Project Management – Can Software Solve all of our Problems?

The right Project Management Software

When you search the web for information about Project Management Software (PMS), you’ll find plenty of Software providers that offer, as they say, the best program on market. Surely, all of them aim to implement something extraordinary and matchless in their application but that extra feature shouldn’t be the decisive argument for a purchase. Rating agencies like TopTenReviews and forums like Bright Hub zero in on discussing software in order to provide potential customers with a good resume of the respective program. To eventually understand these summaries and to find the program that suits most, it’s inevitable to acquire a deeper knowledge of the problems that may occur and to know what project management software does to solve or minimize the issues. Project Management Software 2

There are far more than a hundred problems that are likely to occur and cause a project to fail, if certain aspects are neglected or even excluded when starting a new project. I, personally, set priorities, only writing about the potential problems that I consider to be the most significant ones. If we structure the process of a project, we can simply use 3 time periods: Firstly the “preparation-period” when requirements, time frames, objectives and steps are set and evaluated. Secondly the actual “execution” and lastly the “revision” of the project, when success is evaluated through a nominal-actual comparison.

1)

Prepare your Project carefully! Project Management Software

Steve Yager, CEO Artemis International, claims that the first problem that may cause a project to fail is the fact that it can’t begin on time and has vague requirements. To avoid these issues, he suggests to start the project, no matter what’s additionally going on, even if you only start out by breaking down tasks. “The project scope must be narrowed enough at the outset to provide a clear path to the end. Before moving forward, project managers should establish reasonably stable metrics”, Yager writes. He admits that project management software can easily help you by enabling you to create a schedule and set priorities. Based on your needs these programs even provide you with realistic projections to help you manage your resources.

The  Strategic Alignment

Managers want to make sure that they start the right project. Lack of strategic alignment is another indicator for failing. When you’ve reached a point where your current project does not anymore correspond to the objectives you’d set, it’s already too late because you’ve been investing tons of time and money. Yager therefore recommends to ensure that “each project charter contains and explains the rationale for undertaking a project in the context of the current business drivers of the organization.”

2)

 Don’t´Ignore First Stirrings of Failure

When the execution of the project has been started, it’s still likely to fail if you don’t pay close attention to approaching disasters. If there is any sign of failure, you may want to take it seriously and start trying to fix the issue instead of ignoring. Software, in this respect, helps you by reminding you when you’ve reached limits of your resources. It also illustrates the amount of days you’re lagging behind your set time.

 How Does PMS Accelerate the Process?

James Clear addresses an additional issue. Slow communication. If you’re working for a client, an unsteadily communication may result in stagnation of the project. This might be due to the contact’s low interest in the project or communication issues. Project Management Software therefore allows you to easily share the progress with whoever you want and enables you to quickly communicate within the team or with outsiders. In consequence of this, Yager adds that it’s vitally important to make sure that other member can smoothly take over tasks in case of absenteeism. Applications enable managers to post tasks and member to accept or refuse them.

3)

Learning from mistakes!

After your project has finished, managers are expected to revise and evaluate the process and the project in general. The Natural Resources Management and Environment Department gives a clear statement referring to the evaluation:” The consensus is that evaluation, like monitoring, is important because it allows lessons to be learned, leading to improvement in future projects.” The feedback options are a efficient and easy way to revise your project and get feedback by the client, management etc. The project management software contains special columns to give feedback, which should already be used during the project to make sure you’re on the right track. In the end software gives you a clear view on how well you’ve used all of your resources to, as NRMaED writes, learn from it.

Is PMS my Savior?

Project Management Software if definitely a great way to help you manage and organize your project but it’s based on your commands, as a1tasks post on their blog:” Since project management software does not possess intelligence of its own, it cannot be expected to solve all problems.”

So it is still up to you to be aware of the problems related to Project Management and to not let them destroy our project!

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AtTask – Project Management on a High Level!

Methods of quick communication

  • 1100 – smoke signals
  • 1800 – pigeons
  • 1900 – Telephone
  • 2000 – e-mail
  • 2011 – AtTask

Put out them smoke signals, AtTask welcomes you to the 21st century!

This week I got in touch with a great tool called AtTask. It’s an online project management software that helps companies better manage projects, people and ressources. Founded in 2001, by Scott Johnson, its headquarters is located in Orem, Utah with offices in Bejing, Tokio and Europe.

A stroke of genius as a business concept

The idea to create a software, that could help companies to increase efficiency by better managing projects and people as well as ressources was eventually the outcome of a quandary. A group of software developers were in an awkward predicament when they worked from different geographic locations on a variety of projects. They needed a reliable online solution which could aid in project planing and status report and in the end came up with what they named AtTask.

What exactly is AtTask?

AtTask allows its clients to individually set up a network for their projects. “It is easily accessible by anyone with an Internet connection regardless where one is located”, reports Finn Orfano and continues “[…]AtTask supports several languages – French, German, Japanese and Spanish. There is also the provision of inclusion of Dutch and Polish.” It’ works with all recent operating systems like Linux, Mac and Windows. According to toptenreviews the main unique feature is its collaboration capabilities. Everyone with the right of access is easily notified about the status and changes as they occur. Reports can rapidly and effortlessly be shared with clients or managers that want to receive an update about the process, even if they’re not part of your team. In addition, you are able to customize your own page to suit your needs and are empowered to decide on your own deadlines for different tasks. Rather than wondering who might be available and qualified for certain tasks, managers may simply post upcoming and available tasks with their individual deadlines, and team member can opt to accept them.

Putting value on the social aspect

AtTask is based on a constant, internal team communication and therefore offers many ways to get in touch with co-workers and direct supervisors. The pattern remindes me of Facebook as every employee can spread news via status and comment on others’. This feature truly emphasizes the team spirit and lets others unproblematically know what you are working on and where help is possibly needed.

Uncertainty? Isn’t that waking up, not knowing what the day will bring?

“[…] capacity, resources and demand may be determined and monitored effectively“, mentions projectmanagesoft.com and refers to the implemented Resources Management. A capacity planer enables you to add new projects to a schedule and calculate if it’s feasible to accomplish within the set time period. “This feature compares the resources you have to the resources the project requires.” adds toptenreviews and indicates that this feature avoids overuse. Employees have a list of tasks and know exactly what to do until when.

You are your own boss!

The drag and drop system allows you to change the order of your tasks and by that to set priorities. You are notified if tasks are overdue or the management changed priorities. It provides you with an ample scope and offers you the freedom to choose individually on which task you like to work on.

Pricing, definitely a blemish!

If you go to AtTask’s website you’ll find lots of columns containing tons of information but the one thing you wont find is any information on pricing. That’s not for no reason. You can choose between several licenses which contain additional tools and also, since it’s individually adjustable, there are individual offers depending on what your company wants. Christopher Stordalen from the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance reveals some prices for the University of Minnesota (all prices per year).

  • Project Manager Enterprise – $650
  • Project Manager Professional – $395
  • Team Members – $250
  • View Only – $150

Just the fact that there is no information on AtTask’s website is in my opinion quite suspect. There is a free trial though which you can sign up for here.

What’s in it for me?

As a business you might wonder if this online software affects your benefits. Well why don’t you ask Apple, Adobe, CBS or HBO? All these companies are AtTask clients, as populicio.us states. They assumably use AtTask because of the reasons projectmanagesoft.com summarizes. According to their opinion AtTask impoves productivity and manages the workflow within the company. The planing tools help companies to identify problems faster and resolves issues more efficiently. Miscommunication is minimized and misunderstanding reduced. Both, employees and employers benefit from AtTask as it includes features that replace other, yet necessary, applications. It’s individually adjustable and a solution that grows with you.

AtTask is finally a software that demonstrates how businesses can be more efficient and businesslike by applying humanistic values to human resources.

 AtTask has received the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for Project Management Software, knocking Microsoft to second place!