Action Items, Risk Issues and Project Management Software

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Project management software, if leveraged correctly, can be a powerful tool that reduces the workload by automating the documentation and distribution of action items.

Project managers juggle many things at the same time. They have to concurrently manage the schedule, cost issues, the scope of work, human resources, risk events, client concerns and expectations and finally actions that are outputs from meetings, calls and other events. If the project manager is responsible for a program these elements are multiplied by the number of projects within the program.

Reducing the Workload with Project Management Software

One tool that can help reduce the project manager’s workload is project management software. The application assists the project manager with the development and management of the schedule, loading and management of resources, management of the risks, communications and action management.

Actions requiring follow up can originate from multiple sources and events. An unattended action item can become a risk issue or simply become the cause of a schedule slippage or a cost overrun. Action items require proper documentation and follow up.

The application inherently aids in the documentation as the action items are created and as the follow ups takes place. The potential impacts can be played out as what-if scenarios within the application. Delegation of follow up items can also be effected through the software as well.

The software, if leveraged correctly, can be a powerful tool that reduces the workload by automating the documentation and distribution of action items. The application helps with the monitoring and control of these issues as well. The application allows team members, team leads and subject matter experts to integrate their participation in the process while documenting their level of participation.

Project Management Software Makes Follow Up Easier

Action items typically require prompt follow up and one advantage of project management software is that it can provide timely reminders to the appropriate team members when the follow up actions are required. Further the application, when providing the action item reminder, can detail the content of the follow up needed. After the corresponding team member has completed the actions associated with the follow up and input this into the software the item can be documented and closed out.

The application helps manage action items and concurrently aids with the management of risk issues. This powerful combination mitigates the potential time, cost and resource impacts of both. This, in turn, provides protection to the resource loaded schedule and budget. The software, from this perspective, becomes as valuable as the impacts prevented.

Typically financial analysts extrapolate that a minimum of 10% should be added to the total estimated cost to address risk issues. In capital projects this can go as high as 30%. If the project management software is able to mitigate a substantial portion of the risk issues and the dollar value of the portfolio is X millions of dollars the application will pay for itself in short order.