Tools of Project Management You Can Use as a Project Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 2, 2022 | Published November 30, 2021

Updated November 2, 2022

Published November 30, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Project Manager

In this video, we follow Gillian, a project manager for an agency in New York, as she shows you what a day in the life of a project manager is actually like, including work hours, work environment and job duties.

Project managers may continually work on multiple projects, requiring large teams of people and multiple leaders to make each project a success. You can use project management tools to create and assign tasks, communicate with coworkers, and share files. Understanding how project management tools work, including how to use them and why they're vital, is critical for successfully completing complex projects. In this article, we detail the tools project managers can use, explain their importance, and discuss useful project management software.

Tools of project management

Below are some key tools of project management you can use to complete projects successfully:

Gantt chart

A Gantt chart is a management tool that graphically depicts a project timeline by highlighting the major aspects of a project. These components typically contain project tasks with start and end dates, milestones, task dependencies, and resources. The chart also has the following distinguishing features:

  • It looks like a bar chart.

  • Its vertical axis displays a list of project tasks.

  • The horizontal axis shows a graphical representation of the time required to complete each task.

  • The horizontal axis bars are proportionate to the duration of each task.

  • The diagram depicts the relationships between the various components of a project.

The visual design of the chart can aid in displaying a project's work breakdown structure, which may involve dividing a team's tasks into parts that the project manager can monitor. The layout of the chart can make it easier to schedule projects and deploy resources. Because a single chart can depict the entire schedule, you can use it to set priorities by identifying which tasks require completion before others can begin. You can also use Gantt charts to detect non-critical jobs and downtime to improve project management.

Network diagram

A network diagram is a graphical representation of a project with connected arrows and boxes that describe the interdependence of the project's operations. Boxes or nodes may contain activity descriptions, and arrows show how the activities relate to one another. These diagrams are essential project management tools that you can use during the project planning phase. It's also called an Arrow diagram since it comprises many arrows that can connect different tasks and show precedence.

You may also use these arrows to highlight the interdependence of different project operations. Even if a new team member joins the project midway, you can refer them to the network diagram to help them understand the project immediately.

Critical path analysis

Critical path analysis (CPA) is a project management tool in which the project manager maps out all essential tasks required to complete a project. This may include determining the maximum and minimum amount of time required for each activity and the dependencies of each task on any others. CPA, also known as the critical path approach, involves setting realistic timelines and tracking project progress.

Project evaluation and review technique

The Project Evaluation and Review Technique, or PERT, is a type of network diagram tool that project managers can use to determine the critical route of the project. This technique simplifies the scheduling of large projects while producing realistic estimates of the length of each task. It's a type of network diagram that employs three kinds of estimations rather than just one. The first estimate, commonly known as T-O, assumes that the activity never stops and that all elements associated with the activity are favourable.

The second estimate, usually viewed as the most likely outcome, predicts that the activity may run into some problems during the execution phase. It can also provide some solutions to potential problems. The final estimate is the pessimistic one that assumes anything can go wrong and that some amount of damage is inevitable.

Work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure is a deliverable-oriented division of a project into smaller components used in project management and systems engineering. A work breakdown structure is an important tool that can divide the team's work into manageable parts. It displays a hierarchical breakdown of work activities used to determine the project's scope and to show all the project's deliverables.

Having these data available can allow the project managers and other stakeholders to comprehend the full details of the project. It can also help a team better understand what they're working to create.

Related: Create an Effective Work Plan for a Successful Project (With Template)

Project documentation

Project documentation is the process of capturing critical project facts and creating the paperwork required to implement it effectively. It's also a general phrase that refers to all documents produced during the project. These documents typically contain the most important details about the project and each team member's role. They're used to help avoid any misunderstandings about the project and prevent any disputes between stakeholders about its status or exp.

Read more: What Is Project Management? Definition, Steps, and Skills

What do project management tools do?

The tools of project management each have different functions, but most can help with the following:

  • Planning and scheduling: With tasks, subprojects, files, templates, workflows, and calendars, project management tools can help you plan and assign work in one location.

  • Communication: You may communicate with your team frequently when assigning tasks, providing comments, arranging dashboards, and verifying or approving changes using project management software. These tools typically offer more features than more traditional methods of office communication, such as emails and phone calls.

  • Documentation: Project management tools can help you find missing or obsolete information through editing, versioning, and storing files.

  • Evaluation: Through resource management and reporting, these tools can also help you measure a project's growth or assess a team's productivity.

Useful project management software

You can use the following project management software to access key project management tools:

Jira

Jira is agile project management software that development teams can use to organize, track, and deploy other software. Users can report bugs and other issues to inform the team of important changes needed, track results of implemented solutions, and deploy up-to-date software. Jira can connect with various other technologies, offering teams added flexibility in managing their projects. It's designed to help a software team collaborate to plan, track, and distribute high-quality software. Each team may have its own method for shipping software.

Related: Essential Project Manager Technical Skills

Asana

Asana is a project management application that allows you to create and assign duties, share links and images, and track deadlines. You may discuss projects and answer queries in a dedicated location using Asana's built-in communication capabilities. Because you can shift between list, panel, and calendar views in this free project management tool, each team member may monitor tasks in the method that works best for them. Asana also includes free integrations with over 100 additional apps.

Buildertrend

Buildertrend offers pre-sale tools, including a customer relationship management (CRM) system, bid requests, and project proposals. It can assist with creating plans, budgets, and timesheets. This program can also help construction professionals complete more projects while decreasing delays, minimizing communication problems, and enhancing client satisfaction. Buildertrend's feature set aims to optimize each part of the building process, from estimation, scheduling, and change order functions, to client communication and document management tools.

Backlog

Backlog makes it simple to view your team's projects because you can see each piece of work, even in massive projects. You may also use it to simplify scheduling with Gantt charts and track the work of collaborators with visual project management tools, like Kanban boards. Push alerts in the app can notify team members of task updates, and each task includes comprehensive threads to help with tracking progress. Backlog also features native mobile apps, allowing you to manage tasks from nearly any device.

Kissflow Project

Kissflow Project is an effective project management solution for functional project managers and those new to the field. It provides a comprehensive set of project management capabilities. Its user-friendly graphical user interface makes navigating this software easier for project managers. Custom forms, rule-based WIP restrictions, and personalized boards are all customizable according to your project's or organization's specific requirements. Kissflow also offers a comprehensive overview of each project member's current work in its user swimlane view.

Related: How to Understand Project Management Triple Constraint

Trello

Project managers can use Trello to track progress across different projects and teams using a simple card system. This project management tool lets you create multiple boards, each with its own set of team members and cards. One card may contain important information that's visible to all members of the team, and anyone can leave comments to provide updates on that card's topic. Trello also allows you to add a schedule or attachments to each card, and use customized labels to sort projects visually.

Please note that none of the products or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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