The 21st century could be described as having been the site of multiple industrial revolutions all colliding with each other with how much teleconferencing, online collaboration, and computer networking have evolved. As connectivity has always been inextricably linked with creating new forms of work, with our world becoming increasingly interconnected, businesses and corporations have also been expanding their operations globally.
However, even though possibilities for simultaneous collaboration on a global scale have opened up, new complexities surrounding communication and task management have developed. Simply put, working remotely can be rather complex and tedious. Timezones, cultural understanding, and workplace norms can all differ drastically, creating potential obstacles.
An untold story of the last few decades has been the rise of project management tools. They play a large part in just about any team, in any organisation of any size, and crucially, uphold the organization and efficiency of just about every kind of collaborative task.
As such, shrewd developers have come to realise the importance of good management in a team and have developed and improved upon applications to cater to constantly emerging project requirements. Of course, having a high-tech project management platform doesn’t work if your managerial force isn’t trained to use it. Click here for information on how to help your key players achieve PMP certification.
By understanding the key benefits and the operations of project management tools, you might very well see an increase in the overall efficiency of your group projects. Read on to learn the fundamentals of project management tools and decide for yourself whether you want to implement them in your company.
Key Components of Project Management Tools
“Project management tools” is a broad term that cannot be explained in a sentence or two. To get a more comprehensive idea of what exactly project management tools are, let’s take a look at the six different key pillars.
- Collaboration and Communication
A project typically consists of a team of more than two and can go up to as many in the range of the tens. Efficient collaboration is required for things to run as smoothly as possible, and hence the saying, “communication is key”. Cliche, but true in every sense.
A well-rated project management tool should have adequate resources to allow for effective communication to take place. Such resources include chats, video calls, polls, and forums. The possibilities are endless.
- Project Estimation
For every project, a goal must be obtained. Regardless of whether that goal is to increase viewership for a blog post or sales for an item, the project must be tracked and analysed in detail for the stakeholders to get a gist of their progress.
Project management tools thus help to track the real-time progress of the project and offer its estimation and forecast on the future likelihood of the progress. This can help you and your team to make more informed decisions in order to attain the desired goal.
- Work Allocation
Project management tools can help you to allocate tasks more efficiently. The tools should tell you how much work a stakeholder currently has and their progress for each task. If someone has five uncompleted tasks due in a week and someone else is only left with one simple task, then it only makes sense for you to allocate any urgent tasks to the one with lesser work.
For any project, budgeting is an important component and most projects typically have a set limit of funds they can use. As such, every single penny spent on the project, even down to the most minute details has and should be recorded.
Project management tools help to effectively sort these numbers out and give you a clear overview of your exact budget, spending, and forecast.
- Project Administration
Administration work such as organisation structuring can be mundane but it is vital to keep everything in order to prevent any unnecessary hiccups. Project management tools can help you to manage that with pre-made templates and in-built structures.
- Risk Management
Risk management here refers to reducing the likelihood of having clashes and deadline misses when multiple projects are ongoing.
Project management tools can help to systematically arrange the given data and highlight any potential mishaps. For example, an uncompleted task that is soon to be due will be highlighted in red to alert the team.
Four Types of Project Management Tools
Now that you know the theoretical means of project management tools, let us take a more specific look at the five most frequently used project management tools.
- Gantt Charts
Gantt chart basically shows the seven key components of your project in an expanded chart with lines and such for easy visualisation. Instead of scrolling down pages of words, Gantt charts offer you a bird’s eye’s view of the entire detailed plan of your project at a glance.
It is easier to digest the information this way. If any parts of the plan are not progressing as desired, the Gantt chart will point them out for you.
- Project Baseline
Project baselines are useful in showing the desired progress of your project interns of timing, costs, and more, versus the actual progress of how things are actually going. The analysed results will be shown in the form of bar comparisons, where you can easily see the differences between the goal and actual progress.
- Communications Management Plan
Communications management plan tools essentially provide users with features to maintain frequent and efficient communication between team members. Such features include the basic chat function, video calls, as well as real-time edits on the files and more.
- Work Breakdown Structure
This tool essentially helps to record and categorise your to-do list for your project. Sub-headers and whatnot are used to break your plan down to the smallest detail. This allows for easier tracking and prevents anything from being missed out. Think of this as an automated to-do list.
And there we have it! Do note, that whatever we’ve covered in the article here only really covers the tip of the iceberg on whatever there is to know. If project management tools pique your interest, or you find that they may be useful to you, do take some time to find out more in-depth about them. All the best! 4 Money Management Tips for Businesses