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Software For Project Management - Types of Software Used For Project Management

business time application workstation

Project management and software for project management are two very different things. Simply put, project management is a process, while software is a tool.

The detailed definition of the process is not so simple — essentially, project management is the use of resource planning and management to complete a specific project goal successfully. A goal may consist of smaller, more specific goals, or milestones. A project is a temporary effort (as opposed to business operations, which are permanent, functional, generally repetitive, and designed to produce a continuous flow of products or services). A project has a defined beginning, and a defined ending, said definitions not necessarily based on time, but possibly based on available funding, or on deliverables. The purpose of the project is well-defined as an undertaking for unique objectives that will cause some added value or a beneficial change to the business operations.

Management of business operations is markedly different than management of a project, and project management requires technical skills not used in business operations management. Resource handling is also different — within businesses, the securing, organizing, and maintaining of resources is not only done on a permanent basis, but is done by specialized departments.

Budget, time, and scope are the three primary constraints on a project, and project management must work within those constraints and still achieve the project objectives, as well as allocate and manage whatever the project needs to end successfully.

Now that we’ve defined project management, let’s take look at the components of project management software that aid a project manager. Besides resource allocation, the software must provide scheduling capabilities, budget and cost control, and collaboration and team communication features. On the administrative side, the software must note adherence to quality control criteria for the work done, and provide full documentation of the project.

For example, within the planning and scheduling functions, the project management software must create details to allow the monitoring of a series of tasks, allowing a check of actual time/effort versus estimates. Challenges that may arise in the scheduling function are the dependencies between tasks, conflicts with workers’ own work-schedules on non-project work, and uncertainties in estimation. And the biggest challenge is pulling out the necessary accurate details from the scheduling functions to inform the project’s stake-holders, who must be kept aware of the cost and effort needed to complete the project.

There are several combinations of approaches for project management software: desktop-based versus web-based, single-user versus collaborative, and the degree of integration with the business. There is also the low-cost alternative of non-specialized tools, where ordinary software, such as workstation calendars or spreadsheets, can be used to handle simple project management tasks — however, these products do not have the horsepower to handle all project management functions.

With a desktop setup, the project management software is an application that runs on the desktop of the workstation of each user. Data files for the application are stored on the workstation, or on a network drive that can be shared among the project team, as long as each of them has the same application installed on their own workstation. Also, only one worker at a time can access the data files..

If the project management software is set up as a Web application, it can then be accessed anywhere in the world through the Internet, through a company intranet for project team within the business, or a compromise between the two, as a network that allows both internal and external access. The advantages of such an approach are:
- Wider range of access possibilities
- No requirement to install software
- Easier control of application access
- Made to be multi-user
- Centralized data repository

A single-user approach means that only one person can use the data at one time — some project management software uses a client/server architecture, where project details are loaded onto the client workstation, and later modified on a central server, which synchronizes all changes from all workers.

Finally, project management software can be integrated into the company’s business operations at various degrees. For example, the company’s automated messaging system may become the messaging system for the project. The company’s software bug tracking system may become part of problem troubleshooting for the project.

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about 5 years ago

its useful for me