Juggling a number of perfectly planned projects, tracking them from start to finish, saving time and costs, as well as improving team collaboration with an easy-to-use program? By now, it is widely known that project management software is a lifesaver when it comes to efficiency and productivity.
Not only is it the best tool for business, but it is a valuable asset many corporations turn to. In fact, the market research analysis predicts that the global online management software will steadily grow in the next four years and provide a stunning revenue of more than 1$ billion by 2020.
As we can notice, this is not just a passing trend, yet it is slowly becoming a crucial part of the industry and the essence of staying on top and ahead of competitors. Still, what is the secret behind the success of project management tools?
The key to proficiency is in clearly divided tasks and joint collaboration towards achieving the company's goals. Therefore, project scheduling plays a major role in organizing the projects for maximum efficiency and saving time in the process.
Scheduling & Project Management
Every project consists of several tasks and each of them has a deadline that has to be met in order for the project to be finished on time. However, thanks to modern technological advancements, most of the scheduling processes are now done over the internet. Generally, this is only one of the features of project management tools, and there are many software options that allow a business to create an optimal schedule.
That being said, the most useful tools for scheduling have a task list to allow users to schedule multiple chores and deadlines, which can only then be assigned to the team members. The beauty of the software is that you can have automatically generated updates and notifications sent to remind employees of any changes or if a task is overdue.
Although a software scheduling system really takes productivity to another level, there is room to add the extra touch of personalized contact and ensure an increase in efficiency. Since the managers are the link between organizing the corresponding tasks of different team members and managing the projects with the use of software tools, they are the ones responsible for the team's motivation.
Ways to Boost Productivity
Apart on trying to enhance productivity, modern organizations also strive to improve the corporate culture. The reason for it is because there is a strong relationship between the company's culture and performance.
Any type of positive reinforcement directly impacts productivity, so one must use any available tools to assure everyone feels like they are valued as an important part of the team. Even something as simple as a project calendar can be used as a morale-boosting tool, but it can't be done without a bit of quirkiness.
1. SpreadsheetsAlthough they were originally designed for a different purpose, spreadsheets are a quite popular tool of scheduling. This is one of the simplest methods, since there are numerous free templates to download. In addition, most programs include various calendar templates to save time when filling out the table. Of course, this service is free only with free software cloud-based systems.
Contrary to cloud-based programs, the ones fixed to a computer require finding a special way to share those files, hence the simplest option to do so is via emails. Nonetheless, it can be tricky if someone from the team wants to make a change since task duplication may occur with such basic technology.
Therefore, the most efficient option is making a schedule through cloud-based systems such as the Microsoft Office suit. Excel spreadsheets simplify the process with pre-made templates and real-time changes team members can insert.
Also, file sharing is enabled by platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive, but still, Excel remains efficient for the final version of a calendar because it can limit the collaboration and it won't consume time that can be devoted for more crucial business operations.
2. Online CalendarsAnother way to make a schedule is by using of online calendars. This more efficient way allows real-time collaboration and updates with any team member. Moreover, they are synchronized with computers and mobiles so that every member could receive updates on the go.
On the other hand, while team project calendars require permission to access and edit them, there is one more advantage to it. They can be also made separately from the team, as individual calendars. Meaning, the calendar can be designed for each member for completing a certain task and overseeing the work progress.
That being said, the most popular internet scheduling tool is Google Calendar. With the option to create multiple calendars and overview the crucial one at the moment, it is quite a beneficial way of organizing calendars, project due dates, and implementing milestones.
3. Gantt ChartsWhen we talk about efficiency, the most effective method of creating a calendar is with Gantt Charts. They outline all of the tasks in order and show them on a timescale. It allows organizations to project objectives and work on them in real-time.
These charts improve collaboration and allow employees to work on their tasks as a team with a well-developed project due date and milestones they planned together. The team members can see the notes, tasks durations, and compare the progress to the critical path to check if the project is running on time.
4. Critical Path Analysis & PERT ChartsFor critical and complex projects, the most powerful tool of scheduling and planning is by far with the use of Critical Path Analysis and PERT Charts. While the Grantt Charts are similar to PERT Charts in format, these two share another common feature. They are tools project management software solutions mostly use to create analytics and project related activities.
However, CPA is the best resource for preparing a schedule and for project planning. During this process, this method allows you to monitor and calculate the earliest and the latest start and finish time for tasks. Likewise, CPA calculates the critical path as well and estimates which tasks are more important to complete. Furthermore, it provides a greater insight into possible measures that could be taken if the project goes off its original course.
Benefits of a Project CalendarThere are numerous benefits of using a schedule in project management but the three essential points are:
- Reduced costs - As the projects are planned and executed on schedule, the chances of success are higher, so without additional project costs caused by delays or misunderstandings, the estimated budget stays consistent.
- Improved motivation - When making a "to do" lists for the team, completing milestones helps motivate project members to accomplish more tasks faster.
- Better collaboration - Once the project is scheduled and the notes are secured, team members will have to work together to fulfill their business goals. As they follow the same guidelines, they will work as a team to avoid confusions and finish tasks in a timely manner.