The software development life cycle is taking on new forms each day. New processes and technologies are bringing new ways of working to life, and these must be incorporated in the project management process. Managing a software project is not easy in itself, with so many things to plan, control and manage, both controllable and outside purview. To help managers do justice to the project there are a number of project management tools out there, each with its own idiosyncrasies. Often, just choosing the right tool becomes a challenge because managers and leaders are not sure what to look for. There are a number of things over and above the basics like tasks assignment, progress tracking etc. Here is a guide to help you select the right project management tool to suit your business and project lifecycles.
- Risk management: Risk is an integral part of a project, after all unforeseen situations do not come invited and affect all the associated elements of a project like delivery duration, progress, deadlines, budget, and participants. Managing the risk effectively can be the make or break for the business. Therefore it is important to have a risk management feature embedded in your project management software or tool.
- Resource Management: Getting the right person for the right job at the right time can boost delivery efficiencies considerably, but it is no easy task when done manually. PM tools must come embedded with resource management functions, not only to assign tasks to the team, but also track completion and calculate expenses of resourcing. Resource costs make up for a significant chunk of project costs and a tool that can help a manager track and control it, is a blessing.
- Interdependencies and critical paths: More often than not, a project consists of interrelated tasks, with the input of one depending on the output of the other. A task dependency function can help understand, track and manage these milestones, and dependencies.
- Collaboration: Today, project success depends a lot on how the team collaborated and communicated internally, especially since teams may be scattered across geographies and time zones. Therefore, a seamless collaboration tool is a must. Features such as sharing files and tasks, group chats, one-on-one chats, file sending, and tracking history of changes can go a long way in getting work done easy and fast.
- Baseline and Estimates: A baseline is an indicator of planning versus real-time scenarios. It helps the manager gauge whether the team is on track, from time to time. Automatic baselining can prove to be a boon for managers, enabling to carry out this critical task without any hiccups.
Project management tools provide ease and speed of operations when it comes to software development. Choosing the right one at the outset can help save the team a lot of headache, setting up the future projects for success.