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PM Tools for Excellence and Success — A List of Project Management Tools

By January 13, 2023No Comments

The global digital market calls for competition between companies to win projects with the goal of finding and keeping clientele, thus expanding. This goal of expansion requires project management tools. For these tools to work, project managers must have a firm grasp of when and how these tools are utilized.

Project management tools enable project managers to reign in the complex — and sometimes convoluted— nature of projects. A solid understanding of these tools is necessary for project managers to implement them successfully.

The following project management tools follow existing industry standards. Hands-on practice is recommended to learn the standard practices and utilize them appropriately.

PM Tools: How do you choose the right Project Management Tool?

There are so many tools available in the market today, that it’s no wonder project managers have a challenging time choosing the right PM tool. The expectation is for project managers to know a variety of PM tools. Also, they’re expected to know these PM tools well enough to know which tools fit the project the best.

Aspects that Determine Which PM Tools Are Necessary

Certain factors affect the need for specific PM tools. The most common factors include the following:

  • The nature of the general project
  • The needs of the customer
  • PM tools utilized by the company
  • Suited for the specific industry
  • Use of open source tools and particular requirements
  • Virtual or remote teams

The following sections provide a brief review of the most common factors. However, remember these factors are the most common, but other elements can come into play.

The Nature of the General Project

Project methodology defines the roadmap the project will use, making it the core of any project. Managing methodologies through the use of project management tools can define tasks and establish deliverables.

For example, if you’re integrating a predictive life cycle like the Waterfall Model within your project, you can opt for tools geared towards PM activities that support the predictive life cycle ( for instance, Primavera and Ms.Project). In contrast, if you are integrating a scrum project you’ll require PM tools that work with scrum methodology because scrum methodology calls for the following:

  • Team Velocity
  • User Stories
  • Sprints
  • Burnout Charts
  • Scrum Board
  • User Stories

You can choose from a number of project management tools that work specifically for such projects, like Jira.

The Needs of the Customer

There will be times when a customer requests a specific project management tool to complete the project. Some companies may even state the required tool they want used for project completion, stated in their Request for Proposal. A specific PM tool is typically requested by large enterprises who may outsource multiple projects to multiple vendors. By outsourcing projects to a variety of vendors so that the overall progress can be organized, monitored, and reviewed.

PM Tools Used By the Company

Consulting organizations provide highly specific services, therefore, they may have a set of tools built in (Project Management Information Systems).  These organizations use these PM tools to facilitate the adoption and integration of enterprise applications.

Suited for the Specific Industry

Based on their niche, some tools add more value than others depending on the specific industry they’re targeted to. These PM tools offer specific templates to help project managers. Primavera, for example, works especially well  for the construction industry.

Use of Open Source Tools and Particular Requirements

Many PM tools are available free of cost, which do not possess any license restrictions. These project management tools can save on costs. Due to a boom in open source communities, there are many open source PM tools to choose from. Because of their easy availability, project managers may want to consider these tools for use whenever applicable..

Virtual or Remote Teams

Project teams that are not in close proximity to each other should utilize the project management tool that supports the collaboration and global availability offered through web-based applications. As web trends grow, the expansion places more onus on team collaboration and communication, especially over the internet. Virtual teams operate in virtual workspaces that require specific PM management tools geared towards remote work. As a response, many vendors provide cloud-based solutions to accommodate the needs of virtual and remote teams.

Widely-Used PM Tools

By using the right set of tools, project managers may gain a variety of functions aside from their expected benefits. The functions of project management include the following:

  • Creating and delegating tasks
  • Scheduling
  • Managing Costs
  • Allocating Resources

  • Planning

  • Monitoring Progress
  • Reporting Status
  • Managing Risks and Issues

As a project manager, one of your most essential tasks is choosing which project management tool fits your needs and requirements the best. Making a choice is not easy, as there are many project management tools that have a good reputation for success and are highly regarded in their industry. Below are the highlights of the most commonly used project management tools.

PM Tool Option #1: Microsoft Project

Microsoft’s project management software program, Microsoft Project, assists in a variety of project management tasks. This program is designed to help project managers with scheduling, resource assignment, monitoring progress, workload analytics, and managing a budget. Consider enrolling in a Microsoft Project training  if you’re seeking to elevate your MS Project skills.

Schedule Creation

MS Projects simplifies creating a schedule. With MS Project, you create a project first. Within that project, you can easily create tasks and sub-tasks. By creating a tier of tasks, you can establish the work breakdown structure (WBS) of your project. Each WBS item allows you to define the duration and prerequisites.

Calendars can also be managed through MS Project, either at the project level or at the resource level. Additionally, you can define any of your resources. For example, your resources can be material, human, or equipment. MS Project also allows for various built-in templates, which gives project managers the freedom to change schedules to best fit their current project management needs.

Cost and Duration of the Project

Using MS Project, you can calculate costs based on the resources assigned and the tasks created. Thus, these cost calculations can offer a cumulative overview of the expected project budgets for each task.

After the costs are determined for each task, the overall cost and duration of the entire project can be assessed as a whole. When reflected at a higher level, viewing and assessing the viability of the project constraints becomes clearer. By letting a project manager view project constraints at such an expansive level, they can set the parameters in accordance with their scenarios.

Views for Project Managers

MS Project offers different views, enabling project managers and stakeholders to evaluate the project progression in a timely manner through task evaluation.

A project manager can determine the dependency among the tasks. Furthermore, project managers can see the overall duration of the project through the use of a Gantt Chart and Network Diagram. In addition, there are other views that can assist in identifying the allocation of resources. The Resource Sheet, Resource Graph, and Resource Usage enable project managers timely identification of resources.

Progression and Baselines

Microsoft Project’s most important feature is its ability to let a project manager create a schedule baseline. Using a schedule baseline, a project manager may make time and cost comparisons at a later stage. The schedule baseline lets project managers control more of the project, improving the chances for success.

Easy to Use

Most people are already familiar with Microsoft Software. Therefore, MS Projects can be used easily by anyone who knows how to use Microsoft software — which is most everyone.

Collaborating with Others

For every project, collaboration is the key for a seamless project completion. MS Project facilitates collaboration by allowing each member to quickly share files with other team members. Sharing files easily helps ensure that all members have current information and can synchronize their efforts.

Report Availability

MS Project provides a variety of reports to choose from. These reports can be generated at any point in the project timeline. Topics that these reports can be utilized for are resources, costs, schedules, and dashboards. Additionally, the MS Project reports can be customized and adapted to any unique needs.

PM Tool Option #2: Primavera

Another excellent project management tool used throughout the industry is Primavera, a product marketed by Oracle. Primavera contains a number of features that work well with project management, particularly for management, planning, and project monitoring and control. Used by planners, project and program managers, and schedulers, Primavera is a dependable option for project management.

The ideal project types for Primavera are larger scale projects, like aerospace, telecoms, and the civil sector. Planning, managing, and controlling big projects is much more manageable when using Primavera.

Features of Primavera

Primavera excels at defining project schedules for project managers. The program seamlessly breaks down projects and activities.

With Primavera, defining and assigning resources is simple. This program enables the user to set task prerequisites, including for sub-tasks. Primavera also allows the user to set milestones, constraints, and dependencies for tasks.

Additionally, Primavera includes the following features:

  • Improved document support
  • Ability to search multiple columns
  • Customization of column names
  • Provision of a default web page configuration
  • Enhanced collaboration between users
  • Capability import and export

The features offered by Primavera offer granular control over global data. Participating parties may include the supplier, contractor, and subcontractor. The imported data allows for effective collaborations amongst a variety of participants.

One standout feature of Primavera is its cut over date. This feature enables efficient forecasting linked with WBS’s, assignments, or to-do’s. Furthermore, progress update and monitoring are must-use project management functions.

Another vital function executed excellently by Primavera is baselining. This project management tool helps you easily spot the differences between project baselines. Lastly, Primavera assists with identifying the project’s critical path.

PM Tool Option #3: Other Online Project Management Tools

The project management tools mentioned above are well-known PM tools, but there are also a number of advanced online solutions along with other simplified tools. What makes these tools worthwhile is their varying price points, depending on the users and scale of the need. Online tools may also have this benefit of being free. The following are a few examples of project management tool alternatives:

Jira

Agile Project Management efforts are ideal for Jira. Jira is a potent project management tool for agile projects.

Jira’s strengths include all the features necessary to manage agile projects well. Features like creating and projecting stories, creating a sprint backlog and product backlog. Through its ability to define estimates for stories using user points, Jira can identify the speed of the team’s progress.

The program’s collaboration system works by linking activities, tools, and colleagues, enabling integration and collaboration. Teams using Jira find that the program excels at capturing and organizing issues and assigning work.

GitScrum

GitScrum is designed specifically for project management, making it a powerful project management software tool.

GitHub is linked directly to GitScrum, therefore its approach is agile. This makes GitScrum preferable agile projects. Suitable for business and large organizations, GitScrum is ideal for projects that are delivered continuously. GitScrum includes a Kanban board feature, allowing you to define specific tasks. These tasks can be moved from column to column to better reflect your project’s progress.

A highlighted feature of GitScrum is that it allows you to define workflows in your preferred method to better manage your team.  GitScrum also performs well when utilized for user stories, product backlogs, issue management, and sprints.

Trello

If you’re seeking a task management app for project management, Trello offers a visual overview of what tasks are being worked on and who is assigned. Like GitScrum, Trello uses a Kanban Board system. Special features of this project management tool are:

  • Card : A basic and fundamental core of a project, like a software bug, research items, or element of a project.
  • Board: A product or task that is currently under development or worked on.
  • List: Divides a board into select categories. The list typically reflects a stage of the project.

Cards are moveable and have the ability to travel between lists on the board as the project moves forward. You can also include images, files, comments, and tag colored labels onto the cards. Furthermore, you can also divide assignments among members using cards.

Asana

Unlike the above project management tools, Asana utilizes a more task-oriented focus. This task-oriented approach is a good choice for projects that include an extremely rigorous process. Perfect for streamlined teams, Asana is ideal for small-team projects.  Additionally, you can utilize Asana to organize work and share projects. The shared project can be smaller portions of the larger projects, which can be subdivided into smaller tasks.

Lastly, these smaller tasks can be assigned to owners who are accountable for completing these tasks. Because Asana uses the board, stages of the tasks can be monitored by introducing workflows.

Project Management Tool: Using Project Management Templates

During the course of managing a project, it may take more than a project management software to fulfill all the requirements of the project. Often, project managers must utilize different tools to accomplish various project management processes. Therefore, PMI calls for using the appropriate tools for the requirements of the management process area.

Organizations may focus their knowledge systems using historical records. They may also develop templates and guidelines to use the historical records appropriately and effectively. The templates and guidelines allow management teams to create and use project artifacts in a way that moves the project forward. Additionally, using these templates synchronizes the organization and fulfills any requirements unique to that organization.

One other primary advantage for these organizational templates is that the project team can hone in on content generation instead of rebuilding templates and starting over with each project. However, it’s vital that these templates go through continuous review and improvement. The project manager must review and identify any possible template improvements, and make the changes accordingly.

Also, project management functions are supported using these organizational templates. The first step for any activity should be to check if templates are available within the organization or throughout the network. Thus, you will save time and effort instead of starting from scratch. For example, instead of developing your own risk management template, assess whether such a template already exists for your organization.

Furthermore, many project management networks benefit from sharing such templates with each other. Thus, you can obtain templates from others and modify the template to meet the requirements of the organization and the project. Throughout project management networks exist a variety of templates, along with different methodologies. It’s always up to the project manager and team to choose the best option for the project.

Available Templates

The following are a list of common project management templates:

  • Risk Register Template
  • Configuration Plan Template
  • Project Charter Template
  • Work Breakdown Structure / Schedule Template
  • Status Report Template
  • Assumption Log Template
  • Communication Plan Template
  • Project Plan Template
  • Stakeholder Register Template

The above templates can be found in many different file formats, though the user must ensure that the format aligns with the project needs.  Be sure to include the file format you want when searching for the above templates online.  There should be many free template options with a quick search in Google or Bing.

Project Management Tool: Local Records Using Microsoft Office

Project managers often document logs, budgets, etc. in Excel. Project Managers working on small or midsize projects can use basic Microsoft Excel to plan and monitor their projects as this is a streamlined spreadsheet for  project management.

Because Microsoft Office is widely available, this project management tool can be easily used by project managers and their teams.

Furthermore, Microsoft Office applications such as MS Excel and MS Word can also fulfill various project management tasks. One advantage of such tools is that reports can be easily created and can be utilized as a management dashboard.

Project Management Tool: The Conclusion

In this article, we’ve offered you information regarding a variety of project management tool options. Our goal is to offer you vital information on aspects of the different available project management tools. We hope that you’ll find this article useful for your project management endeavors.

Have you led projects and are looking to earn a project management certification?  You might be interested in learning about how lucrative this can be.  Check out these articles.

Should You Become PMP Certified? – Here’s Why Becoming A Certified Project Management Professional Can Boost Your Career

13 PMP Benefits Once You Get The PMP Certification

No experience leading projects but still want to get into project management?  No problem!  Check out these articles.  

CAPM Certification Eligibility

What is a Certified Project Manager; How do I get PM Certifications

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- Cameron

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Teaches the PMP in a solid manner, some things you need to know as a potential consumer: -The Samurai backstory is extremely short, and didn’t really assist me with recall in any in-depth way. It only gave broad brush-strokes as to what each phase entailed. -MOST of what was on the test was covered in the lessons, however if I had zero real prior PM knowledge prior to the test, I would have failed. -The first practice test forces you, as the student to actually read into the PMBOK, which was a benefit in the long run as it assisted me with quickly referencing what I needed to find. -The course will likely cover wave tops and subjects, forcing me to self-study for a week before my test... not a bad deal all things considered. -Brain Sensei’s course has incorporated Agile into one of their practice tests, and this test IS mandatory. This may seem strange, and I didn’t get a satisfactory reason why I needed to take a purely Agile test when I only wanted to take the PMP, for anyone else in this scenario, this is the reason: In June, PMI is revamping the PMP test to include Agile as a significant portion of the PMP. Brain Sensei is just ahead of the curve trying to get students prepared... fret not. Their customer service is extremely responsive and does take care of their members. My program had a couple bugs, and the customer service fixed my problems within 24 hours. All in all... it was absolutely worth the money for me.

- Kevin

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I am very impressed with this learning system. The content is laid out in a way that will make any learner understand all the process groups and ITTOs in order to understand Project management and be equipped to excel in the test. The learning system is engaging and fun at the same time. It's very different than other learning material which is composed mostly of videos. Some improvements are needed, but in my opinion Brain Sensei is great value for money

- said durra

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At first, I was attracted to Brain Sensei training for their original learning program using a Samurai's story. And indeed it made the whole learning experience funnier - so easier. I felt like the Samurai. Then, I was amazed by The Brain Sensei Team's reactivity and help when I reached out through contact@brainsensei.com Their support was constantly reliable and efficient. I appreciated their professionalism and didn't feel on my own. At last, the course and the practice exams proved to be efficient since I passed the PMP exam - with 'Above Targe't in all Domains. So thank you so much Brain Sensei Team !! Charlene

- Charlene LU

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Overall very good. Got stuck a few times trying to find resources which I should have downloaded the before starting the program. Customer service has been great.

- Jonathan Williams

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SO far I am thoroughly enjoying the Brain Sensei PMP prep course. I have taken a Project management class as a part of my degree which I recently completed and project management has always interested me. I find the course to be educational and easy to follow. I am grateful that this course has been designed in such a way that is simple to understand all of the complexities in project management and that allows me to study at my own pace.

- Eric Browne

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The content is good and easy to understand

- Glenn

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This review is based on completing all course work through module 102. The story and interactive nature of the course are helpful for learning and relating the material. It would be nice to have the page numbers to the PMBOK guide where references are made to it. Other information that will be helpful, are the explanations to the practice questions at the end of each module. These are provided only after immediately answering the questions. Having these available in the score summary from the 'history' tab will be helpful to refresh why the answer is correct and other options are not.

- Rohan Punit

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Overall I would rate this course an 8/10. I liked how there were exams towards the end of every module and I felt that it was very useful having it laid out in different scenarios. I rate it only an 8/10 as I had some glitch/software issues and lost my progress resulting in me having to re-do modules/exams multiple times. All in all, that was maybe useful in the end as it was a way for me study or 're-learn' the course material. Thank you!

- Nikki Cordy

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Clear and precise explanations of how things work. I was never lost navigating the course.

- Gary Nicol

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A smart approach to present the information which makes it fun and engaging while at the same time preparing for the PMP exam. Brain Sensei differentiates itself from other PMP exam preps in that it delivers the knowledge through the use of storytelling technique. I recommend this course because it will help you pass your PMP exam on the first try.

- Jamal

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Loved the story telling and the practice exams. I felt very prepared when the actual exam came around.

- Josh

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One of a kind training that was truly engaging!

- Claire

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Excellent course for preparing for the PMP exam in a fun and engaging way! The practice questions resemble the actual questions on the exam making it a completely worthwhile experience.

- Rossetta

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I passed the PMP exam after taking Brain Sensei's Online PMP Certification Exam Prep. The practice exam questions were so similar to the questions that appeared on the exam. On exam day, when I sat down to take the test and started running through the questions I felt so relieved! The practice exams are also timed so you get more comfortable with the exam experience and feel better prepared when you sit down to take the test. The other differentiator was the video content throughout the modules. The concepts are taught through a story of a young samurai defending her kingdom. This will probably be the only PMP prep course where you can learn all the knowledge areas and feudal Japan at the same time. I'd recommend this course not just because of the videos but because it helped me pass my exam on the first try.

- Jackie

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Good course, but a few grammatical errors with how some questions were worded.

- Sonia

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It was good!

- Sergei

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Loved the unique approach and it still had all the info I'd expect from a full PMP exam prep course. Very responsive on questions too.

- Chris