What function does technology have in project management? Of necessity, project managers take on a number of roles over the lifecycle of a project. The right technology can streamline these roles and speed task completion time. The true value of technology in project management is the way in which it is utilized—it can improve communication, help in risk assessment, and control scheduling, but only if the right tools are used in the right way.
Recently, the trend for business software in general and project management technology, in particular, is migration to the cloud. Cloud-based applications have several distinct advantages over their locally-hosted cousins, including decreased costs and more adaptability. These make them especially suited to project management applications.
Here are a few examples of extremely useful project management technologies, many of which can be either purchased as legacy software or subscribed to as cloud-based software as a service:
Data backup and redundancy
For project managers, data backup software is absolutely essential. Without this technology, the progress made on a project would be extremely vulnerable to loss or corruption, which could result in huge financial losses for the company. Whether data is stored in the cloud or on local servers, it is vital to take advantage of this technology to mitigate these risks.
Business communications have changed dramatically over the last ten years. Email and web conferencing have replaced phone calls and personal visits as the communication methods of choice. Since project managers often serve as lynchpins in communications among clients, team members, vendors, and management, well-designed communications software is indispensable for effective project management. Tools like Microsoft Lync offer integrated solutions that make communications and the transfer of information easier.
Diagramming software is used to produce graphical representations of projects and flowcharts. From a project management standpoint, this software can improve workflow and timing. Some popular examples of diagramming software include Microsoft Visio and OmniGraffle.
If you haven’t yet received a task status update via Twitter, that is likely coming. Social media can help project managers stay on top of their teams and track progress, and, in fact, a growing number of PMs are currently using Facebook or other social media tools to communicate with project teams and clients.
Last, but certainly not least, is the growing number of software applications that are designed specifically for project management tasks. These platforms come with a number of useful tools that can help manage scheduling, cost estimation, budget control, and documentation. Most PM platforms provide some mixture of communications and file sharing as well as tools for assigning tasks, milestones, and deadlines.
Today’s project managers have a plethora of technologies available to help optimize their project management tasks. By taking advantage of these and other software applications, project managers can become more effective and efficient.