In the 80’s and 90’s – and even the early 2000’s – project managers and PM organizations were still very limited in what was available to them tool-wise to help manage projects. Microsoft Project was about the only game in town, but the cost of a single license was around $1,000 and project managers – me included – were continually faced with leading projects for customers who didn’t own even a single license. It was PDF or bust for every meeting – meaning full collaboration with a project customer was basically out of the question.
PM software does not make the PM
First let’s make one thing clear… project management software alone does not make a person a good project manager nor can it ensure that the job is being done well. no one can deny the incredible computing power of scheduling software, an inordinate focus on it belies the breadth of the project management discipline. Project planning is so much more than just a schedule. And project management is so much more than manipulating a software tool. It is about team and resource management. It is about accuracy and control. And it is definitely about task ownership, accountability and collaboration. Collaboration is huge in today’s PM world.
2014 and the rise of collaboration
Fast forward to 2014 and here we sit – with literally hundreds of PM and task management alternatives to MS Project. Some free, some very inexpensive, and some a little more expensive than others. But nearly all are still far cheaper than MS Project and most offer an online tool, a shorter learning curve and full team collaboration. Collaboration is key in today’s fast and ever changing IT environment and that is absolutely reflected in the complex projects were are managing on a daily basis. And communication is Job One for today’s project managers. If information isn’t flowing efficiently and effectively to your key stakeholders, then you run the risk of key concepts falling through the cracks – and there responsibility for that shortcoming will fall square on the shoulders of the project manager in charge. Don’t let that happen.
Using a full-featured enterprise collaboration tool such as AtTask can mean the difference between project success and project failure. Project teams are increasingly overwhelmed with fragmented tools and disconnected work, including projects. The result can be chaos and poor visibility. An enterprise work management tool in the cloud can help you manage all work end-to-end, engaging your team in social collaboration, to deliver a successful end solution to a very satisfied and engaged customer – every time.
Let’s consider some of the basic pluses and minuses of using an online project management, task management and/or collaboration tools...
As I see it, here are some of the key benefits of online project management software tools, like AtTask, that fill out the PM software landscape in 2014...
- Nothing to install
- Revisions are usually rolled out by the software vendor to all users – often in real time – and at no cost and no downtime
- You pay for a subscription - usually monthly and often per user so you're paying for what you need...period
- Because it's in the cloud, it's easier to tie your entire team - and customer if you wish - into the management, input and revision of the software schedule giving you a truly collaborative solution
- Because it's online, often the storage of all project schedules, documents, etc. can be on the web...saving you space and giving team members immediate access to the documents and data in real time
- Your project customer doesn't have to go out and buy costly MS Project licenses or get a PDF file of the latest project schedule from you just to stay in the loop - they can use the web-based solution
- Simply put – it is a time saver. Because of many of the features listed above, if you’re looking for team collaboration and customer participation, the web-based solution will save you – the project manager – time over the course of the engagement.
- Stability. Your solution now relies on someone else being stable, not just how well your laptop is working today. But honestly, this is 2014, so the concern here is minimal.
- Security. This one can be big – depending on the type of project and the data involved. If you are storing sensitive project data in the tool and it falls into the financial realm or public sector, then security could be a huge concern and you may have to prove your tool’s secureness to the project customer.
Project success is often defined by on time delivery, on budget delivery, and customer satisfaction. There is no question that a solid web-based project and work management tool with enterprise communication and collaboration capabilities will help get you there. Success can happen through luck. But repeated success – the kind we need to regularly successfully deliver on our important projects – requires the right individuals equipped with the right tools to do their jobs day in and day out.
AtTask Enterprise Work Management solves the chaos of work. Visit AtTask.com to learn how the AtTask Enterprise Work Cloud can help you and your team become more productive.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of AtTask. The opinions and text are all mine.