Such software here is viewed under the aspect of individual use, for the accomplishment of small personal projects, where you do not need to cooperate with a big team.
It may appear as a special tool to partition large tasks, that are too big to be inserted into a simple to do list.
However, not every big task cluster needs a sophisticated software solution. Many task collections you may simply divide into a list of tasks, without the need of a specialized software.
Where it is advisable to use a software solution, you only can decide. The following deals with projects, that cannot be resolved into a simple task list.
A general guideline can be:
As soon as a certain number of tasks and events depend on each
other in a time sequence and complex interdependence, it is advisable
to leave the simple to do list solution.
Aspects of time management and
Time management, task management, task organizing and similar activities normally do not have to take into account a complex set of tasks that must fit into a strict sequence. Project software must handle a certain amount of interdependence of the elements of a project.
Projects are set up during a definition phase and the goal is clear by the project designation itself. This is project planning. The details and single steps are normally predefined as precisely as possible.
When starting the project it is assumed that the steps and time frame do not change. An undisturbed progress, however, is not realistic. Proper means to react to changes should be provided.
So unless at dynamic time management a starting point and endpoint are clear. Time management is an “eternal” flow of activities, tasks to complete and the next significant to take into account. A clear big picture is necessary to guide the activities, because every time management too has to have a goal.
From the fact of a starting point and an endpoint, of complexity and time sequence any change of project elements has a severe impact on the result wanted. While project planning can be seen as static, the performing of a project needs project management.
These examples of facts alone justify and demand the use of a project software solution. It easily can restructure the workflow in case of disturbances and immediately can predict the effects on the projected goal.
Doing this manually with paper tools or linear list software only, wastes much brainpower, man/woman hours and cannot be managed efficiently without a software tool.
The following listing describes some of the most important elements of project management:
Planning and controlling
Project management software enables to plan all necessary steps to reach a project goal and provides a means to control the progress, to be able to react early to upcoming troubles.
Scheduling needs no special explanation. It is used for timing of a series of events or tasks, with a wide range in complexity. Unless at a simple task management, many or most of the tasks depend on one another. That is the foundation for the following term:
The duration of the whole project calculates by a series of events that directly depend on each other. A specific chain (critical chain) of events determines the shortest possible duration of the project.
Changes in only one of the events of the critical chain directly influences the duration of the whole project and therefore, has to be tracked carefully in order to optimize the project.
Other than plain time management software, project management should provide information to initiators (employers and customers, for example) about progress, critical situations and many other issues like:
Approaches to project management software
As with any other software described in this website, the same criteria apply for project software too. See time management software criteria selector guide.
Although this website is targeted to single users, organizing their tasks and managing their time, some words on the team oriented solutions:
Team orientation is a special feature of much project software. It supports multiple users to work together on one large project. Normally, each of the members works on a special part of a big project. The software supervises and puts together the results of the members.
An integrated system combines project planning and project management with many other entrepreneurial aspects. Projects contain reporting issues assigned to each project. Customers involved in the project are servicable by a customer relationship management module.
Each member of the project plan has access to his/her task lists, calendars, and messaging associated with their projects.
Intervals is web-based project management software that marries time tracking and task management in a collaborative online space with powerful reporting.
For a simpler project management or project overview, you may consider Mind Mapping also a powerful method to visualize dependencies and link organisation.
According to the motto: “one picture tells more than 1000 words” the visualization of projects, especially to convince others, plays an important role for success. It can save a lot of time. A powerful tool is SmartDraw.
“SmartDraw translates whatever you need to communicate into
compelling, professional-quality visuals in minutes—eliminating the
need for manual drawing. Start by selecting the exact template you
need, add your message and SmartDraw does the rest.”