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Project Management Software – Helping Businesses Succeed

April 30 2010

Project Management tools are aimed towards helping businesses better manage their time, categorize documents, organize workloads, and collaborate with coworkers to make sure all resources are being used to their best capabilities. Depending on the company’s budget and specific needs, there are a multitude of products and tools to choose from. Although some project managers continue to use traditional Microsoft Office products to organize project information, there are several organizations that cite several other options.

When project management tools give the manager an information overload, the outcome is adverse than what the designers of the software intended. A great about of features are a plus, but sometimes it can be  overwhelming. Successful completion of the project requires usage of necessary tools and anything additional can make the project seem overwhelming. It is also true that project managers become reliant on the software to do the job for them. They feel that because it is so simple and fun to use, they can use it for more aspects than it was intended for. In the end, project management tools are there to help individuals to their job more effectively. Over-usage can be detrimental.

The most obvious tool for project management tracking and maintaining progress throughout the duration of the project is Microsoft Project 2008. This tool operates under four main functions Tasks, Resources, Track and Report. The tasks feature allows the project manager to schedule reoccurring tasks such as project update meetings. This portion of the tool can be expanded or hidden to convenience. Showing an extended list of tasks can be distracting and having the capability to minimize this list is an advantage. The resource feature helps the project manager to organize teams for specific tasks and assignments within the project management. Tracking feature allows for the user to track individual sections of the project according to the tasks and assignments he/she has placed previously. Finally, the report feature allows the project manager to print customized progress reports pertaining to the progress tracked by Microsoft Project.

According to Top Ten Reviews, a website that reviews various software programs, Microsoft Project places as number two on the most reliable program list for project management tools. The number one tool on that list is eTask. The major differences between Microsoft Project and eTask is price and integration with other users running the same program. Microsoft Project runs about $599 for a one time purchase fee per employee while eTask is a monthly subscription of $30 per employee. Additionally, eTask allows the project manager to send assignments directly to his/her project subordinates. This is called an ASP module. With Microsoft Project, the program runs completely on the users or managers computer or what is called a client module.

In conclusion, project managers have many different options to meet their needs for a tool that will provide a sufficient environment for charting, graphing, and overall project managing. When cost is not an issue, the project manager should seek a tool that is not over compensating and does not give a false sense of confidence. Project management tools should be used to help the project manager to better assess their progress through organization and simplified tracking methods. Formalized software for that purpose is not always necessary and traditional programs can sometimes be substituted.