Tag: Project

What Is Project Management Software and How It Evolved into Complex Systems?

What Is Project Management Software and How It Evolved into Complex Systems?

Marketing specialists with software vendors still experience difficulties to explain what is project management software when the matter in question is to convince responsible corporate executives to purchase a particular product designed to help enterprises manage their projects and corporate programs. The problem is that theorists cannot agree on a universal definition what is project management and how it differs from program management. On the other hand, project managers who are “on the field” often view program management as a method to manage large, complex projects or portfolio of projects.

Thus, project management software intended for corporate should possess features allowing the product to be used in the process of managing complex business programs, while most project management software systems inevitably feature similar functionality. As a result, the major differences between one corporate project management software and another lies with minor yet important characteristics like graphic user interface and ease of use while the core functionality of all these applications is fairly the same.

Project management tools for personal use aside, modern business tools for project management would deal with different processes and procedures involved in the management of complex projects, including scheduling, planning, budgeting, resource allocation, quality management, and numerous other business procedures. Software vendors began to incorporate modules covering cross-departmental communication as well as collaboration software into their project management systems, once corporations realized that instant communication and collaboration is a vital competitive advantage.

On the surface, project management software appears to be nothing more than a tool to plan and schedule projects, allocate resources to those projects, and track how they are progressing over time. Scheduling and tracking of projects, however, represents only a portion of sophisticated functionality incorporated into modern-day project management systems. Advanced systems are able to identify and issue early warnings when a project is jeopardized, provide detailed historical information on projects, allow for multiple users to access and work on a project, etc.

Further, integrated project management systems are capable to deal with all the aforementioned processes while providing functionality that is usually featured by customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Thus, modern project management software is characterized by uniquely rich functionality rarely found in any other widely used management information system (MIS).

A number of software vendors provide applications that can be customized or configured to perform chain management system (CSM) or knowledge management systems (KMS) functions, apart from their core project management functionality. Actually, a growing number of software developers combine different approaches toward project management and incorporate various software modules into their respective software products, depending on their target customer group.

Such software tools, however, are relatively expensive, hard to implement and their deployment within large corporations can take months and years. For example, an ERP system that features project management functionality is not a good fit for small-sized businesses due to its high price, while large corporations might abstain from implementing such a complex software solution because of the long implementation period. Therefore, a good number of enterprises prefer to deploy specialized project management software, while getting rid of old-fashioned spreadsheet solutions.

In conclusion, there is no straightforward answer to the question what is project management software not only because theorists disagree on what is project management, but mainly because project management systems evolved into complex applications that cover numerous business processes and procedures.

There is no straightforward answer to the question what is project management software not only because theorists disagree on what is project management, but mainly because project management systems evolved into complex applications.

Features of Valuable Project Tracking Software

Features of Valuable Project Tracking Software

Project tracking software used by business customers usually is incorporated into more complex project management systems that allow not only for project tracking but for planning, scheduling, and allocating resources to projects and sets of projects (programs) run by enterprises. Software applications featuring only project tracking functionality are virtually useless without built-in functionality to plan, estimate, manage and control projects, and numerous simple project tracking software product are available for home users. In contrast, business users should rely on sophisticated software solutions, designed to cover multiple processes and procedures involved in project management.

Project scheduling is an essential element in the overall process of project management and one would be unable to track a project’s progress without scheduling a series of events and tasks first. Business software applications have to deal with the task of complex resource scheduling, where interdependent elements of a project are involved or a larger corporate program comprises multiple interdependent projects. Project tracking applications aimed at home users rarely have to deal with such complex project scheduling, though.

Ability to track project progress is considered as the main functionality of project tracking software modules. Top executives, middle-level managers and home users rely on historical information on projects’ progress to plan future actions and gauge actual project performance against planned performance. Thus, project managers are allowed to better utilize available resources and receive early warnings when a project is at risk, through the means of project tracking.

At present, most project tracking modules intended for business users are functioning as modules incorporated into integrated project management systems. Integrated systems for project management are distinguished by their ability to cover variety of business processes and procedures, borrowing functionality from customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. While project planning software is usually not as sophisticated (and expensive) as ERP systems, it often features advanced functionality typically embedded into CRM software. Such an approach toward project tracking software development reflects a more general trend to create software solutions that fit varied business needs.

One of the many challenges contemporary project tracking software is facing is the growing need for sophisticated tools to manage and track a set of projects (called also project portfolio, and often referred to as Program) that are not only interdependent but are considered to be natural elements of a broader strategic plan. In addition, project tracking applications have to deal with costs related to a project as well as numerous variable factors, namely different resources.

Furthermore, project tracking applications should provide business analytics capabilities allowing managers to analyze data on time spent on projects, allocated resources and resource availability, etc. Advanced project tracking solutions are also required to support various file formats and communication protocols, allowing users to easily import and export data from and to the system. A decent system would also be able to deal with and track large number of individual or interdependent projects, which in turn suggests that only licensed software solutions, can fit the needs of enterprise users.

It is debatable if ready to use or custom software applications provide better functionality, but an enterprise should conduct thorough analysis of its particular needs, requirements, and existing software before deciding to implement any project tracking solution. Most project tracking software is developed to be compatible with all major business applications; nevertheless implementation of this type of software requires careful analysis on possible software incompatibilities.

Most project tracking software is developed to be compatible with all major business applications; nevertheless implementation of this type of software requires careful analysis on possible software incompatibilities.
A Look at the Core Functionality of Systems for Software Project Management

A Look at the Core Functionality of Systems for Software Project Management

Software project management or project management in the sphere of software development and implementation has its specifics that arise from the need to deal also with software programming and software customization, which adds an additional layer of project management within a typical project management system. Software developers and IT consultants take advantage of various software tools in performing their day-to-day activities, including software such as compilers, debuggers, interpreters, and text editors to create and customize software. Those are not project management tools, however, and the IT industry largely relies on specialized software to manage software projects.

It is not unusual to witness software developers using an integrated development environment (IDE) to manage all the functions mentioned above, while taking advantage of an integrated system to track and manage the overall progress of their software projects. Thus, modern-day software project management applications incorporate functionality that can be seen in both specialized and non-specialized business systems like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

In fact, applications for management of software projects can be considered as sort of management information systems (MIS) intended to provide automation and support functionality to a specific group of business users.

Apart from typical functions of project management software such as estimation, scheduling, resource allocation, and budget management, business applications dealing with software projects should cover such aspects of software development and consultancy activities like software bug-tracking and other industry-specific procedures and processes.

Unsurprisingly, a good number of software vendors develop their software for project management in-house, creating custom-made solutions that fully meet their particular needs and requirements. On the other hand, numerous freeware and open source applications for management of software projects are available although most freeware is aimed at individual users who develop unsophisticated software at home. Open source solutions are popular particularly among software vendors because they allow for relatively easy customization of ready to use software.

The widespread use of new technologies reshaped the world of project management software and systems for management of software projects were among the first to feature advanced collaboration and messaging capabilities. IT industry managers realized that real-time collaboration and instant messaging, in addition to reliable tools for time, cost, and bug tracking, would play a crucial role in a fast-paced corporate environment.

Consequently, project managers within the IT industry today enjoy probably the most advanced software solutions in the field of project management, capable to deal with complex projects while featuring varied functionality. Of course, this is true mainly for large corporations, while small and medium sized enterprises largely rely on licensed ready to use software and slightly customized open source applications.

In the early age of software project management corporate users relied on mainframes, which determined the very nature of older software solutions that, to surprise of many, survived until very recently. Today, the emergence of new technologies, mainly cloud computing, is the driving force behind the introduction of new approaches to software project management, where businesses are allowed to take advantage of different combinations of previously incompatible software and hardware platforms.

The use of advanced tools for project management , however, proved to be very beneficial to organisations that cannot rely on numerous simple applications to manage successfully their project management software that involve complex tasks and flexible.

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