Project management has adapted to meet the complexities of modern-day projects by using tools that make it easier for teams to collaborate, have more robust scheduling capabilities, and provide relevant information related to your projects. To ensure a smooth and efficient project, it is important to rely upon the project management tools at your disposal.
The importance of these tools is rapidly increasing as businesses begin to work remotely and move to digital platforms. Below, we will detail a few project management tools and discuss the role of digital transformation in the project management field.
Modern project management started to formalize and become more scientific as a field in the early 1900s with the development of Gantt charts which are commonly used to this day. As the field progressed and technologies like the personal computer and the internet emerged, project management became exponentially faster and capable of more complex coordination efforts. Today, project management tools are turning digital and becoming more automated.
No one tool addresses every project’s needs, so it is important to select a project management tool that best suits the project requirements and management style. Some common tools include Gantt charts, Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT), and Work-Breakdown Structure (WBS).
A Gantt Chart illustrates a project schedule using bars. It is a simple way to visually organize tasks and projects with complex workflows, sets realistic timeframes, and can highlight potential problems. While originally drawn on paper, Gantt charts can be made on most project management software including MS Project, JIRA, Smartsheet, Wrike, and monday.com, and have become increasingly interactive.
Program Evaluation Review Technique is a statistical tool that analyzes the tasks involved in finishing a project. This tool is particularly useful in projects where details about the activities in a project are not known during the initiation and planning phases of a project.
Work-Breakdown Structure is a project deliverable that illustrates all components of a project. It is structured to display the high-level objective as well as the manageable components that are required in order to achieve the objective.
These project management tools have become increasingly digitized as projects have become more digital and cerebral rather than physical and tangible. Project managers can now create tasks, define activity durations, determine project dependencies and critical paths, and assign resources with the click of a button.
Additionally, these tools have more data available to them and can provide an increasing amount of information such as the status of a given task or project, cost, workload, evidence, historical information, optimization, collaboration, and communication to the end-user. As a result, the management aspect of the project has become more about the people than the products. Fortunately, collaboration tools have allowed for better communication, thus improving the human element of projects rather than making project management impersonal.
Projects are starting to focus more on business processes rather than on the physical creation of a product. Instead of a customer buying a product, projects focus on ways of improving an internal user’s experience to help them become more efficient. Additionally, more and more employees are starting to work from home, challenging employees to become more autonomous with less direct oversight.
Because of this, communication and collaboration are more important than ever before. To ensure the completion of a project, managers must rely on their digital tools like Teams, Zoom, Google Chat, and Slack to collaborate rather than traditional methods of collaboration such as in-person meetings, email, etc., which can be rather cumbersome and inefficient. Top members of the project management field will excel using their interpersonal skills and the automated tools at their disposal, likely rebranding themselves as project leaders rather than project managers.
Though project management methodologies and best practices have changed over the years, the shift towards incorporating digital tools and technology is undoubtedly upon us. Our project management experts are here to assist you with navigating the digital project management landscape. Visit the Management Advisory services page for information on all our service offerings. Be sure and check out the webinar recording for “Project Management Success – Tools and Templates to Drive Performance” and discover tangible tools that deliver project management success.