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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Sizing Up the Right Project Management Tool

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 04:18 PM

In addition to the project management tools that we teach at People-OnTheGo, such as Microsoft Project, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Sites, Asana, and project wikis, our guest blogger will shed some light on additional PM tools for various project sizes.

projectmanagement tool software people onthego

Guest blog post by Jose Maria Delos Santos

Initiating a project needs adequate preparation. A significant percentage of projects have failed because of the lack of it. Aside from the necessary project management skills and processes, people also need to use the correct tool for the job. As projects come in different sizes, it is also important to use the right-sized PM tool for the project.

The defining line whether a project is small or medium-size can be difficult but is generally relative to the sponsoring organization. As such, PM tools for small and medium-size projects sometimes fall into one group. However, a PM tool having more core PM functionality, such as project tracking, task dependencies, time and expense tracking and resource management, is better suited for medium-size projects. Large projects have a bigger impact in terms of duration, resources, cost, risk and deliverables, and therefore need a PM tool that has a comprehensive set of integrated and sometimes customizable features.

PM Tools for Small Projects

Producteev is a web-based social task management platform that is well suited for small projects. The first interface is called the Workspace, and from this page, the user can create and complete tasks as well as invite people for collaboration on the task. It is available on many platforms such as a PC, Mac, mobile devices, and even just with an email.

Teambox is a project management and collaboration platform that is relatively easy to use. All communications of the team can be organized by projects for easy reference. The discussion may be converted easily into tasks and tracked for progress through a workload view, calendar, or Gantt chart.

ProofHub is an online PM tool that offers cloud-based storage, flexible pricing, and unique inbuilt chat and proofing tool that improves work efficiency greatly. For example, team members and clients alike can use the online collaboration tool that is faster and more powerful than email. All chat history is then stored for easy reference and update.

PM Tools for Medium-size Projects

AceProject is an online application that has strong project management features including Gantt charts, project tracking, time and expense tracking, document management, reporting, and mobility. It also has important human resource management features critical for medium-size projects involving a greater number of people. It can include external collaborators to the project while maintaining security and integrity with access rights. Since projects always involve resources, their availability and their assignment, AceProject’s time tracking, expense tracking and reporting features become indispensable.

LiquidPlanner is an online PM and analytic tool that has more than just a built-in project collaboration feature. It also has the important scheduling and organizational features that can be set by priority. It also has time tracking and approval features that make it easy for team members to fill up their timesheets and for project managers to approve them.

Intervals is an online software that helps users take control of their time, tasks, and projects. Many businesses in over 100 countries are using it, which resulted in successful projects and expansion of their business. It has powerful reporting features that allow the project manager to see how the projects are advancing, what the workload is on a team member, and how well within budget is the project costing.

PM Tools for Large Projects

EPM Live is a work management platform for managing projects. Aside from project management tools such as scheduling, collaboration, timesheets, and reporting, it also has portfolio management, cost management and work management features. It has powerful workflow automation features that can be implemented across the organization for the total picture of project performance. It may be deployed online through the Internet or on-premise within the company.

Project Insight is a customizable online PM software that boasts of a long list of features but still retains ease of use. It is flexible as well to be deployed online or on-premise. It has the needed features to support project scheduling and resource allocation. It also has issue tracking, MS Outlook and Office integration, and portfolio management features.

Genius Project is an enterprise project management system that has all the needed PM features and more. It has project portfolio management, invoicing, demand management, risk and change management, and Agile SCRUM support. It can be deployed as software-as-a-service or hosted on-premise. It also has integration with IBM’s Lotus Notes and Domino.

Conclusion

Web-based PM tools are being adopted more by SMBs because of low initial costs, scalability, and rapid deployment that have increased their ability to compete with larger competitors. Security issues that have made bigger enterprises hesitant to adopt cloud services are now being addressed by on-premise deployments of these same PM tools. Clearly, whatever the size of the project or organization, a PM tool now exists with a right fit.

About Jose Maria Delos Santos: Jose is a freelance article writer for Project-Management.com, a website dedicated to provide PM articles, detailed project management software reviews, and the latest news for the most popular web-based collaboration tools.

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: virtual teams, document collaboration, Microsoft Project Training, Microsoft SharePoint Training, Technology, management, collaboration

Question & Answer: What is the best way to share the task list and Gantt chart in Microsoft Project with people who only use Word and Excel?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Sun, Jun 06, 2010 @ 10:45 PM

Microsoft Project Tutorial
There are many ways to share Microsoft Project data with users who don't have access to Microsoft Project. I would like to point out two approaches, one that consists of exporting Microsoft Project data to Excel, and another that consists of taking snapshots of Microsoft Projects views and making them available as pictures.

Approach #1: Exporting to Excel

First: From the File menu, select Save As, and then provide a file name, and select the file type "Microsoft Excel Workbook", and click Save.

Second: The Export Wizard opens up, which will guide you through defining a "map" for the export, in which you specific what data you would like to include.  

Microsoft Project Tutorial

Third: Once you define the mapping and click Finish, the resulting Excel workbook is generated. 

This process of defining a map involves specifying the fields that you want to export from Microsoft Project and the corresponding column headings in Excel. This can be a tedious process the first time you do it. However, the good news is that you can save the map, and then reuse it when you perform this process again in the future.

Approach #2: Saving reports as pictures

Microsoft Project 2007 makes this easy by offering the "Copy Picture" option in the Reports menu.  The following settings are available:

Microsoft Project Tutorial

For instance, here is a snapshot of a Gantt Chart that was generated using the "Copy Picture" approach, and using the "To GIF image file" option (split into 2 for better readability):

Microsoft Project Tutorial
 
Microsoft Project Tutorial 

Additional Resources

Topics: Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Project Training

Question & Answer: How do I indicate that a task that is in progress is going to take longer than estimated in Microsoft Project?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Jun 01, 2010 @ 07:34 AM

Microsoft Project Task Tracking
While it is easy to mark a task as complete or to indicate a percentage of completion in Microsoft Project, it may not be as obvious how do we mark a percentage of completion for a task and at the same time indicate that this task is going to take longer than expected--so that Microsoft Project recalculates the remaining tasks start dates and adjust the project schedule  accordingly. This is one of the questions that comes up at our Microsoft Project Techniques workshops and which has an easy answer.

Indicating a percentage of completion and updating task during in Microsoft Project


First: Select the desired task

Second: From the Tools menu, select Tracking, and then Update Tasks:

Microsoft Project Tutorial

Third: Instead of entering a percentage of completion, enter the actual duration that has been spent on this task already (let us say 3 days in this case) and the remaining duration to complete the task (let us say 4 days in this case):

Microsoft Project Tutorial

In other words, this task, which was estimated to be a 5 day task, has already taken up 3 days, and it is expected to take 4 more days to complete--for a total of 7 days.

Once you press Ok to confirm your updates, Microsoft Project adjusts the schedule accordingly. 

That easy!

Additional Resources


Topics: Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Project Training

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