PMP Certification is not enough, project managers also need good tools and processes

It is widely recognized that good project management is a combination of three key area:

  1. Project management skills and competence
  2. Project management processes, procedures and methods
  3. Project management tools and information systems

In this post we will explain why all three are important for an effective project management. Without effective ways of developing each of them the organization will fail to deliver the best solutions.

Project Management Competence

Project management competence is a combination of knowledge, skills and experience. The first two can be developed by project management training, however the latter, experience, is the most important, but hardest to acquire. Any training and development scheme must provide plenty of opportunity to gather experience delivering projects of increasing complexity. Ideal for this is PMP certification which includes both training and experience requirements.

Project Management Procedures

A number of widely recognised standard methods for project management. The most highly developed is PRINCE2 which comes from the office of government commerce in the UK. This method describes the roles and responsibilities of key members of the project team such as the project executive, project manager, senior user and senior supplier, but it also provides templates and standard processes for the main functions of a project. Prince2 has become widely accepted as the de-facto standard for many projects. Unlike the APM and PMI bodies of knowledge PRINCE2 is quite prescriptive about how the project should be run. For this reason many see the PMBOK and PRINC2 as complementary.

The Need for Effective Planning and Control System

Event the most competent and capable project managers are unable to deliver successful projects if the tools provided are not up to the job. This is especially true if multiple projects are delivered as part of a programme or portfolio. In these cases single stand alone project plans are meaningless because they do not show the overall resource demand across multiple projects.

Today more and more people are turning to server or cloud based solutions to deliver these project management tools. The advantages of the server based solutions are clear in terms of flexibility and availability of data across a number of platforms and in various regions of the world. Often for virtual project teams web-based solutions can provide instant start up and the ability to add members from a number of organizations. RationalPlan Project Server is one of these web-based tools which is growing in popularity.

Project Management Tools For Project Managers

By | April 19th, 2011|Project Management Software|Comments Off on Project Management Tools For Project Managers

A well done project management is one of the keys to a projects success. Pretty sure every one of us manages projects using some kind of tools. But the right project management tool does not replace the knowledge and experience of a project manager. It only helps him in the process of managing a project.

The value of project management

So why do certain projects succeed while other projects fail? Clearly, it is not about luck although that might also help, it is not about the tools that are being used to manage the projects and certainly it is not only a matter of budget and dedication. The most important factor is the project manager, its experience, training and skills but research shows that projects which are designed and planned with care have a much higher success rate. So through effective project planning software there are better chances to reach projects success.

Over time project management tools have evolved from the classic pencil and paper method to software spreadsheets and now to dedicated project management solutions. There are several types of project management software. It may be a desktop application, a web-based software or it can also be a hosted software solution that allows access from remote locations through Internet or Intranet.

Tools & Techniques

It is a good practice to follow certain techniques to obtain the best results when managing projects. Among them it is worth mentioning: critical path methodology, task analysis, gantt charts, actions planning and closing the loop. For each of these techniques there have been developed dedicated tools. Any chosen type of project management software should offer a set of these basic tools. (more…)

When And Why Do You Need A Project Planning Software?

By | March 18th, 2011|Project Management Software|Comments Off on When And Why Do You Need A Project Planning Software?

Project planning is a process used to establish how to complete a project within a certain time period, under a certain budget and with a set of resources. To accomplish all these a project plan must be created. It will help you to plan the steps of your project and it will save you money while getting the project done on time.

The project plan

The project plan reflects the current status of project’s activities and it is useful to monitor and control the project. Many people in the company are using it:

  • the project manager – to establish the resources activities and to communicate the status of the project to stakeholders;
  • the team members – to better understand the work they are doing;
  • the senior managers – to verify that the project’s cost and work are under control;
  • the stakeholders – to make sure that the project is on track and that their business is safe.

Why do you need a project planning software?

Creating a project plan is the first thing a manager should do when taking any kind of project. Often project managers (especially those without too much experience) ignore a project plan in favor of going on with the work. They fail to realize the real value of a project plan in saving time, money, resources etc. It is a known fact that a good project plan can make the difference between the success or failure of a project. A project planning software will help to create these project plans and will enable users to take the best strategic decisions regarding them and to reduce much of the uncertainty surrounding the execution of the project.

Today, project planning process is often enhanced with the use of software tools to develop the general plan and to keep all team members aware of the project’s progress. Project planning software makes it easier to create the work breakdown structure, estimate the work effort required for each task from the WBS, establish the most logical activities sequence during the project scheduling phase and easily define and identify those risks which may impact the progress of the project.

In more complex projects it is needed to compute the critical path of the project. This is the optimal path to project completion and using a project planning software you can easily identify it.

A project schedule is created by assigning resources to tasks and determining the working calendar necessary for each task. Having the right people in the right place at the right time is critical for resource allocation. Additional costs for overtime work can be reduced when using a software tool. Further more the overallocation problem is also solved through resource leveling – a process too complicated to be done without the help of a software, not to mention the automatic leveling. (more…)