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Project Management Tools And Techniques

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Project Management Tools

In this article, we will be discussing effective project management” and for that to happen what are the different tools that are available and techniques that one has to follow will be our main topic.

Essential Project Management Tools and Techniques that every project team should be aware of:

There are a number of project management tools available in the current market but project managers are advised to choose a project management tool which suits best to their management style.

Pro tip:

No one project management tool will suffice all the project management needs.
Few tools that are popular and are used in the project management area are listed below:

  1. Gantt Charts
  2. Logic Network
  3. Product Breakdown
  4. PERT ( Program Evaluation Review Technique)
  5. Work Breakdown Structure

All these tools are explained in detail below:

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1. Gantt Chart:

A Gantt chart is one of the oldest project management tool that has been used widely. It is a bar chart that helps the project managers to keep track of their tasks across execution phase. It was first developed in the year 1917, the Gantt chart didn’t show the relationship between the tasks. In today’s world, it is widely used the tool as it has become common to track the tasks in terms of time and also the interdependencies.

  •  Nowadays it is easily used in everyday life at work.
  • The first use of Gantt chart was on Hoover dam project which started in the year 1931 in America.
  • As the tool is introduced to the market, it has become an industry standard.  It has been classified as an important project management tool which is used for showing phases of the project, milestones, achievements, resource that are used within the project execution phase.

2. Logic Network:

The logic network within a project is the sequence of activities that are associated with a project over time. It shows the which tasks are logically preceded or the tasks that are followed based on the current activity. Further, it will help you understand the dependencies in the project that you are working. Using this tool you will never oversee any valuable information.

3. PERT Chart:

PERT is known as Program Evaluation and Review Technique. It is one of the most widely used project management tool developed by United States Department of Defense in the year 1958 as part of a ballistic missile project.

Within this method, it is generally used to analyze the tasks involved in completing a given project. Within this process, one will be able to analyze the time required to complete the entire task and at the same identifying the minimum time required to complete total project.

4. Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)

  • In project management terminology, PBS aka Product Breakdown Structure is considered to be an extensive hierarchy tree structure of components that all together make up a delivery of the project.
  • It helps an individual to work on Work Breakdown Structure.
  • With the help of Product Breakdown Structure, it will help the team to identify or clarify what can be delivered by the project.
  • According to the PRINCE2 project management standards, it suggests that the use of product based planning is essential, which is nothing but developing a product breakdown structure.

5. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

WBS or Work Breakdown Structure is a part of Product Breakdown Structure. It was developed by United States Department of Defense. It was developed during the ballistic missile project launch.

In short, Word breakdown structure helps the project team to divide the requirements into deliverable tasks can be managed and scheduled. These deliverable tasks can be helpful to do the cost quotation, resource management etc. The Work Breakdown Structure is more a standard project management tool which is mainly used for project planning.

Well, above discussed tools are widely used in Project management area, depending upon the requirements and suitability these tools are been used. Try to be aware of these tools so that it will be helpful for you at some point or the other.

The below list of items is vital topics that every project team should be careful about and at the same time pay due attention.

1. Pay attention to the customer needs
2. Build high-performance project teams who are capable of understanding the customer pain points and also help them to deliver quality solutions to their existing business problems.
3. Work across multiple teams to achieve a mutual goal.
4. Develop work breakdown structures
5. Estimate project costs, schedules, and resource management
6. Time constraints
7. Risk management processes
8. Monitor, control and execute projects

Below are few techniques that every project management team should be aware of. It is also helpful to read through this and brush up your knowledge if you are already aware of it, if not it is worth reading:

Traditional Project Management:

1. Most of the projects are carried out in traditional project management way.
2. It is best suitable for small groups where there is no dependency on each other’s input
3. Most of the time it takes the simple analysis of the requirement, association of the tasks to the relevant team members.
4. It requires less monitoring, as the process flow is pretty much standard and defined.
5. The project managers often provide real-time coaching, feedback, and assessment to the team members during the project execution.

Waterfall Project Management:

1. In addition to the Traditional project management process, the teams rely on each other’s inputs to complete the project to achieve a common goal.
2. Usually, in this phase, the team size will grow eventually to meet the requirements as it is phase by phase approach.
3. Most of the time, waterfall project management teams use Gantt chart as a tool to track their process, project timeline and dependencies

Rational Unified Process:

  • It is often called as RUP process.
  • This technique is named after the company after it is first developed, i.e. The Rational Unified Process.  It is more oriented towards the iterative style of software development.
  • With this process, it is more cyclic. It gathers inputs from the end users for future production cycles.

It plays an important role in terms of “Transition” phase of the project. The developed products are pushed into entering user's hands and end users start evaluating the service and also discuss future evolution of the product or the service.

Critical Path Project Management:

This technique or process is very popular among scientists and manufacturers. It is developed in the year 1950’s. It relies mainly on task duration estimates and dependencies.

Using this process, it focuses on prioritizing the tasks by analyzing the amount of time it will take to complete the task. Using this process, project managers will get a clear-cut understanding of the overall project completion timeframe.

Critical Chain Project Management:

This technique is an evolution of both PERT and Critical Path methodologies.

With the help of this technique, it will help the project managers to reshape the teams and goals around the allocated budget and constraints. Instead of using the Critical path projections or estimates to understand the shortest possible project length, project managers focus on using the data to evaluate cost savings and changing few project elements.

This technique is generally used in auto manufacturing and consumer electronics market.

Extreme Project Management:

The perfect example of extreme project management are:
1. Scrum
2. Agile

With the use of Extreme Project Management techniques, it does help in speeding up the product life cycles. With the help of iterative cycles, the outcome of the product is not compromised on the quality and at the same time requirements.

With this technique, it has been a standard practice that developments teams are used to nightly builds and regular updates or releases on the product. This helps in the overall execution but it this is not monitored effectively it will be a big flaw for the entire project team.

Conclusion:

The knowledge of Project Management tools and techniques is definitely needed for all the project managers and budding project managers in the industry. If you like what you have read and found something is worth mentioning in the article, then please add your inputs in the Comments section below.

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