As the importance of project management increases in organizations, so does the number of tools available for people managing projects. In our latest project schedule software review, we found over 500 legitimate software packages. There were hundreds more that did not meet our minimum criteria, which was:
1. Produce a Gantt chart that clearly communicates the start and finish date for each task and the sequence of tasks.
2. Display the name of the person accountable for each task and its duration.
3. Allow you to generate graphics and data comparing actual performance to the baseline project schedule.
If those criteria are all you need, then there are plenty of packages that will give you that capability for $25 or less. You could also spend thousands of dollars for packages that don’t do much more than the above three capabilities; they just do it fancier.
Before buying any project software (and by the way we don’t sell any software) you need to decide what you want it to do for you. Project Schedule & Software Main Page
In addition to the above criteria, there are other capabilities that even beginning project managers on a small project should have in their project software.
For managing small projects, you should add these capabilities to the basic list:
4. Allow you to control task sequencing with predecessor relationships, rather than having to reenter start and finish dates every time something changes in your schedule. An astounding number of the packages we reviewed did not do this. This capability will allow you to update your schedule in 10 minutes a week rather than spending hours on data entry.
5. Allow you to enter “estimate to complete” data into the software. This capability lets you gather data from your project team on when they’re going to finish their tasks and then use the software to forecast when the project will finish. This makes your status reports much more complete and lets you communicate that you are in control of what’s happening on the project.
You learn all of those skills in our project management basics courses. Take a look at the basics course in your specialty.IT Projects Business Construction Healthcare Client Projects