by Naveen Agarwal
Project Management

The words’ Project Management’ springs a mental picture of a couple of team members and a project manager, often accompanied by an assortment of paraphernalia such as schedulers, sticky notes, reminders and brainstorming sessions. Gone are the days when project management meant a couple of humans sorting tasks, assigning jobs and collaborating their efforts to reach a specific project goal. With the advent of the project management tools aided by the software industry, project management has become a much more people-centric and data-oriented activity while maintaining the highest standards of efficacy in resource utilisation.

According to a report of the Project Management Institute titled Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027, project management-oriented employment is the fastest growing in India in the said decade. It states that these 10 years would see a requirement of 70 lakh new project managers. However, skilled project managers are in a shortage. It is wise for organisations to equip themselves and their project managers with modern project management tools such as Smartsheets and MS Project. This would help organisations align their efforts with their strategy promptly, ensuring adequate returns on investment. The report on project management practices in India released by the project management institute in 2010 shows a 70% penetration of project management software within their organisations.

Some of the key benefits of using project management software are as below –

1. Superior Planning And Forecasting

It is said that well planned is half-done. A project has to be thoroughly analysed for resource requirement, availability of knowledge pool, identifying risks and deficiencies etc. Effective project management accurately forecasts these things and helps set deadlines, movement of resources, allocation of tasks and so on. A good plan available in the system would also help accelerate the planning process for new projects with similar requirements and to prioritise tasks.  

2. Real-Time Management

Project tracking and real-time management is the next important aspect of project management. Following up on tasks allocated, tracking progress made by team members, accounting for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances etc., is made possible with the help of project management software. Since the data is continually fed into the software by the team, it helps the management in accelerated decision making.

3. Seamless Collaboration

The very essence of project management is synchronising the efforts of team members to achieve the project goal. Good project management software would feature seamless collaboration between team members by having a shared pool of resources, easy file sharing. In general, everyone related to a specific project has access to the project details, comments, updates and clarifications even if they miss some meetings, physically enabling them to catch up quickly. This holds good even for team members who are shuffled into on-going projects due to business exigencies. Even remote and scattered project teams can easily coordinate with the help of project management tools available in the market.

4. Advantages Of Automation

Project management software has capabilities built-in that have utilities that could automate routine and repetitive tasks. This enhances the productivity of the workforce by engaging them in better and meaningful activities. Activities such as attendance, time-keeping, indexing of work allocation, MIS reporting, etc., could be automated to get the desired output at the click of a button. 

5. Budgetary Control

Every project has a financial resource allocation within which the project team should control their costs to deliver adequate profits. A project management software helps keep the project’s costs under control since data about the cost incurred at any point in time would be readily available, reducing chances for the project scope to creep or go off track.

6. Data Analysis And Insights

In strategic management of projects, time is of the essence and to enable timely decision, data is required at any given moment. Project management software also fills in the role of a data bank not only with regards to a single project but also with several projects that could be analysed at the same time. This moves the decision making from a reactive phase to a proactive phase. Trends could be analysed in similar projects, comparisons made, and root-cause analysis of project deviation or failure carved out. Project management tools help gain insights from data to mitigate known risks to a great extent.

7. Availability Of Built-In Templates

Project teams would be required to visualise data into charts or make a frequent presentation concerning project updates or conduct bottle-neck analysis of issues being faced, and so on. Good project management software has built-in templates that enable the team members to focus less on the design and aesthetic aspects and focus on the issue at hand.

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