that have been agreed with the client. These three factors directly determine the quality of the project deliverables.  While quality is a subjective term, it is nonetheless affected by the way these four factors are organized by the project manager. 

4. Break Vision into Action

The insights and information of the digital project must define the long-term goal of the project.
When managing a digital project, the project manager must act like a strategist. Just like a strategic planner look at long term deliverables, the project manager must develop a long term strategy for the digital project. 

Once the vision or direction of the digital project has been determined, it should be broken down into different iterations. The project manager must develop, execute, and improve the strategy regarding an iteration that should also define the next iterations. This will help in prioritizing the tasks and exacting the project to perfection. 

Managing digital projects is no walk in the park. It requires a project manager to act as analyst, strategist, and business executive. The manager must balance the business objectives and generate innovative ways to accomplish project deliverables. In this respect, using an effective work management software is indispensible.

3 Best Practices for Project Managers in the 21st Century

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While the ground seems to be constantly shifting for project managers, the fundamental practices remain somewhat the same. The basic knowledge, principles, and practices relating to project management will remain applicable at all times. However, the basic premise of project management must be adjusted according to the demands of the present time. 

In this article, we will look at three best practices for project managers that can help them in achieving quality project deliverables in the present landscape.

1. Search for Technological Solutions

You must be ready to talk to vendors about technological solutions to project management. Make sure that you select a work management software that fulfills the needs of your project. You should go for online project management software as it allows more enhanced collaboration between the project managers.  The online work management software allows people located in the remote collection to work collaboratively. 

Using the online team management software can help in managing employees located in different locations. Also, it makes flexible work practices possible that has shown to result in increased productivity and ultimately revenues for the company. 

2. Find Out the Business Value

When carrying out the project tasks, the main goal should be to identify what will provide the greatest value for the business users. It is important to find out how the investment (or expenses) will offer value to the client. The corporate customers will likely be interested in the ROI that represents the gain for them from the end project. In this respect, a project manager acts more like a financial analyst. While this task can also be delegated to a finance professional, a project manager will benefit from carrying out a cost-benefit analysis as it will help in prioritizing the allocation of resources to different tasks.

3. Regular Reporting of Project Status

A project manager should review project status report on a regular basis. The project report can help in communicating the progress of the project to the stakeholders. Regular reporting of the project deliverables will ensure that issues don’t arise due to not being on the same wavelength regarding the project. Make sure that the report consists of graphs and charts that make the information easily digestible.  Also, the status of the tasks should be highlighted using red, yellow, and green colors. The easier you make for the readers to understand the report, the less are the chances of an issue arising due to miscommunication. 

Project management in today’s context is challenging. It requires a lot of effort and time.  A project manager should remain abreast of the latest practices and knowledge relating to project management. Also, the old project management practices must be adjusted to bring them in line with current practices.

5 Valuable Tips for Effective Project Scheduling

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Project scheduling is an important activity for managing a project. A schedule communicates to the project team members what tasks should be performed, the resources that will be utilized to perform the task, and the time frame within which the task has to be completed. The project schedule displays all the work that must be performed in a way that the project deliverables are met. Without a schedule, a project manager will not be able to meet the project goals in terms of time, cost, and other related resources.

In this article, we will share five valuable tips that can help in effective project scheduling using a work management software.

1. Define the Dependencies Clearly

Dependencies are present in almost all types of projects. Most often, a task cannot be completed unless the dependent task is finished. The dependencies must be identified before creating a schedule using a task management software. The schedule must clearly reflect all the dependencies related to a project. Also, you should consider putting a bit of slack to account for unknown dependencies that can be known only once the project has started.

2. Calculate the Exact Time Required for Completing Tasks

When creating a schedule, most project managers tend to enter a rough estimate of the time required to complete the task. This is not an effective project management strategy. The manager should go at length to determine as much exact an estimate as possible for each task. Accurate scheduling of tasks will ensure optimal project delivery that will meet and even exceed the expectation of the clients. 

3. Make Sure Every Resource is Assigned a Time

Every resource should be assigned a time in hours. It’s advisable to enter some time for the tasks than no time at all.  You should ensure that resources are 100 percent busy throughout the schedule of the task. This is better than the task schedule showing that the resource is doing nothing on certain days.

4. Define the Task Breakdown

Without a proper work breakdown structure, a project cannot be completed successfully. A project manager must ensure that the tasks are broken down correctly with proper deadlines. The deadlines will be of no value if the tasks are not clearly defined when scheduling. By creating a schedule after all the work has been clearly defined will make the process easier for the project manager.

5. Avoid Creating Relationship between Summary Tasks

Some project management software allow the creation of predecessor task relationship between the summary tasks. However, this will create problems as the work progresses and changes occur during the execution phase. A project schedule that has dependencies among the summary project is also not recommended by PMBOK Guide and Standards. While tasks can have predecessors or successors, the summary tasks should not have them.

Scheduling is one of the most challenging tasks for a project manager. But the process can be streamlined by making use of smart scheduling practices. Also, selecting the right task management software is important for efficient scheduling.