Are you using the right project management tools for your project?

date: 6 May 2014
reading time: 3 min

One thing that I have come to realise over the past few years is that as well as great skills in software development, our company has grown to have great project management skills and we really depend on them. Our project managers are vital to the success of our business.

One thing that I have come to realise over the past few years is that as well as great skills in software development, our company has grown to have great project management skills and we really depend on them. Our project managers are vital to the success of our business.

The recession forced companies to scrutinise budgets and new investments more closely than ever before. The economy might be recovering but most boards still want assurance that projected rates of return are really going to be achieved, before approving any expenditure. Working with our clients, we have found that project managers can be the key to helping plan and demonstrate these expected rates of return. However, to be effective they also need the right tools at their disposal. Companies which rely solely on traditional, stand-alone project management tools -like spreadsheets- are not going to be able to plan accurately.

Planning projects in isolation is far too simplistic. In reality, projects sometimes vie for the same resources within a company – after all any organisation’s resources are finite. Without an overview of all projects you can end up with bottlenecks and consequently revenue streams are likely to be somewhat delayed. We are living and working in a highly interconnected, dynamic world. Project planning and management, needs to include real-time data from other applications so projects are not delayed. A modern, effective project-centric approach should involve the linking of project planning and project management to day-to-day enterprise applications – applications used by different departments including finance and human resources. Most software development companies are project-based businesses and therefore as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, project management and planning are vital to their success.

However, I have noticed that many other companies in our sector, have not adopted this integrated approach and therefore are not as efficient as they could be, simply because they cannot accurately plan and manage their projects – i.e. they are unable to forecast and therefore smoothly run their core business. This ultimately impacts on their customers who may find the most appropriately skilled developers are not allocated to their project or their project over-runs.

While implementing new project management software may be painful and disruptive, the benefits it can deliver to a business mean it is generally worth doing. And the sooner you do it, the longer you will reap the benefits for. Your project manager, armed with the appropriate tools should be your ‘knight in shining armour’, enabling you to plan accurately and manage smoothly.

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