Estimating costs and allocating resources are key tasks of any project manager. To be successful, the PM needs to master those responsibilities. We can find various online tools today to help the PM do so. In this post, you will find a few options found online, with my first impressions on them. Please do not hesitate to give me your feedback if you know those tools!
Microsoft Office Project: this tool allows collaborative work between the team members. This will help the PM get accurate costs by engaging different stakeholders or team members in creating the budget, as well as control the expenses to keep the budget. This program will also help the PM on the organization and communication of the project. All steps of the project can be managed in the program (budgeting, scheduling, etc). I can clearly see myself using this tool, or a similar one. By compiling all project information in one software, it will help the PM keep track of every detail of the project stage, and therefore, be more efficient. Online feedbacks/comments seem positive in the use of this program.
SmartDraw: Based on their website, the software will allow: “Four keys to successful project planning: Break down tasks to appropriate levels of detail. Develop a schedule with measurable milestones. Allocate resources and hold team members accountable. Measure progress” (“Create Diagrams & Charts Automatically | SmartDraw”, n.d.) as well as create project chart, schedule, etc. By helping the PM breakdown the various tasks, in a visual format, project management will be easier, and more efficient. The estimation of activity duration will be facilitated using the tool. Being a visual learner, I can really understand the advantage of this software, and can see myself using it!
Those tools will not do the work of the PM, but will help the PM in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities in order to be more organized, communicate better with the rest of the stakeholders, and be more efficient in working through the various stages of the project.
Create Diagrams & Charts Automatically | SmartDraw. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2014, from http://www.smartdraw.com/