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Project Management Software: Planning, Tracking, and Collaboration Tools for Your Business

Do your internal or customer projects come in on time and on budget? With the right project management software you can make sure you are allocating resources and managing schedules, so you are consistently meeting project time, cost, and scope goals. Read on to find out more about the variety of project management software options available and their benefits to your organization.

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The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter

Getting a grip on your project management software options

There is a dizzying array of project management software on the market today. If you’ve spent time researching your options, you already know it can be tough to get a grip on all the different functional options available and which programs are right for you. There are programs designed for internal project tracking and those more oriented toward client work. Some options are tailored to construction projects, others to professional service work, and still others optimized for systems or business development projects.

The benefits of finding the right program are enticing though. The right project management software promises improved project visibility, tools for promoting collaboration and creativity, and increased efficiency executing project work. The goal of this article is to provide you with an overview of each of the three main functional areas that make up the project management tools available to you: project planning, tracking, and collaboration software. With better insight into the software features available to you, you’ll be in a stronger position both to identify your software requirements and to find the programs that match your needs.

Positioning for success with project planning functionality

What’s the scope of the project? Who should be involved? What does project success look like? Project planning software provides a mechanism for answering these critical questions. Yet, project planning software tools still seem a bit, well, underappreciated.

Tactical project management tools—such as those that address task management and scheduling—seem quite indispensable in today’s business environment. Isn’t it time that we take the same attitude toward strategic project planning tools?

After all, it’s hard to go more than a few days without running into some restating of every business management pundit’s favorite Sun Tzu axiom: “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” If we really believe that, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to the project planning software available to us?

The answer is clearly, yes. If we believe in the importance of getting project schedules detailed into hyper-granular Gantt charts, surely we can promote project planning beyond the limits of individual email accounts and desktop file structures. Let’s take a closer look at some of the software tools available for managing key project planning tasks:

  • Project ideation. Project planning is what happens when you consider the scope of a project, who will be involved, and the goals—right? True, but it’s also happening before that. Many organizations, particularly those managing internal development projects, are beginning to take a more rigorous approach to capturing project ideas and prioritizing them. Project ideation technologies are starting to show up more frequently in project management suites. Tools like survey and interview capture programs are designed to tap employee insights regarding business areas that can be improved. Prioritization dashboards, often involving polling and rating functionality, provide a means of managing which projects deserve attention.
  • Project scope. Identifying project scope is a critical piece—perhaps the critical piece of project planning. Writing clear project scope statements is a bit of a skill though. Collaboration tools, form based document templates, and access to scope statements from previous projects provide assistance for project scope authors. Entity relationship diagrams, SWOT analyses, Venn diagrams, and a variety of other project modeling tools can be useful in the planning work that precedes project scope documentation.
  • Work breakdown structures. A work breakdown structure provides an inventory or decomposition of the work that will go into successfully completing a project. Work breakdown structures are most commonly represented in a flow-chart like format, and tools that allow the creation of WBS documents are often found in project management programs.
  • Project team rosters. Assembling a project team is another fundamental step in project planning. Project team management tools can handle not only the tracking and storage of project team member skills and certifications, but also management of their level of access to documents and utilities within the software, often on a project-by-project basis.
  • Project budgeting. Project budgeting is a discipline and a craft in it’s own right. Not surprisingly, for this very reason, many project management tools leave budgeting to other software modules that are specifically designed for it. However, there are many project management programs these days that now include project budgeting functionality within the broader application suite as an integrated function. Some important budgeting features include estimating, line-item cost breakdown assignments, what-if scenario forecasting, and actual cost variance comparison tools.
  • Change management. Project planning doesn’t occur exclusively at the beginning of a project. Change is inevitable and often it’s necessary to make changes to the work breakdown structure or even the project scope document. A normalized structure for managing change orders is an important component of any project management program. A structured approval process within the software tool is critical to ensuring that the changes support the interests of the project stakeholders.

Managing task assignments and scheduling with project tracking features

Who does what? When does it get done? How long do we have to do it and where are we at with task completion? Keeping projects on track and productive is often a product of how well your organization can answer these critical questions.

  • Task assignment and scheduling. Managing tasks assignments and scheduling work can be complex. To keep up with this complexity, a large variety of different scheduling models and approaches can be seen in project management software. Check-list and to do style task registers are common. Calendar tools are generally directly provided by the project management software, but the integration of 3rd party calendars is not altogether uncommon. The ability to filter tasks based on task assignment, task attributes, and timeframe is an important basic feature for keeping up with scheduling when there are a large number of tasks present. Similarly, many systems will incorporate rule-based alert notifications related to upcoming tasks, task completions, or other indicators.
  • Gantt charts. Gantt charts provide a means of viewing the dependencies between tasks. Gantt charts visually represent the connections between what work must be completed before other work can be tackled. Gantt charts are also utilized to track the completion of project milestones.
  • Progress tracking. Progress tracking utilities provide a means of quickly identifying where a project is relative to completion. Task completion dashboards are common features. Dashboards will generally display a percentage to completion, as well as provide filtering capabilities to identify what work remains.
  • Time tracking. A lot of managing projects is managing time. Often it’s critical to track time inputs on various projects for billing purposes. Frequently, time tracking is used for internal tracking purposes, such as monitoring project completion and identifying how long tasks will take on future projects. Features that allow for identifying time intervals and measuring time are frequently found among the utilities provided by project management suites.
  • Resource allocation. Project resources frequently go beyond the skills and time of project members. Very often specific materials and equipment are required to complete projects. The ability to view and resource availability and manage can be a critical component of successful project management. Resource scheduling functionality can mirror labor scheduling in terms of the usage of resource registers and availability schedules.

Fostering creative collaboration with communication tools and document management software

Collaboration presents significant challenges. How do you effectively manage the interchange of ideas and documents between project members? How do you ensure project members are working on common resources? How do you maintain transparency and accountability when project contributions are shared?

As easy as it is to advocate the ideal of collaboration, it can be just as difficult to effectively realize it. Seemingly, there are obstacles everywhere to facilitating strong project communication. Distributed workforces are increasingly common. Your organization may need to manage communication with other business partners or inter-departmentally. It can be challenging for project members, especially those contributing to multiple projects, to keep others up to date on their work.

The good news is that there are more software options than ever for handling project communication, document management, and even meeting facilitation. Let’s examine them in more depth:

  • Email and email integration. An email based communication system is the centerpiece of most project management collaboration tools. In many products, email integration will allow users to handle emails from within their standard email clients (such as Outlook or Gmail), while capturing email communication so that it also can be viewed from within the project management suite.
  • Message boards, wiki’s, and instant messaging. While email is the workhorse of many project collaboration systems, it’s not the only mechanism for communication. Wiki’s can be useful for capturing documentation that needs to be referenced frequently or continually updated. Message boards and forums can promote more interaction than direct emailing. Instant messaging provides the benefit it’s name suggests—allowing project members to rapidly communicate on a direct basis.
  • Document management. Many types of project work include the creation of a large amount of documents. Managing document exchange via email or 3rd party file-sharing sites has some problems associated with it. It is difficult to stay abreast of current versions, doesn’t allow for clear visibility into version histories, and is a more time-consuming method of passing documents between project members. Document management systems offer a host of advantages. Multiple file format support, audit trails identifying change histories, and managed shared access to common documents present a much more robust solution.
  • Meeting coordination. Enterprise class project management solutions are increasingly providing meeting tools. Web-conferencing, audio-conferencing, and screen-sharing technologies are appearing more frequently in the more capable solutions available.

Taking the next steps

If you are at the point where you are ready to find which project management software options are right for you, we can help. Through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate a handful of solutions appropriate for your requirements. Get started today!

Popular Project Management Software Products

Looking for great project management software options? Below you can check out a list of the products most commonly considered by others searching for project management software. The list on this page is based on many years of real software matches. But everyone’s needs are different. Browse for fits with your specific requirements or let us help you identify your top options.

Which software is right for you? Get quick and accurate recommendations.

What if you could simply tell someone about your software needs and they’d find your best choices? Look no further. We’ll listen to your needs and find your top software matches. That’s it. There’s no pressure, no cost.

The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter
  • Deltek Enterprise Project Management (EPM) by Deltek

    Deltek EPM is an integrated suite of project management software applications for Government Contractors and Agencies that require a compliant solution for ANSI 748 requirements, program controls and earned value management (EVM). Deltek's...

  • Primavera P6 Professional Project Management by Oracle

    Oracle's Primavera P6 Professional Project Management gives today's project managers and schedulers the one thing they value most: control. Primavera P6 Professional Project Management, the recognized standard for high-performance project management...

  • Spectrum Construction Management Software by Dexter + Chaney

    Version 14 is the most innovative new version of software in Dexter + Chaney’s 30+ year history. With v14, Spectrum enters the cloud. But we’ve done much more than simply move our existing software to a hosted environment. We’ve completely...

  • Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate by Sage

    Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Sage Timberline Office) has proven accounting and estimating applications, covering the entire project lifecycle. Integrated Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate product suites include accounting,...

  • Sage 100 Contractor by Sage

    Sage 100 Contractor is an integrated business management and accounting system for general and engineering contractors and subcontractors of all trades. The software includes estimating, scheduling, project management, equipment management, payroll,...

  • ProContractor by Viewpoint® by Viewpoint Construction Software

    ProContractor by Viewpoint® is an all-in-one cloud software solution that helps small to mid-sized contractors handle the complexities of the entire project lifecycle. With an all-in-one solution, you have end-to-end control and seamless...

  • Tenrox Project Management Software by Upland Software

    Plan, budget and account for project costs, optimize resource utilization, improve forecasting; and enhance project execution *Project management software* – Plan and budget portfolios and projects; forecast and measure resource...

  • ALCIE Project Management & Accounting Suite by ALCIE Integrated Solutions

    ALClE's multi-company Project Management & Accounting Suite provides an enterprise-wide work-in-process system designed to accommodate a wide variety of requirements. Virtually all types of project costs may be recorded. Material, labor and...

  • NetSuite OpenAir by NetSuite

    NetSuite OpenAir software is the world's #1 cloud professional services automation (PSA) solution, providing project-based businesses with powerful project management, resource management, project accounting and timesheet and expenses management...

  • Corecon V7 by Corecon Technologies

    Corecon’s flagship product, Corecon v7, is a powerful and user-friendly web-based suite of software that offers a complete solution for managing project information, from preconstruction though project closeout. Utilizing the latest web...

  • ArchAdministrator by PS Software Solutions, LLC.

    Designed by architects and specifically for Architectural and Engineering (A/E) firms, ArchAdministrator has harnessed the power of the multi-layered relational database to simplify the task of recording, organizing, and analyzing the wide variety...

  • InFocus by Clearview Software

    InFocus is a all encompassing financial management solution that is functional in the following areas of your business: * Accounting * Billing * Project Management * Project Reporting * Project Forecasting & Planning * Resource...

  • Sage ERP X3 by Sage

    Sage ERP X3 is the most powerful and flexible business management solution offered by Sage. It empowers mid-sized and larger companies within the manufacturing and distribution industries with the ability to grow a competitive business with limited...

  • Deltek Vision by Deltek

    Powerful Software for Project-Related Businesses At any given moment, effective decision-makers need to understand how your business is performing, why problems occur, the impact on the business, and what you can or should do to enhance...

  • Intacct by Intacct

    Intacct provides professional-strength, on-demand financial management and accounting applications for small and mid-sized businesses. Get the same power, functionality, reporting and security that traditional legacy on-premise systems provide, but...

  • Dynamics SL by Microsoft

    Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Microsoft Business Solutions—Solomon) is designed to meet the specific business management needs of project, service, and distribution-driven organizations, including companies in these industries: *...

  • Epicor for Service Enterprises by Epicor Software

    Epicor for Service Enterprises is an industry-defining ESA solution designed expressly for mid-sized service organizations. It optimizes your business processes, empowering you to expand the value chain, grow revenue and drive efficiency benefits...

  • Unanet Project Tracking by Unanet

    Unanet Project Tracking enables the anytime and anywhere collection, and real time reporting, on labor hours and expenses from web-based timesheets and expense reports. More than 700 organizations have adopted Unanet including government...

  • Acumatica ERP by Acumatica

    Acumatica Cloud ERP provides all of the features of traditional accounting, financial, and ERP software, but is web-based so it is less expensive to maintain, centrally managed, and accessible from anywhere. Customers can purchase a license and...

  • Vista by Viewpoint by Viewpoint Construction Software

    Viewpoint Construction Software® provides construction professionals with integrated, configurable software applications for all aspects of construction management. Our contemporary software product, Vista® by Viewpoint features Accounting, Job...

  • Primavera P6 Professional Project Management by Oracle

    Oracle's Primavera P6 Professional Project Management gives today's project managers and schedulers the one thing they value most: control. Primavera P6 Professional Project Management, the recognized standard for high-performance project management...

  • Exact Macola 10 by Exact

    Exact Macola has provided software solutions to thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors for over 40 years. Our solutions help organizations increase revenue, reduce costs, mitigate risk, improve operational efficiencies,...

  • NetSuite by NetSuite

    NetSuite enables companies to manage all key business operations in a single, integrated system, which includes customer relationship management; order management and fulfillment; inventory management; finance; ecommerce and Web site management; and...

  • Dynamics AX by Microsoft

    Designed for mid-size and larger companies, Microsoft® Dynamics AX (formerly Microsoft Axapta) is a multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Its core strengths are in manufacturing and e-business, and it...

  • Compiere by Aptean

    Compiere is an integrated open source ERP and CRM business solution for automating all of your financial, distribution, sales and service processes. In addition to providing well-understood ERP capabilities and benefits, Compiere delivers...

  • ProjectManagement by MARINGO Computers

    ProjectManagement is a project planning and project controlling solution based on SAP Business One that has been specifically designed for the needs of small and midsize businesses. ProjectManagement caters for the entire workflow of service...

  • IBN Project Management by Instant Business Network

    Instant Business Network has created a project management tool allowing you to manage projects, share information, instantly coordinate and increase efficiency. You are now able to consolidate everything into a single view. This project...

  • eTech Project Management by eTech Solution

    eTech Project Management provides web-enabled software to successfully integrate the complexities of Project Planning, Job Costing, Labor Tracking and Resource allocation. We provide your management team with a “real time” window for...

  • maestro* Construction by Maestro Technologies

    Maestro* is an all-inclusive tool integrating contact management, timesheets, sub-trade management and flexible billing. Maestro*Construction is specifically designed to meet the estimating, job costing, project management and accounting needs of...

  • JobOrder by Management Software

    JobOrder business process software is an exceptional value for all project-based organizations, including advertising, architecture, construction, consulting, design, and engineering. JobOrder includes Accounting with A/R, A/P and G/L. Manage...

  • Deltek Maconomy by Deltek

    Deltek's fully-integrated enterprise solution Deltek Maconomy is designed to support the key processes of businesses that deliver project-based services to their end customers. Maconomy features broad and deep finance and project management...

  • Project Management Software by BidTracer

    Bidtracer’s Project Management Software is fully integrated with the Bid Management Module but may be used as stand-alone system. With our online construction project management software, project coordination and document control is fast and easy....

  • KeyedIn Projects by KeyedIn Solutions

    From bidding to billing, projects to programs, board executives to teams in the field, KeyedIn™ Projects operates at every stage of the project lifecycle, empowering managers with the information they need to deliver successful projects, time...

  • Dynamics NAV by Microsoft

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV delivers industry-specific functionality along with multi-language and multi-site capabilities. Its integrated development environment enables customizations with minimal disruption to business processes. Designed to work like...

  • Jonas Project Management (PM) by Jonas Construction Software

    Jonas Project Management (PM) helps you steer away from traditional methods of project management like pen, paper and multiple spreadsheets. Our project management system is fully integrated with all aspects of the Jonas core system and is used...

  • ObviO EMS by ObviO Software

    ObviO Enterprise Management System (EMS) is the complete integrated, end-to-end, modular enterprise software solution that empowers your project workforce and financial managers in real time. Manage your complete project life cycle. Convey financial...

  • Business ByDesign by SAP

    The SAP Business ByDesign cloud-based solution (formerly referred to as code name A1S) is a new addition to the SAP offerings for small businesses and midsize companies. It is targeted to the unmet needs of these enterprises, which have...

  • eTEK Construction Systems by eTEK International

    For close to 20 years, eTEK has offered a broad range of accounting & business management systems designed specifically for general contractors in the construction industry. Systems are available for either cloud-based, traditional LAN-based, or a...

  • TeamworkPM by Teamwork Project Management

    Teamwork Project Manager is an online application that helps you get organized and take control of your current projects, task lists, milestones, files, notebooks, resources and time. Teamwork Project Manager is aimed at any person, company or group...

  • PENTA by Penta Technologies

    Built with state-of-the-art technology and an open ORACLE database, PENTA delivers with Project Management, Financial Management, Equipment Cost Control and Labor Management. PENTA's Project Management Module is a comprehensive solution...

  • IFS Applications by IFS North America

    IFS Applications is unique in that it allows you to selected from over 100 business components which in turn are made up from more than 6,000 smaller software components. Each component has a well-defined purpose and interface that describes what...

  • Spitfire Project Management System by Spitfire Management, LLC.

    In one fully integrated system, you get browser-based construction project management with full collaboration capabilities, plus complete project cost accounting and integrated financial accounting (with Acumatica Cloud ERP or Microsoft Dynamics SL)...

  • Assistance PSO for Microsoft Dynamics by Assistance Software

    Assistance PSO for Microsoft Dynamics is the total solution for professional service organizations. Does project management play a major role in your organization? Our project software allows for total control of all aspects of every stage of a...

  • Infor CloudSuite Business by Infor

    *Power your company with a cloud-based operations platform built for speed, agility, and growth.* Strategic decision-making is essential for any small or medium size organization, no matter if it’s B2B or B2C. Next-generation companies thrive...

  • Project Insight by Metafuse

    Project Insight, by Metafuse, Inc., is the leading mid-market enterprise project management solution that bridges experienced project managers with team members that need an 'easy to use' project solution. Project Insight is 100% web-based and...

  • Beyond Software by Beyond Software

    Built with project oriented organizations in mind, Beyond Software makes it easy for you to manage projects and run your business. Our all-in-one project management and accounting software ties together project management and accounting in one...

  • Tabs3 by Software Technology

    ##Tabs3 Billing Tabs3 Billing is reliable, award winning software designed for law firms. It makes it easy to get your bills out quickly, and manage the business side of your firm. Automatically e-mail PDF statements to clients one at a time, or...

  • DCAA‑Assist by DCAA-Assist

    DCAA-Assist is here to help you navigate and master the complexity of government contracts requirements so you may develop and implement accounting solutions that are fully compliant with these unique accounting and reporting regulations....

  • WorkWise ERP by WorkWise

    WorkWise ERP is organized into seven Suites that cover all the information technology needs of the manufacturing enterprise. Product Data Management (PDM) supports standard, configured, and custom products for to-order, to-stock and...

  • Dynamics GP by Microsoft

    For more than 25 years, Microsoft Dynamics GP has delivered out-of-the-box business management functionality—from financials and human resource management to manufacturing and operations—to power diverse small and midsize companies around...

Your Project Management Software Recommendations

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