Web apps and pro grade management tools for small businessesModern day project management has become virtually unimaginable without the plethora of scheduling software and time management tools we use to get things done. Methods, processes and the whole way we go about project management has come a long way since paper-based Gantt charts: nowadays we rely heavily on desktop or mobile applications and have gotten used to the flexibility they offer. But what are the specific features through which these tools and applications make project management easier, and how exactly can we adapt them to the specific needs of large, as well as small organizations?
Planning and managing tasks and timeNeedless to say that the main purpose of the above mentioned tools is to easily manage tasks and time, and thus have a comprehensive overview of the project. The ideal way to achieve this might vary according to the size of the team and the project itself, but the bottom line is that tasks need to be broken down in a detailed way and it must be clear who is responsible for what, when that will be achieved, how work has been done so far and what is the relationship between all these tasks. Planning tools can use Gantt charts, pie charts, summarizing tables and a variety of visual aids to provide a clear overview, and most often put emphasis on the ease of inserting, assigning and editing tasks.
Sharing and collaboratingAnother key feature of modern day time management tools is their ability to connect key members of the project, whether it’s developers, managers or stakeholders. Mobile compatibility, for example, allows the project manager to keep things under control and up to date regardless of his location, an aspect that will become more and more important considering the rate at which mobile devices are gaining ground. Also, most tools offer the flexibility to export the schedule to a variety of formats to be used in presentations, or even to be embedded online. Nevertheless, probably the most important feature is that team members can collaborate on schedules in real time, which can be real time saver even for people in the same office.
All in all, the variety of planning tools and scheduling software out there is truly vast. All that remains to be done is to find the right balance of features for the specific needs of the team and project in question.
This is a guest post from Emily Cole – working @ Tom's Planner