The development of new technologies has brought considerable changes in the traditional concept of project management. In fact, due to the development of new technologies the notion of project management in its traditional interpretation has been broadened substantially. At the same time, it is also obvious that project management is growing to be more and more important in the modern society since even the most advanced and sophisticated technologies are, in actuality, based on project management which is the major tool for planning, scheduling and realization of various programs. Nowadays, it is hardly possible to underestimate the role of project management because even such a widely known company as Microsoft pays a particular attention to the development of its project management.
In this respect, it should be said that Microsoft has successfully developed software that is destined to improve project management and its effectiveness with the help of special programs that target at the revealing existing drawbacks of project management and that can help to eliminate mistakes that have been already made in project management basically under the impact of ‘human factor’. It should be pointed out that traditionally project management software is quite a broad term that implies a variety of software which works for the same purpose of project management. To put it more precisely, the modern concept of project management software, including that of Microsoft, includes different types of software, such as scheduling, cost control, budget management, resource allocations, collaboration software and many others, which are used to deal with the complexity of large projects. At this point, it is necessary to clearly define the term project. Traditionally, project means “a temporary and one-time endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service, that brings about beneficial change or added value” (Suhanic, 2002:241).
In fact, project management is quite a complicated process, especially if it involves the use of software though, this process is mainly complicated for the developers of the software and not for the end-users. This means that traditionally, the creators of software that may be used in project management such as Microsoft Excel is quite simple to use, naturally, on the condition that the user have certain knowledge and sufficient experience to work with this software. As for the developers of this software, their job seems to be more complicated and needs more efforts to make the software really easy to use and comprehensible to ordinary users (Microsoft Project).
At the same time, it should be said that project management software should meet the basic goals of project management. To put it more precisely, it is extremely important that project management software could be used for scheduling. In fact, scheduling is one of the major tasks of project management. It should be pointed out that often while working on a project management users need to schedule a series of events that may be not an easy goal to achieve. In actuality, the extent to which the scheduling is a complicated task depends on the user of the software. In other words, it is very important to use software as effectively as possible in order to make scheduling easier and faster, though the complexity grows as the tasks, namely, schedules become more and more complicated.
Basically, it is possible to define several problems that a user may face while using software in the project management. First of all, it is necessary to take into consideration events which depend on one another in different ways or dependencies. Secondly, it is important to schedule people to work on, and resources required by, the various tasks commonly termed resource scheduling. Also, while using project management software users often deals with some uncertainties in the estimates of the duration of each task. At the same time, while developing a project, different tasks may have different deadlines. This is why it is extremely important to arrange all the tasks in a proper order in such a way that they perfectly meet their deadlines logically following each other. Finally, often it is necessary to deal with multiple projects simultaneously to meet a variety of requirements imposed to each of the project (Westney, 2004).
On developing a schedule of the project, it is necessary to focus on calculation of critical path. What is meant here is the fact that it is necessary to develop an effective way of the practical application of the schedules. It should be pointed out that often various schedules may be extremely complex and there will be a kind of critical path, i.e. a series of events that depends on each other, which should be taken into consideration in the project management. It should be said that the duration of this series of events actually determines the length of the entire project. At the same time, it is worthy of mention that some software applications, such as Dependency Structure Matrix solutions, can highlight these tasks (Westney, 2004). Obviously, this can contribute considerably to the optimization of the realization of the management project.
Furthermore, the use of management software project implies providing information about the project and its realization. In this respect, it should be said that this information is really important since it can help better understand the project at large and justify the time spent on it. Basically, project management software is supposed to provide information about tasks that are supposed to be fulfilled. This information should be provided to all people concerned, i.e. those who are supposed to realize the project and those who should control its realization. Also, the software should provide information on the time the tasks will take to complete that can help properly assess the time needed for the realization of the entire project. At the same time, it is extremely important to provide information concerning possible risks that the project may face. Obviously, it is highly recommended that all the information provided for the users was supported with evidences in order to make it more convincing and reliable. Also, it is necessary to remember about the provision of historical information about the project, its progress and the correlation between the planned and actual performance (Westney, 2004).
In such a way, it is possible to define the cycle of the project management which is based on the use of software. In general, it includes the creation of schedules of the project and its realization. Than it is necessary to develop effective ways of the realization of the project and control over it. And, finally, software should provide ample information about the realization of the project from the start till the end in order to properly assess the fulfillment of the project and the correspondence of the actual result to the planned one.
Finally, it should be said that project management software may be used in various ways. This means that it may be used by a single user, even at home, on the basis of software available to users and their current needs, but also it may be used by a large number of people to the extent that it is possible to use project management software on the basis of the web. In such a way, it is possible to involve a large number of people which may be physically situated in different parts of the world but work effectively on one and the same project and their cooperation may have positive results since the modern software and technologies provide ample opportunities to develop projects, create their schedules, realize and control them.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that in the modern world software provides new opportunities to develop project management and in the future its perspectives seem to be quite good. In fact, it is even possible to estimate that project management software will gradually replace traditional project management tools.
- Suhanic, G. (2002). Computer-Aided Project Management. New York: Random House.
- Westney, R. E. (2004). Computerized Management of Multiple Small Projects. New York: New Publishers.
- Microsoft Project. Retrieved June 18, 2007 from http://office.microsoft.com/project/