Project Management Software: An Overview
Project management software can be used for a wide variety of functions. Depending on the type and the situation, it can assist in managing general budgets and costs, scheduling, communication, collaboration, allocation of resources, adherence to quality standards and documentation.
The type and scale of software used will likely depend on the size and nature of the project. As anyone who’s ever managed a project knows, one of the largest measures of a project’s success is keeping it on schedule. As such, scheduling is one of the main functions project with which management software is charged.
The software might serve to order events that depend on one another or are arranged in a critical path. It schedules people to work on and resources required by different tasks. The most sophisticated project management software is calibrated to consider the human factor, taking into account the uncertainties in the time required for various tasks.
People also depend on project management software to provide a great deal of information about a project. It might provide a record of a certain project’s execution to illustrate the discrepancy among planning and execution in time and money management.
It also can provide a broad overview of the resources that will be and are being devoted to the project. And most importantly, it likely will provide lists of tasks for individuals involved in the project, as well as allocated resources for each task.
Project management software can be run in a variety of ways. It can be run on the computers of each participant in the project, with a database networked through a server. Alternatively, project management software can be run through a Web portal. This means the project can be accessed from any computer, easing its use by multiple users in geographically diverse locations.
But this option requires that users be online, which is not always possible, and it might slow or limit the functionality of the software, as the speed and quality of Internet connections can vary widely. As with any form of technology, various criticisms of project management software can be raised. Its use might be best suited to managing multiple or large projects — in running one small project, adapting it to project management software might eat up more time and resources than it saves.
Further, use of project management software might lead to an overemphasis on scheduling tasks rather than looking at more-intuitive aspects of project management such as establishing a project’s deliverable objectives. Of course, there are also potential pitfalls to project management software. A company advocating its use might inadvertently discourage its employees from tackling problems via traditional methods in situations where it’d be more cost-effective and advantageous to do so.
Additionally, the software might not prove malleable enough for a project with a range of variables, and it might lock a project into a given plan. Further, project management software might come with modules that have no use for a company or overcomplicate decisions in ways that make no intuitive sense.
So, in considering project management software, it’s important to first look at the size and number of projects an organization might undertake and to select software that meets with those parameters.