Projectmanagers have a challenging job in this changing environment. Flatterlayers of management, increased demand for new ideas and ways ofdoing things, and in general, more projects that need to be managedall increase the demand for good project managers (Gary & Larson,2014).
As more projects arise in quantity and complexity, it isimportant for project managers to have the right tools needed tomaintain visibility to their progress. It seems, over the past fewyears, that the increased technology has aided in creating moreversatile ways to help manage projects. Anyone can find a tool thatwill help them manage in a style that they understand. Uponreviewing the list of different software available to manageprojects, I unintentionally ended up trying out two of them. It wasgood to see such a drastic difference, however, between the firstone I chose to the second one. The first one I chose was hard to useand did not have the features I like to use for projects.
Thus I wenton to try a second one. The one I ended up settling on was 2-PlanProject Management. 2-Planwas fairly intuitive to start using.
Once in the tool, you can getstarted right away with setting up a project. Each work package hasthe ability to include the name of the work package, description, WBScode, milestones, type of plan and duration, resources andpredecessors. One of my favorite features so far is that the tool ismade to be easily manipulated to show all the data on the samescreen. I was able to set up my work space so I have the high levelstructure on one side and under that, the calendar with highlighteddates. In the middle, I can see my work package details (I can togglebetween that and the Gantt chart view). To the right, if I have oneof my work packages highlighted, I can see the details of that workpackage to include resource requirements, description, schedulinginformation, predecessors and any additional details I have added tothat work package. There are other great features that let you seeall of the work packages and their relationships as they tree up tothe high level project. This one is helpful in understanding whatwork is performed where in the overall project.
The other positivefeature of this tool is that it can track individual names requiredto perform the work. This would be very helpful when there are moreprojects in work and the project manager can easily show when and forhow long that person will be needed. Thelayout I got to is a great view of the whole project and can beeasily manipulated, but the trouble was in trying to figure out howto set that up.
Once that was set up, it was more easily manipulatedso I can toggle between different views or move sections around as Iwanted. Another feature that this tool has is the capability togenerate reports. However, I find the reports to be a bit lacking.The reports that are currently there show the progression of wherethe project is at compared to the plan but I think the way it isdisplayed makes it hard to see overall progress of the project: thereports show progress at the work package level. There does notappear to be a way to show the project status at a high level. Thiswould be a helpful report to show the customer or show the executiveswho don’t need to know how each segment is going.
Overall,this tool is simple to learn and simple to use and I think it wouldbe very beneficial to use for managing a project. The reports featureis very nice as makes it quick for the project manager to quicklyshow people (and to have easily at their disposal) where the projectis at as a whole with all of the work packages. Overall, a great toolthat I will probably use more and explore further.