In this guide, we’ll talk about a few project management software pros and cons that every business manager needs to know. So that they can make an informed decision and the right choices in the end. Whilst, bearing in mind, that unified project Management is the most crucial and complicated task as it is responsible for the ups and downs of any business.
Efficient, errorless, and timely completion of projects helps project managers to win more projects which results in the smooth and fast growth of the company. Therefore, project managers strive hard to ensure successful project completion. As well as have maximum projects in minimum time and within budget — for good workplace flow and projects admin.
The use of project management software and other tools is a massively growing trend to fill the gap between project management teams and the advanced corporate world requirements. It provides the workforce with all crucial tools, tips, and tricks. Specifically, for business managers to ensure the quality work of each deliverable within time/budget.
According to a recent world business organization survey, about 70 organizations are using project management software and reaping fruitful results. However, some business owners especially, small scale and beginners are not ready to trust the needs of digital tools. They consider the implementation of digital tools a waste of time and money.
To test this approach and the effectiveness of project management software we first need to look into its core features, benefits, and drawbacks. Therefore, we’ve listed, herein, both the major pros and cons of project management software that every business manager needs to come to terms with first. But, let’s define the role of project management software…
What Is A Project Management Software?
By definition, business project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation and created at the beginning of the development process. In reality, the primary constraints of the management process are scope, time, and budget.
While, on the other side, we can also consider the secondary challenge — how well and effectively to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives. A project is a temporary and unique endeavor designed to produce a product, service, or result with a defined beginning and an end.
To enumerate, project management software is an application-based toolkit that has the capacity to help plan, organize, and manage resource tools and develop resource estimates. Notwithstanding, depending on the sophistication of the software, it can manage estimation and planning, scheduling, control control, and manage budgets.
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In addition, it also helps in resource allocation, collaboration software integration, communication, decision-making, quality management, time management, and documentation or administration systems. Numerous PC and browser-based project management software and contract management software products and services are available.
The most common project management software type is scheduling tools — which are used to sequence project activities and assign dates and resources to them. The detail and sophistication of a schedule produced can vary considerably with the project management methodology used, the features provided and the scheduling methods supported.
They may include support for:
- Multiple dependency relationship types between activities.
- Resource assignment and leveling
- Activity duration estimation and probability-based simulation
- Activity cost accounting, critical path, and much more.
In terms of a quality project, it’s usually time-constrained, often constrained (by funding or staffing), and undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives. Precisely, so as to bring about beneficial change or added value. There are five phases to a project lifecycle; known as process groups. Each process group represents a series of interrelated processes.
Specifically, so as to manage the work through a series of distinct steps to be completed. This type of project approach is often referred to as “traditional” or “waterfall”. And, there are five process groups that are involved:
- Monitoring and Controlling
By all means, some industries may use variations of these project stages and rename them to better suit the organization. For example, when working on a brick-and-mortar store design and construction, projects will typically progress through a variety of stages. Such as pre-planning, conceptual design, schematic design, layout design development, etc.
As well as construction drawings (or contract documents), and construction administration. While the phased approach works well for small, well-defined projects, it often results in challenge or failure on larger projects, or those that are more complex or have more ambiguities, issues, and risks – see the parodying ‘six phases of a big project‘ in detail.
A great project management software tool can help out in these ways:
- First, the construction industry, which focuses on the delivery of things like buildings, roads, and bridges, can develop its own specialized form of project management. Essentially, something that it refers to construction project management in which project managers can become trained and certified.
- Secondly, the information technology industry can also develop its own form of project management — referred to as IT project management — which specializes in the delivery of technical assets and services. As well as solutions that are required to pass through various lifecycle phases. Such as planning, design, development, testing, and deployment.
- In the same fashion, biotechnology project management may consider putting all its focus on the intricacies of biotechnology research and development. With the help of skilled experts using custom project management software.
- By the same token, localization project management may include an app of many standard project management practices for work translation. Although many consider this type of management to be a very different discipline.
- Last but not least, there is also public project management software system that can be used to cover all public works by any given government — something which can be carried out by government agencies or contracted out.
In a nutshell, the main tasks and activities carried out by project management software are scheduling and providing information to the company and business managers. Be that as it may, there are various types of project management software and application platform systems by industry in the marketplace. Let’s have a look at a few of them below.
The basic ones include:
- Desktop + Web-Enabled
- Web Computing Toolkits
- Personal + Single User
- Visually Programmed
- Collaborative Software
Before we discuss them, note that some project management software may be published as open-source programs for app developers’ ease of use as well as further algorithms and source code development. Whilst, comprising approximately half of the applications listed in the article comparison of project management software by Wikipedia.
1. Desktop + Mobile-Enabled
Today, most project management software has been implemented as a program that runs on the desktop of each user. Perse, project management tools that are implemented as desktop software are typically single-user applications. Meaning, that they are used by the project manager or another subject matter expert (such as a scheduler or risk manager).
In recent years project management software has moved to Mobile devices. Since 2015, there are more cell phones and mobiles used than computers in the world. And, therefore, the move of SaaS applications to mobile devices makes perfect sense. This migration has had the additional benefit of enabling the users to view and update project details on the go.
2. Web Computing Toolkits
Project management software has been implemented as a web application to be accessed using a web browser. This may also include the ability to use a smartphone or tablet to gain access to the application.
Uniquely, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is also web-based and has become a common delivery model for many business applications. Generally, this includes project management, project management information systems (PMISs), and project portfolio management (PPM). Typically, SaaS is accessed by users using a thin client through a web browser.
3. Personal + Single User
On one hand, a personal project management application is one used at home, typically to manage lifestyle or home projects. There is considerable overlap with single-user systems, although personal project management software, usually, involves simpler interfaces. On the other hand, a single-user system is programmed with one assumption.
And the assumption is that: Only one person will ever need to edit the project plan at once. This may be used in small companies or ones where only a few people are involved in top-down project planning. As an example, most desktop applications generally fall into this category.
4. Visually Programmed
A common problem in project management is difficulty with both viewing and understanding large amounts of fluctuating project data. For such and other reasons, to tackle this, some project management software utilizes visual tools.
More specifically, in regard to real-time data information visualization in their programming. Particularly, so that users can more easily find, analyze and make changes to their data. Similarly, to avoid information overload, the visualization mantra of “overview first, zoom and filter, then details on demand” is often followed.
5. Collaborative Software
A collaborative system is designed to support multiple users modifying different sections of the plan at once. For example, updating the areas they personally are responsible for such that those estimates get integrated into the overall plan. Web-based tools, including extranets, generally fall into this category but they have some limitations of their own.
For instance, they can only be used when the user has live Internet access. To address this limitation, some software tools using client-server architecture provides a rich client that runs on users’ desktop computer and replicates project and task information to other project team members through a central server when users connect periodically to the network.
Some tools allow team members to check out their schedules (and others’ as read-only) to work on them while not on the network. When reconnecting to the database, all changes are synchronized with the other schedules.
The Main Project Management Software Pros
Technically, a variety of project management methods can be applied to any project. It is often tailored to a specific type of project based on project size, nature, industry, or sector. For example, it’s worth considering that a great classification of project management is based on the hard (physical) or soft (non-physical) project management software type.
All in all, implementing a great digital project management software solution can result in multiple benefits to both manager and the company. The effectiveness of software depends upon its features, price, and quality. However, some common benefits that any project management tool can bring to your business are listed here;
1. Time and Money Saving Approach
The very first and most important benefit of using project management software is its time and money-saving approach. It shifts complicated and time-consuming tasks to auto mode which streamlines the project management system. The use of this effective tool also eliminates the risk of errors or mistakes which protects the company from heavy fines or penalties.
2. Time Tracking
Tracking employees’ progress, their working hours, and other financial matters is a difficult task. Project management software provides a time-tracking tool. This tool tracks employees’ attendance, their working hours, leaves, or vacations and provides employees with easy access to this data. It results in boosting employees’ work potential and trust in the company.
3. Real-Time Reporting
The job of a project manager is not easy because they have to look after a lot of tasks. The use of project management tools takes their burden and provides them with real-time analysis of work progress, resources, financial health, and ongoing market value of the company. It also helps managers to compare this report with their competitors.
4. Budget and Resource Management
Another benefit of using digital solutions to manage a project effectively is that it helps in budget and resource management. It provides real-time tracking of both budget and resources which prevent expenses overflow or budget shortage. Based on this report project managers can take immediate steps to avoid troubles.
The Notable Project Management Software Cons
Basically, the temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations) — which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities — to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
Complexity and its nature play an important role in the area of project management. Despite having a number of debates on this subject matter, studies suggest a lack of definition and reasonable understanding of complexity in relation to the management of complex projects. Project management software also has some other drawbacks which are listed below;
1. They are expensive to outsource
The main drawback of using project management software is its price. Small-scale business owners consider it an extra burden to their budget and ignore the fact that this single investment can help their business to double the revenue growth in half time.
2. They are difficult to understand
Most project managers refuse to use digital solutions because they find them difficult to understand and operate. It’s not a disadvantage but a lack of awareness and knowledge. Selection of a simple but effective tool and providing the workforce with proper training can help to solve this issue.
3. They may have technical faults
Good project management software is designed on the base of advanced technology and the existence of a technical fault in them is a common practice. Usually, it happens due to mishandling, carelessness, and wrong selection. The selection of a credible platform or tool like BQE Core, proper care, and maintenance is the best solution to this problem.
The Best Project Management Approaches For Managers
Now that you know the pros and cons of project management software, it’s worth mentioning that there are a number of approaches to organizing and completing project activities. Such as phased, lean, iterative, and incremental. As well as several extensions to project planning, for example, based on outcomes (product) or activities (process).
Technically, common among all the project management types is that they focus on three important goals: time, quality, and cost. Successful projects are completed on schedule, within budget, and according to previously agreed quality standards. Like meeting the Iron Triangle or Triple Constraint in order for projects to be considered a success or failure.
For each type of project management, project managers develop and utilize repeatable templates that are specific to the industry they’re dealing with. This allows project plans to become very thorough and highly repeatable, with the specific intent to increase quality, lower delivery costs, and lower time to deliver project results.
A 2017 study suggested that the success of any project depends on how well four key aspects are aligned with the contextual dynamics affecting the project. Not to mention, these are what is referred to as the four Ps:
The four Ps are as follows:
- Aim: What are the aims and expectations of the project?
- Plan: The planning and forecasting activities
- Process: The overall approach to all activities and project governance
- People: Including dynamics of how they collaborate and communicate
- Power: Lines of authority, decision-makers, organograms, policies for implementation, and the like.
Regardless of the methodology employed, careful consideration must be given to the overall project objectives, timeline, and cost, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders.
A typical project is composed of a team of workers who work under the project manager to complete the assignment within the time and budget targets. So, a project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing, and using the best tools.
Remarkably, they need to understand the order of execution of a project to schedule the project correctly. As well as the time necessary to accomplish each individual task within the project. This is a person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives on behalf of the client. Project Managers tend to have multiple years of experience in their field.
After going through this comparison guide we conclude that project management software has both advantages and disadvantages. However, the benefits are more in numbers and also more appealing, while the drawbacks are not the faults in the selection and training to operate the system. Therefore, the use of project management software is a great idea.
More so, to go economically and hassle-free with the successful completion of multiple projects and earn more success. So, what’s your take on project management software? Kindly let us know your general thoughtful suggestions, opinions, recommendations, or even contribution questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments section, or Consult Us for more.