Today's project management technology tools make yesterday's work processes look as obsolete as they feel. The days of pushing paper from desk to desk are over for good. Office moves requiring whole vans just to haul legions of dusty file cabinets from place to place are no more.
Project managers (PMs for short) today are light on their feet, in possession of real-time data on all aspects of their projects and incredibly mobile and accessible to boot. There are tons of project management tools responsible for helping today's PM's make this dramatic shift. Increasing productivity without reinventing process, only modernizing it, is key to staying agile and successful in the marketplace.
Time Management & Tracking Technology
With an increasingly remote and virtual work force to manage, project managers rely more and more heavily on time management and tracking technology to automate routine tasks.
For example, time stamping can keep accurate records of who spent how much time on each aspect of any given project. Time management technology can help remote contractors or employees upload their time sheets, time off requests, sick days and other work hours-related information in a matter of seconds.
Budget tracking programs can make it easy to see at a glance where funding remains and what has already been exhausted. Calendar tools can provide real-time updates and comparisons of progress-to-date against upcoming deadlines.
Team Collaboration Tools
As national and global boundaries quickly dissolve, team collaboration tools have evolved to make short work of time and distance-related communication barriers.
For instance, social media tools, such as Facebook Groups and Google+ Hangouts, offer a no-cost way for even the most remote team members to gather and brainstorm, plan and check in on a project's progress. Apps like Slack not only permit real-time messaging around the globe, but they also keep a running archive of every message sent and received for audits and tracking purposes.
Cloud-based tools provide ongoing auto backups of all data in a secure offsite location. Cloud-based data backup and software is affordable, scalable and customizable to the needs of each project and each project manager.
Project Management Software
Project management professionals today have the option of piecing together a la carte technology tools and BI tools as desired, or selecting an all-inclusive software package that can be further customized to their specific needs. Both downloadable and cloud-based (SaaS or Software as a Service) software options are readily available.
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3 Project Management Technology Tools
Here are just a handful of the software tools available to project managers who desire an all-inclusive option.
Wrike can be used in its online or app-based form. Small firms can use the software for free. Larger firms can take advantage of affordable packages for bigger groups of users.
The software syncs easily to other third-party tools, including Google Drive, Outlook and Dropbox, making file sharing and storage a breeze. Wrike keeps your project updated in real time by tracking deadlines, managing budgets and timelines, analyzing workload reports and communicating with individual team members via tagging.
Trello also offers an online and app-based option for small and large teams. Trello is free and intuitive to use.
The visual approach can be particularly great for team members who have a strong bent towards visual-based learning. In this way, Trello's card-based project management and tracking system is easy to get used to, especially for any social media enthusiast. The cards can be placed and moved as needed to give an overview of what has been done, what remains undone and how close the team is as a whole to completing the project.
Producteev is another free software tool (a paid upgrade offers additional options to integrate with other third-party apps and software).
Team communications within the Producteev app platform can take place in real time for both Apple and Android users. The software uses a system of networks for communication and filters for searching. Project management is made simple with tasks and sub-tasks, deadlines, priorities and labels, each organized under its own project header.
Selecting the right a la carte tools and apps or an all-inclusive software program with the required features can automate routine tasks, save valuable time and boost any project management team's chances of completing their assigned projects ahead of schedule and under budget.