Jul 4, 2011

Managing a project through whole life cycle – Quest for comprehensive, useful and valuable Project Management software

Project life cycles are ‘defined’ – they vary in different industries and even within a specific industry but in the end they are all defined. Some people document them meticulously while other think collective organizational experience in managing numerous projects have made project life cycle very much a part of organizational culture which everybody just get used to. I would not go into merits of documenting project life cycle right now as I am more interested in another aspect of leading a project through life cycle. 

The question is:

Which software helps in executing, leading and managing a project through whole life cycle?

Now I know there are dozens of PMIS (project management information system) available out there, however if you look at them closely (and use them) one rather shocking (almost disturbing) fact that comes out of this analysis is that how few of Project Management software actually help in managing a project through whole lifecycle – from initiation to planning to execution, through monitoring and controlling to final closure. If you include Costing, Invoicing, Project portal as well (which are almost essential for all projects) then your list of software supporting all this further shrinks.  The idea of having one platform with the help of which you manage whole project – right from the first day to the last – communicating with all stakeholders through it and managing all aspects of projects in this one place – is probably not so easy to actualize considering what software solutions we have in our hands. One obvious result of this problem is the situation where most of the organizations buy number of software to manage projects and then make those software talk to each other by developing interfaces and pasting it on them through tapes and patches. This again is not very preferable solution because interfaces being non-natural, data integration (and subsequently reporting) remain a perennial problem.

With this in mind, I intend to embark on a journey to find software solution that:

i) Will help us in managing a project through whole life cycle
ii) Comprehensively covers all (or most of ) the processes and procedures involved in a typical project execution
iii) Adds value to the project management through its data representation, reporting and analysis
iv) Is Useful. By useful, I mean software which has lesser time-to-deploy, is user-friendly and have simpler workflows.

This being my objective, I will lead you through my journey in the quest of such software in coming days (and weeks). Stay tuned!

Photo Credit: Stig Nygaard

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