Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) has come a long way in recent years. Project managers have more technology and capability at their disposal than ever before. The caveat to this is that, if your competitors are wasting no time in moving to the latest PPM technology, you simply can’t afford to keep using rudimentary tools like Excel spreadsheets for project management.
New technology also means the PPM market is more saturated than ever. It takes an extensive amount of research before you can be certain you have the best tool for the job. Does the tool you’re looking for require reporting or resource management capabilities? Many businesses spend ample time comparing the best software applications to find which will provide them with the most value.
In this post, we are going to look at some of the most popular project management tools on the market, comparing their differences, strengths and weaknesses to see which is the best option for you.
The following are three of the most widely-used project management tools currently on the market. Let’s compare them:
Delivered through Office 365, Microsoft Project provides businesses with the fundamentals, and does so very well. The software provides users with a powerful and visually-enhanced way to manage their projects and programs. Built within the familiarity of the Office productivity suite, the platform is great for breaking down otherwise complex projects into more manageable sizes.
Microsoft Project struggles, however, when it comes to allocating resources to programs of work. While not an issue for smaller organizations, large project management bodies will suffer from a lack of resource management. Project does offer some resource management functionality, but it is limited.
Smartsheet aims to unite the usability of spreadsheets with a visual management of your project timelines. It has several integrations with services like Salesforce and Google Apps to help manage projects and programs. Its interface is coupled with Gantt Charts, file sharing, and work automation features to improve worker productivity.
There are a couple features the platform lacks, however. There is no time-tracking feature, which can make the planning and executing of a project difficult if you aren’t using Smartsheet in conjunction with another project management tool. Additionally, the reporting feature is complex to use and requesting a report is often time-consuming.
Wrike is an extremely flexible tool when it comes to project management. The software breaks everything down into tasks and workers are notified of every project detail. This enables groups to collaborate, schedule, prioritize, discuss, and keep track of work and progress with relative ease. One of the best features is the three-pane project view—allowing users to view the project hierarchy, project task list, and task details all at once.
With everything broken into tasks (the smallest unit of measurement in projects), files and comments can quickly build up and overwhelm the user. With so much ‘clutter’, newcomers to the platform will likely find navigation hard and user training could take some time.
These applications have their differences, but one thing is consistent. An area missing in all these products is dedicated resource management.
Project managers are let down when it comes to the managing of their resources—namely, their workers (and the amount of hours they work). Resource management provides an added layer of visibility into projects. Without this, it’s harder for project managers to know when their people are working, and when they’ll be on a project over the coming days, weeks, or months. They’ll have less visibility into the financial aspect of projects, meaning they cannot make as accurate a decision regarding budget and timeframes. It becomes much harder to plan for unforeseen changes and variables that inevitably affect projects.
More than simply helping you manage your projects—knowing which workers you have on hand and applying your most capable workers to the most relevant tasks—resource management can help you plan ahead. Resource forecasting enables project and resource managers to really drill down into resources, testing the effects of changing or modifying projects in real-time.
Finding the perfect resource management app deserves the same level of thought as you would give to finding the right project management app.
Tempus Resource is a resource management app that can boost your resource management capabilities without confining you to the boundaries of the platform itself.
Tempus integrates with platforms like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project and Smartsheet, acting as the decision-making lens in which to view your resources and projects. Tempus provides you with forecasting capabilities for the data you have stored in the project management tool you’re already using.