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.
When do you need a project planning tool?
It is well known that in any domain the right software makes the job easier. In project management using a good project planning tool the project manager can establish the project plan, assign resources to tasks, track resources use, productivity, costs, etc. in the most efficient manner.
While planning a project it is needed to create certain charts like the ones for work breakdown structure, Gantt charts or PERT charts. These can be done manually in the traditional fashion using paper or white boards or through a project management software. In latter case it is easier to update them.
Different reports, statistics and computations are difficult to be done manually and a project planning software can be a life saver: you will get fast and accurate results.