5 Keys to Becoming a Successful Project Manager with Task Management Tools

Some task management tools may be viewed as a source of tools that enables success. The application contains keys that can be employed to make that success tangible. Below are five keys you can use with their descriptions.

  1. Know percent complete: Sounds simple but it’s powerful. Clients and Project Sponsors want to know, with accuracy, where the project is at. Providing real time status with a precise percent complete quickly accomplishes this. It is important, however, that the project manager have in place a consistent process of updates from team members. The process should require team members to provide periodic (such as weekly) updates of percent complete based on previously agreed to parameters. An example of an agreed to parameter is X percent complete for each module of code or metric tons of concrete for a retaining wall. The ability of the project manager to quickly provide status demonstrates that he or she is on top of what is going on and fully aware of the activities.
  2. Be aware of issues: Leveraging workgroup collaboration functionality and the task management tools capability to store notes and documents the project manager can continually be notified of issues as they develop. Knowing what project issues exist and issues that may be developing is an important part of what project managers do. The application can be used to accomplish this. Preventing an issue from developing can save the schedule or budget from potential damage.

Task Management Tools, “Know Where the Money Is”

  1. Know where the money is: Successful project managers recognize that each project should be run like a business with its own cash flow. Large enterprises and small business are concerned about cash flow. In short the project manager has to make sure, to be successful, that the project team is never overspending or trending towards a cost overrun. One way to do this is checking to make sure that the resource’s levels of effort are aligned with the anticipated activity durations. Here’s a simple example. The schedule calls for a wall to be painted in 10 days, with a projection of 10% per day at a cost of $100 per day. After 5 days you receive a status report. $500 has been spent but only 20% of the work has been completed, clearly if this continues the budget will have an overrun. Remember that resource overruns always represent cost overruns. Project managers that know where the money is are successful.
  2. Prevent resource conflicts: Good resources may be used on multiple tasks within a single project or used concurrently on multiple projects. The more competent the resource the more likely this scenario is to happen. If this does happen chances are high that one or more activities will end up being completed late. A successful project manager proactively avoids this. Use the task management tools to view the resource allocations within the project and at a portfolio level with special attention to the key resources.
  3. Avoid resource over allocations: Successful project managers avoid the rookie mistake of not differentiating, when putting together the schedule, duration and level of effort. The same resource can, in fact, be assigned to more than one activity on the same day. This is possible if when scheduling we recall that it’s possible to allocate the hours within the day. Four hours may be used on one activity, representing the level of effort needed for that activity, and the remaining hours for the other activity. The lack of differentiation can create unnecessary over allocations and adversely impact team productivity. Be successful by simply avoiding unneeded over allocations.