IT project management involves a lot of planning and processes to contend with. From conceiving an idea and team collaboration to reaching milestones and staying on budget, the scope of carrying out a project can be a complex undertaking.
As a result, there’s more to it than merely having the knowledge and skills in place. The challenges it can present means there’s a need to have the right tools on your side to ensure success in the long term. And with technology developments and upgrades moving at a rapid pace, your IT team will need software that can keep projects moving smoothly without falling behind any oncoming updates.
Here, we’ll present a series of management tools that can make certain scenarios and stages of your project go that little bit easier.
Pretty much any project, IT or otherwise, has a degree of collaboration to it. Something that makes working together on tasks simple and straightforward is essential to the success of your next project. That’s where Basecamp comes in. Everyone working on a project can chat, keep files and documents in one place, and arrange meetings or events to fit your project’s schedule. Streamlined and user-friendly, it’s easy to see why it’s been around for two decades.
If you’d prefer something a little less long in the tooth, then Todoist is another piece of software that makes collaboration easy. When you share a project, everyone on your team has full access to the information within, including tasks, comments and uploaded files. They’ll also be able to add, assign and complete tasks, as well as share their input too. Additionally, Todoist’s functionality lets you filter by date, person, project and action, creating a feed that allows you to view everything that’s happening across your projects.
Strong collaboration software goes hand in hand with something that’ll foster ideas through group brainstorming. Bubble.us is a simple, effective mind mapping app that lets you build, save and share up to three mind maps on its free plan. Since it’s web-based, there’s no need to download anything, so you can get straight to putting your heads together. Plus, with a 30-day free trial, there’s no excuse not to.
For visual collaboration and brainstorming, LucidChart offers up intuitive, easy-to-use flow charts that help you and your team create diagrams that appeal to those who learn through visuals. Whether you start from scratch or pick from one of its templates, users can integrate G Suite, Confluence and JIRA with the program, and drop in content from things like YouTube, Dropbox and Facebook. All this makes for clearer, more robust brainstorming to get your project off on the right foot.
Projects can become mired in endless lists of tasks, complex charts and impenetrable data – a sure-fire way to slow up progress. A visual approach to mapping out the project journey can help teams plan things out, show the progress you’re making, and highlight who is working on what. Casual can help with this, allowing users to create new tasks, categorise tasks together and develop a logical workflow to see where your project is heading. This allows for easy tracking of you and your team’s tasks, and there’s even a Casual app for iOS and Android users.
Another piece of project management software that favours a visual interface over complex charts, Trello is great for those with minimal project management experience. With a user-friendly, pick-up-and-play feel, Trello makes use of cards filled with tasks; the cards can be moved around in any order so things can be prioritised however you see fit. When a card is opened, you can create lists within it, upload files and make additions and amendments via email, which is very handy when inspiration strikes outside the office.
As well as its collaborative and visualisation features, Monday.com is highly lauded for its timeline capabilities, allowing you to view your project’s progress at a glance. Using this scheduling tool, you can plan projects, set deadlines, assign team members, break down tasks and more. Additionally, your timelines can be tailored to your working approach too; choose to view them as spreadsheets, as lists, on a map or on a Kanban board, amongst others.
If you need to keep track of project hours for your invoicing, then Due is a comprehensive, user-friendly tool that lets you track profitability based on invoices billed and received, along with employee hours worked. It also has report-drafting capabilities, so you can analyse productivity, efficiency and profitability. Plus, thanks to PayPal integration, it offers affordable pricing on payments from clients too.
Staying on budget
Many projects will have a budget to stay within, but sometimes things can get out of control. Staying within your budget is hugely important to the progress of both the project and the business as a whole. Hub Planner allows for real-time visualisation of your budget as you schedule in and complete tasks. Any time you make a change to your schedule, Hub Planner immediately updates the budget information, showing what you have remaining and whether you’re financially on track.
For projects to move smoothly, the team needs to effectively communicate in a way that keeps everyone in the loop. Slack allows for workplace communication, file sharing and group discussions; think of it as a chat room for your entire company. Grouped into channels, it streamlines office talk into one spot, doing away with the need for project communication that’s spread across emails, text messages and meetings. Plus, you can make private channels to break down larger teams into their relevant working groups.
Presenting the project plan
If you need to get buy-in from stakeholders, then presenting your ideas and proposals with a succinct, powerful presentation can make all the difference. Haiku Deck is a free browser-based presentation tool that gives your ideas an impact, letting users create eye-catching presentations that grab the audience’s attention from the first minute.
If you need to make regular presentations to stakeholders, then TeamGantt’s softwarecan present the progress of your project in a comprehensive, attractive manner. Show your audience tasks that are due and in progress, the availability of team members, and milestones that have been completed. The idea is to make data seem less overwhelming so you can determine the next steps to take as the project moves forward.
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