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Tips for Using Online Project Management Software

written by: Tara Duggan • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 10/31/2010

Project managers can use these tips for using online project management software when planning product development, assigning resources, scheduling activities and monitoring project status.

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    Introduction

    119px-Computer n screen.svg Online web-based project management services provide project management functions via the Internet. Project managers typically just need to sign up for a service, often free, and do not need to install any software. This type of collaboration tool allows project managers to set up projects, create tasks, assign people to task and track all activities. Online web-based project management systems usually require project managers to install some software in order to accomplish tasks. Both types of solutions (services and systems) typically feature calendars, administrative functions and social media tools such as wikis, blogs and forums.

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    Provide Different Views of Project Management Information

    Online project management software solutions save time and effort by automating many project management functions, providing at-a-glance views of project information so effective decisions can be made and helps manager publish schedules so that all team members know what work is expected of them and when it is due. Online project management software allows team collaboration by being easily accessible and providing up-to-date information, frequently delivered on mobile devices.

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    Maintain Descriptive Details

    Online project management software solutions usually provide the ability to add and describe a project. Once the project manager sets up the project details, he adds tasks and other information about the work required to complete the project in the time allotted. Reporting functions generally provide details on the project status such as the percentage complete, remaining tasks and overdue activities. Other functions typically allow a project manager to reassign tasks, alter dates and remove out-dated information. The project manager keeps people informed via email, with alerts triggered by activity in the project data.

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    Publish Project Details to a Central Repository

    Online project management software solutions allow project managers to publish information into a central repository. Executives can then prioritize and select projects aligned with company strategy. Project managers can use centralized resource management functions to manage people and supplies across multiple projects. They can also use schedule management functions to create and distribute deadlines, financial management functions to control budgets and team collaboration tools to connect team members who work on several different projects.

    Online project management software supports sophisticated business intelligence and reporting needs. Uploading project files to collaboration sites and synchronizing them ensures better coordination between project stakeholders and team members. Rather than relying on email or meetings to get information, all participants know where to go to get the most up-to-date status about the overall project and make decisions for their own tasks based on it.

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    Conclusion

    Online project management software solutions provide project managers with the functions required to plan, schedule and monitor project activities. Depending on the type of software selected (service or system) the project manager sets up the project details and customizes the default information to reflect the needs of the current project. Project managers should take advantage of the benefits and features offered by online project management tools and provide different views of information to different team members so that the data is timely and relevant.

    Online project management software makes it easy to maintain descriptive details. Online services and systems also make publishing to a centralized repository simple. Centralized data sources facilitate resource sharing and collaboration. Project managers can use these tips for using online services and systems to streamline project management tasks and improve reporting accuracy.

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    Reference and Image Credit

    • Image Credit: Computer and Screen (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Computer_n_screen.svg)
    • "Free Project Management Software – SoftwareProjects.org." Software Project Management For A Global, Mobile, Virtual And Multi-Cultural World. http://www.softwareprojects.org/free-project-management-software.htm (accessed October 30, 2010).