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Project management software
6 min read

Choosing the best project management software

Project management software can help prevent endless meetings, complex spreadsheets and your desk from drowning in post-its. This article will look at how you can use it to collaborate in an efficient and effective way, plus some of the best project management software products on the market. 

What is the definition of project management?

Project management is the leading of a team (by a project manager) to complete tasks that achieve set objectives within a specific timeframe and budget. 

As well as costs and timelines, project management will outline: 

  • Who is responsible for each task
  • What order the tasks need to be completed in 
  • The current status of tasks 
  • The workload of each member 
  • Key milestones 

Project management will allow for the early identification of any constraints in completing the project such as lack of time, resource, budget or skills required. These project risks can then be dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity.

What is a project?

A project can be done by one person or as a collaborative effort with a plan in place to complete a series of tasks in order to reach a particular goal. 

Typically, a project will be split into five different process groups.

  • Idea session
    Project initiation

    This will involve creating the project proposal and scope and conducting the relevant research including financial, stakeholder and SWOT analysis.

  • Project planning and design

    Developing the schedule, budget, team, deliverables and the order that tasks should be delivered in.

  • Wireframes
    Project execution

    After approval of the project plans, the implementation of the project work begins with the coordination of resources to produce the agreed deliverables.

  • Project monitoring and control

    This involves the management of the project, measuring that tasks are being completed as expected and dealing with any project risks as they arise to keep the project on track.

  • Laptop shut closed
    Project closure

    The project is officially complete. At this stage, there will normally be a post-project review to see what went well and what could be improved on for the next project.

Checklist: What are the core project management principles?

Following the principles in the checklist below will help you to utilise project management software to best of its capabilities. 

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When should I start using project management software?

If you have been assigned the role of managing a project, or perhaps you have inherited the project from somebody else, consider where the project is currently at and if the use of project management software would be of benefit. 

Project management software is useful for:

  • Getting a team involved and working together 
  • Communication 
  • Assigning and managing tasks including seeing the order that tasks need to be completed in (the critical path or critical path management – CPM) 
  • Checking the status and progress of tasks and the overall project 
  • Monitoring risks 

For its use to be successful, everybody on the project team should commit to using the same tool and updating it regularly. If the project is straightforward or there are only a couple of people involved, the setup, cost and use might go to waste and something like a spreadsheet could suffice.

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