Most organisations will have multiple projects in flight – from small projects to organise new processes & systems to large scale transformation projects like opening a new site or implementing a new product. The success of these projects will depend on multiple stakeholders working in unison to complete the initiative. Some projects can take months or even years to complete and require extensive planning and collaboration across teams & external contractors to complete the work. There are complex timelines to map, budgets to plan, risks to manage and a whole host of dependencies that need to be considered that could prevent the project moving onto the next stage.
The extensive planning and effective communication needed to run these large complex projects can be difficult to manage using traditional processes like spreadsheets, emails, and progress update meetings. Many organisations are turning to best-practice project management platforms to streamline project management, share information, and easily track progress.
In this blog we will share:
- The advantages of using a purpose-built project management solution.
- The functionality offered by the latest project & portfolio management tools.
- How to manage multiple stakeholders and enhance communication when collaborating on projects.
- The benefits of mapping your risk register & compliance obligations to project requirements.
What is a project management platform?
A project management platform or tool is essentially a piece of software that helps organisations to map out a project plan from start to finish. This includes defining what is in scope for the project, scheduling and timeline planning, cost & budget management, and managing any associated risks. Large scale projects are broken down into smaller programmes, tasks, and actions and allocated out across the business. Key deadlines, budgets, and owners are captured for each stage of the project.
Once the project is planned out within the platform, automated workflows ensure that when a task is completed, the next stakeholder is notified so the project can move to the next stage. Any spend can be logged at each phase of the project. As each task or action is completed, the relevant owner will log the completion in the system – enabling stakeholders to view an up-to-date project status report at any time.
These tools enable teams to upload meeting notes, share ideas supporting a collaborative approach and opening up the lines of communications amongst teams.
Here we explore 10 advantages of using a best-practice tool to manage projects:
- They increase efficiency & productivity: Project management software can help users manage portfolios and projects more efficiently by breaking them down into smaller manageable tasks & actions – making it easier to track progress, assign responsibility, and communicate with teams.
- Improved collaboration: Project management software allows teams to collaborate on projects, sharing updates, files, and information with each other easily and ensuring ownership.
- Optimised schedule planning: Project management software allows users to keep track of project timelines, milestones, and deadlines. This can help keep projects on track and ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them and by when, ensuring important milestones are not missed.
- Visibility into project progress: Project management software can provide users with real-time insights into the progress of their projects, including the ability to view project dashboards, timelines, and reports.
- Centralises project information: Project management software can help to centralise information, such as project plans, documents, meeting notes, and collaboration forums – making it easier for teams to find the information they need quickly.
- Ensures Governance: Project management tools ensure information is captured in a consistent format adding a layer of governance & structure – making projects easily comparable.
- Provides financial oversight: Use the tool to map budget plans, track estimates, get budget approvals, log expenditure, generate forecasts, and capture unforeseen costs. Log purchase orders and invoices to reconcile expenditure throughout the project lifecycle, with everything date-and-time stamped.
- Resource management: Track the resources and time spent on specific areas of a project, enabling leaders to plan accordingly.
- Manage project Risk: Some project management platforms allow you to track and manage project risk as part of your wider ERM programme, ensuring risks are addressed before they have a detrimental impact on the delivery of the overall project.
- Prioritise projects & resources: When an organisations critical projects are managed in one solution, leaders can easily prioritise projects ensuring the most critical ones are given the resources & budget they need to ensure success.
Managing multiple stakeholders
The successful delivery of projects is underpinned by a variety of stakeholders – both internal and external. For example, projects sometimes require the support of a third-party contractor, such as builders for construction and maintenance projects or managed service providers for digital transformation projects – adding a layer of complexity to the project management process.
The ability to set up workflows for specific stages of a project is particularly useful when multiple stakeholders are involved. Specialist project management tools can be used to implement workflows that send automated notifications when specific tasks are completed, or the required approval has been authorised. This allows each stakeholder to commence their task without delay – driving efficiency.
Enhanced data sharing and communication
Project management software facilitates efficient data sharing across teams and stakeholders. This single-pane-of-glass view allows stakeholders to track the progress of each stage of the project via an intuitive dashboard – making it easy to understand the role they play in the project management process. Laborious progress meetings subsequently become unnecessary due to the oversight provided by the software.
Empowered by valuable insights at the touch of a button, leaders can manage projects more efficiently, eliminating the need to chase staff for status updates. This provides the structure and understanding required to achieve a holistic approach to project management that’s driven from the top-down and implemented from the bottom-up throughout the project lifecycle.
Project management software supports collaboration across teams and departments, ensuring consistent processes are implemented. Real-time dashboards & reports can be viewed by all stakeholders at any time allowing progress reports to be produced instantaneously for individual tasks to guide the allocation of resources & budgets across multiple projects making it easy to balance workload & expenditure.
Improved Governance, Risk and Compliance
Mature organisations use project management software that is augmented by governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) capabilities, strategy planning, and incident management tools – added functionality that offers several benefits when integrated:
- Software solutions that offer both risk management & project management in the same platform ensure project-related risks are added to the risk register and tracked. Controls can be established to flag risks using key risk indicators (KRIs) and tolerances.
- Software solutions that incorporate GRC capabilities consider the compliance requirements of all projects. These requirements can be linked to the obligations register, allowing necessary adjustments to be made when a relevant regulation that could impact the project changes or is created.
- Organisations that harness strategy management tools can link projects to their overall strategy and use mapping to understand their ability to achieve organisational goals.
- Best-practice incident management tools can be used in conjunction with project management software. This enables all project-related incidents to be logged and managed through to resolution – including automated alerts ensuring relevant stakeholders are notified immediately. Root cause analysis can also be conducted to understand how an incident happened and proactive measures can be implemented to mitigate future risks.
Embracing project management software
The scope for project management tools to ensure the delivery of successful projects is leading to their rapid adoption – consigning antiquated manual processes to the past. Their ability to enhance the implementation of key projects & initiatives through automation is helping organisations deliver critical – and complex – projects on time by establishing a structured framework that fosters effective collaboration and facilitates transparent information sharing amongst teams.
To find out how the Camms project management tool can add structure and ownership to your project & portfolio management process, request a demo.