Must-have tools

IC Project , 14 March, 2018

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Managing a project is a process requiring use of tools facilitating work at all stages: for the employees responsible for their parts of the project as well as the project manager who, in addition to his or her own part, supervises the project as a whole. Besides fluent communication, supported with such elements as objective division of responsibilities, it is important to choose tools that will make management of resources, including employees, time and budget, more efficient. The tools must be comprehensible for everybody. Simple in use, regardless of the level of advancement of a team member and – first and foremost – allowing for remote operation. Poorly selected tools result in disorganisation, delaying project completion.

Functions for employees

All teams should have easy access to the tool. The key feature here is ease of operation. Regardless of their age, all employees should find it easy to use the given tool. Tools must be selected in a manner ensuring that no team member slows others down in their work. The primary element in this regard should be a legible task list. Preferably, it should be well-visible right after starting the program, regardless of whether it is launched from a computer, smartphone or another device. A legible task list is a tool allowing any employee to figure out in a couple of seconds what tasks they have, what are the deadlines for them and which have priorities. A perfect solution for this purpose are task lists in the Kanban card system. Invented a long time ago by the hard-working Japanese nation, Kanban cards help to quickly determine the status of projects and deal with those consisting of multiple tasks.

A legible dashboard where you can immediately find the assigned task is a feature facilitating work. Getting quickly to the task improves communication in the group and – as known very well – communication provides the grounds for team work.

Project Manager’s tasks

The project manager, as the team leader, coordinates work on the entire project. The most important thing here are soft skills that should be supported with proper tools. The essence of the project manager’s tasks is adequate planning of work involving management of human resources – assigning duties to proper employees, budget and time control. The tool used by the PM should have all the above functions. Sometimes, in addition to the PM’s team, running a project requires participation of the customer. A tool allowing to engage the customer in the entire project or its part will ensure quick communication and clarification of potential issues or misunderstandings.

How to deal with a “bottleneck”

When running a project, sometimes everything goes wrong. We encounter unexpected problems at the absolute worst time, delaying the project and forcing several deadline changes. Choosing the right tools minimises the effects of the bottleneck. The proper tool should allow smooth correction of any errors. The most frequent issue is hindered communication among the team members. Therefore, it is very important for the tool to be equipped with a messenger (preferably in-built and integrated with tasks and projects) allowing for quick information exchange. There are situations when we are not really certain how much time our employees spend performing their tasks. Time monitoring might come to the rescue in this regard as it is conducive to employees’ self-discipline and project control. Everybody knows that time is money. Project management tools should feature finance control, allowing to establish the budget and create periodical reports for the PM and the customer.

What tool will be best for the employees, project managers and administrators at the same time? It is not easy to answer this question. Everybody works differently and has different priorities. It is best to choose to a tool that offering multiple valuable functions at once. All data available in one place will surely facilitate work and communication in the team, and the end result will be easier to accomplish.

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