Project Management Tools- Which one is right for your firm?

Though I have little experience as an actual project manager, I have had the opportunity to use many in house project management tools that my firm has developed or acquired.  As discussed in lecture, project managers are now looking at ways to implement virtual tools and cloud based applications to increase efficiency and communication.  As these applications are being demanded more and more, the tools that each application offers are also getting more extensive and hard to choose from.  After reading about firms worldwide who use these project management tools, I found an article that rated the many applications and listed the importance and focus of each application.  I must stress that it is critical to the success of a project manager to choose the right application or resource for their project. A wrong choice in applications or software could cost the firm in wasted time and resources.

The article called “Exploring Functionality of Mobile Applications for Project Management” was very interesting to me in identifying the tools importance, what project managers should focus on and why applications scored higher than the other.

I found this article especially interesting as I have worked for a company who often times will acquire project management application firms to gain exclusivity to their applications.

What is important when choosing an application?

From the many articles I have read and the research presented in the article linked above, I have found there are many similar application themes that project managers are focused on.  The top 5 themes that seem consistent and most important across the board are:

  1. Cloud based capability and mobile access
  2. High security
  3. Highly organized and able to analyze data
  4. Ability to track status, budget, and view statistics/projections
  5. Email integration and file sharing

Obviously this is just an over view of what these tools can do.  Many are equipped with software that will analyze data, create invoices, track expenses, assist with planning, perform risk analysis, and offer the ability to customize.

Takeaways and tips for choosing the right tools

Before purchasing a project management application, project managers must identify what is important and what works for their respective firm.  These tools are not a one size fits all offering.  Many of these tools will offer customization and support to assist a firm in achieving their specific goal. But we must keep in mind that many of these services will have additional costs associated with this support.  A firm should perform an analysis on cost, goals, use among a wide array of projects, support and much more.  Firms must also focus on the aspects of implementation, training, support and updates.

Project management tools are necessary for staying competitive in today’s fast paced business world.  The success of a project depends highly on the tools a firm utilizes.  Be informed and choose wisely.

-Please share instances where your firms use project management applications and describe what seems to be important when choosing the software.

6 thoughts on “Project Management Tools- Which one is right for your firm?

  1. The article that you posted is very interesting and I couldn’t agree with you more that the project management tools a company uses are critical factors in remaining competitive and adjusting to the business environment. The company that I work for (collateralized based lender) recently began using Salesforce not just as a supporting tool for our sales force, but to also house portfolio, rates and terms and cash applications. At first the change seemed overwhelming as we had so much information available to us with a couple of mouse clicks, but a few weeks into the integration, many departments are realizing the potential this new tool has. The reason our company’s management selected that particular software is because of its ability to customize its functions to our organization and niche industry and for a very first time we are working smarter not harder.

  2. Great Blog post! I found it very interesting for our current project management team assignment we are currently using Trello to organize task and duties, google drive as a cloud based sharing document and google hangouts to do our video conference calls. I remember that on my Marketing 500- Decisions in marketing management, we saw Salesforce as a great source to organize customer data, revenues and cost. So, I also agree with Vel598Fall15 that is a fantastic tool that could be used to organize, plan and execute projects. Do you have another examples of apps or programs that can be used as a project management tool?

  3. Thanks for sharing your insight. My company has recently implemented Microsoft 365 which includes SharePoint. This is definitely one of those tools that has enormous potential and capability, but must be carefully evaluated before implementing. For example, there is an action tracker tool that allows you to send automated updates/reminders to team members when due dates are near or overdue. As a project manager it may seem convenient to allow the system to automatically notify team members, however, I can imagine the frustration my team would feel if they are constantly bombarded by auto-generated messages. I’ve currently decided to use the action tracker’s scheduling capabilities to visually see which critical actions are in the pipeline, but am avoiding the use of automated messages. We’ll see how it goes!

  4. Thank you TJ for your post! First, I appreciate Ricardo has mentioned the in-class project applications we are using which have already added to the success of our team communications. In addition, I will say your question has made me consider what would be a “wish list” at my work of ANY project management application. Due to budget, we would probably never be approved to purchase an application specific to just our team. However, given budget was not an issue, in addition to the five important above, my number one wish list item would be flexibility in the software. We would need the software to track tasks on a moving date spectrum and customize reminders. Many software base programs require custom features to make it more effective to your company, which drives the price up. It would be nice to have a program be robust and flexible without the added cost.

  5. This is a great find TJ! While I was reading your article and comments below, one thing that came to my mind was, how was this all done lets say 50 years ago? People didn’t have these great tools available to help them with project management. Computers were available but only for computing and not for personal use therefore, everything had to be done by hand. I can’t even imagine myself trying to write everything down, then remember where I have put all my notes…. This raises a great questions, are we better project managers than 50 years ago? What would happen if we would give a computer to a person 50 years ago who was already great with project management?

  6. TJ. Well done. You know how to write a quality blog post.

    Technology selection for companies and projects!!! What to do? Where to spend the money? Are we extracting value out of this software? This is a fine line that many companies need to make in order to better support customers in a growing age of technology.

    You bring up many good points about how to evaluate this decision and how can manager use new technology to improve their job function. I hear a lot stories that involve: Excitement, copious amounts of money, training, and then STRUGGLE to use the software.

    New technology for project management and customer engagement, such as Sales Force, appear to be improving business operations around the country. Every industry segment has different demands, but i think the core project management tools involve communication and check lists; not expensive software.

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