Project Management Systems: An Invaluable Tool for the Contemporary Project Manager

Numerous papers, articles and deliberations have been produced regarding what exactly defines a good project manager. Some authors have focused solely upon project outcomes, as a method for evaluating manager efficacy, whilst others, such as Kiisel (2000) have paid particular attention to the personal qualities of managers, outlining: organization, foresight, leadership abilities and communication skills as some of the most fundamentally important attributes for project success.

Regarding contemporary projects, it is quite obvious that both the personal qualities of the manager and the overall project outcomes are integral in ensuring general project success; and ultimately, the success of the company concerned. In many contemporary businesses however, project managers are becoming involved, often not by choice, in numerous concurrent projects, which can lead to a phenomenon known as ‘project overload’.

Delivering with Project Management Systems

Project overload generally occurs when project mangers are overwhelmed by continuous, immediately important, time-consuming problems, from diverse simultaneously operating projects. This occurrence essentially has the potential to nullify any outstanding personal qualities or skills a manager may possess, and negatively effect project outcomes. As a result, many businesses are turning toward project management systems as a means of relieving the pressure placed on managers.

Modern project management systems, when correctly implemented, can amplify any personal qualities or skills the manager may possess, therefore permitting them to effectively organize and lead various simultaneous projects. Project management systems achieves this by supplying managers, and often collaborators, with an organized, simplified overview of current projects via one basic software platform.

Detailed Overview

This detailed overview allows both the manager and associated personnel to oversee detailed information on specific attributes such as: project resources, tasks, milestones, risks, budgets and deadlines. The fact that team members have access to a large amount of the project information, furthermore, frees the manager from having to constantly micromanage every aspect of the project, as collaborators are not relying solely on one person for the information needed to work ahead.

Aside from supplying an overview of project details, project management systems also allow project managers to track important aspects of their operations in real-time. This tool is extremely important, as managers are often required to make split second decisions in order to mitigate issues which arise. Real-time access to project information also permits project managers to tightly control factors such as budgets and deadlines.

Arguably however, the most important attributes of software in modern projects are the various communication tools available. Management software packages often offer various different, transparent communication options for both managers and personnel, ranging from forums to real-time video conferencing options. This generally gives collaborators direct access to the manager regardless of the managers’ status or location; or allows them to bypass the manager and work ahead with tasks as required, hence increasing efficiency.

It can therefore be seen, that software for project management is an ideal way for overextended project managers to deal with many of the time consuming issues that cause projects to run less efficiently. As the utilization of projects is viewed increasingly as ‘business as usual’ in many companies, it can only be assumed that the role and implementation of management software packages will grow exponentially.