7 Fundamentals of Effective Project Management Software

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  1. Know your scope of work: It is imperative that the schedule include the activities needed to produce the deliverables that comprise the scope of work. While this is clearly fundamental, at the same time, be careful to not have activities unrelated to the scope of work. Activities unrelated to the scope of work represent wasted expenditures and lost time.
  2. Understand risks: A risk is an event or issue that can have an impact on the project. There are positive risks and negative risks. Typically managers think about risk from a negative perspective and as it relates to time. Risks, however, can impact resources, materials and costs as well. Remember to quantify all the potential impacts of a risk event or issue and have those reflected in the Project Management Software.
  3. Monitor and Control with Project Management Software

  4. Activity durations matter: Project managers have to monitor and control what goes on in their projects. The best way to receive status updates that are realistic is if the information being requested can be measured in a meaningful way. When activity durations get longer than 10 day to 15 days it becomes difficult to monitor and control. Activities with excessively long durations rarely provide realistic data.
  5. Schedules can be simple: It is important that the sequencing of activities include the relationships between them. Some activities can happen at the same time, others in series and so on. Creating a true critical path requires accurate activity relationships. Avoid the temptation to overcomplicate the schedule. The additions of unnecessary constraints or complicated links are to be avoided. An example of a complicated link that adds no value to the schedule is the linking of a recurring task such as a meeting.
  6. Cost Reduction with Project Management Software

  7. Changes always have consequences: It may be tempting to agree to shorten the duration of an activity or even the project. In the same way an important stakeholder may request a cost reduction or perhaps a new Deliverable. As a project manager it is fundamental to bear in mind that every change represents a cost. In other words there is no such thing as a free change order. A time reduction may require staff overtime. A new or revised deliverable may require additional resources or more time. To achieve a cost reduction elements of the scope may have to be diminished. Changes always have consequences.
  8. Time is money: Project managers have to be conscious of costs. Project success is more than completing the work on schedule. Success includes making sure the entire scope of work has been done and when completed the costs have not been overrun. If resources are associated with activities in the Project Management Software and the rates for the resources are input it will be possible to track costs.
  9. Differentiate between durations and Levels of Effort (LEO): The time between the start date and the end date is known as the duration. Within the duration, however, there is a Level of Effort. The duration to paint a room might be three days, which includes the time needed to for the paint to dry but the actual time used for painting by a worker (Level of Effort) may only be one. That one day, which can be input into the software, also translated into the real cost to complete the activity.