Vital Tools Every Project Manager Needs to Consider

Project management is a challenging task with many complex responsibilities. Even at that there are tools available to assist with accomplishing the tasks and executing the responsibilities. While some require a computer with supporting software, others can be used manually and some tools you already have naturally.

You should choose project management tools that best suit your style. And though, there is no one-size-fits-all tool or technique that addresses all project management needs, there are some vital ones that cut across all domains.

Project management can be a stressful task especially when working with a medium to large team, but you can turn the stress into an advantage with the right tools and strategies. Here are just a few.

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1. Project Plan

The project plan is your map. This is non-negotiable.
First of all, it details out the project scope. Then, it describes the approach or strategy used for addressing your project scope and project objectives.

The strategy is the core of the project plan. The strategy could differ depending on the project purpose and specific project requirements. The resource allocation and delivery schedule are other two main components of the project plan. These detail each activity involved in the project as well as information like who executes them and when.

There are a number of amazing ideas on developing great project plans as well as numerous online guides and tutorials that you should really avail yourself of. The Plan is the product of the brainstorming and if you did that right chances are that you will have a great plan.

2. Project Management Software

With the insurgence of computer technology, there has been a number of software tools specifically developed for project management purposes.It simply makes your life easier and your tasks simpler. With these tools it is easier to measure your project success rather easily.

There are quite a number of recommended project management software out there that help companies streamline management of projects, time sheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization.

Celoxis for instance has some advanced features that address the real-world complexities of managing projects across organizations and functions; planning, delegation, collaboration, tracking and reporting with great agility and user-friendliness.

Project management software are fast evolving to become even better aides to you so you should make good use of them.

3. Gantt chart

Almost every project manager swears by Gantt.
A Gantt chart illustrates the project schedule and shows the project manager the relationships of each activity with the other. These charts are universally used for any type of project from construction of bridges to software developments.

Although drawing a Gantt chart looks quite easy, it is one of the most complex tasks, especially when the project is involved in hundreds of activities.

There are many ways you can create a Gantt chart. If the project is small and simple in nature, you can create your own Gantt chart in Excel or download an Excel template from the Internet.
But if the project has a high financial value or high-risk exposure, then the project manager can use software tools.

4. Risk Management

As the name implies, this tool simply aids you to manage risk; organizational, portfolio and project risks. There is often more risk early in the project than at the latter stages. Risk management should therefore be done early on in the life cycle of the project as well as on an on-going basis.

However, the critical point is that Risk Management is a continuous process and as such must not only be done at the very beginning of the project, but continuously throughout the life of the project.
For example, if a project’s total duration was estimated at 6 months, a risk assessment should be done at least at the end of month 2 and month 4. At each stage of the project’s life, new risks will be identified, quantified and managed.

Celoxis also serves as a risk management tool with its built-in Celoxis 9 risk app, you can identify, assess and prioritize organizational, portfolio and project risks. There are also a few risk apps that will do a great job.

5. Project Reviews

A project review mechanism is a great tool for project management. More established and advanced companies tend to have more stringent and wide-ranging project reviews as opposed to simple ones done by smaller organizations.

In project reviews, the project progress and the process standards are mainly considered. Usually, project reviews go along with project audits by a 3rd party (internal or external).
The non-compliances and action items are then tracked in order to complete them.

A project manager cannot perform his/her job effectively without a proper set of tools. These tools don’t have to be fancy or some renowned software, it just needs to be simple and proven techniques to manage project work.

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