Is Project Management Software Worth the Cost?
Department of Computer Science University of Management And Tecnology(UMT)Lahore, [email protected] of Computer Science University of Management And Tecnology(UMT)Lahore, [email protected]
Abstract— we have observed the revolution in our lives due to the software industry, as a result of which different project management tools have also come on the screen. Due to these tools, our project management practices have also been changed. This research is conducted to show that either those project management tools & software worth purchasing or not in terms of scope, time and resource management.
We selected some tools and tested them manually on all of the project management knowledge areas. After that, we surveyed different project managers from different industries and asked them that how the software tools have affected their project management practices. How these tools have accelerated the planning, control and management phases of their projects.
We have presented the results in tabular form which will be helpful for project managers to assess the tool according to their features. The result of the survey was very much positive as the project managers said that the tools contributed very much to the success of their projects.
Index Terms—Project Management, Software Reviews, Software Tools, Project Management Software Tools, Software Engineering, Time Management, Scope Management, Human Resource Management, Quality Management.
Project management is a domain which implemented in almost every industry, including Wholesale & Retail, Transportation & Communication, Publishing/Distribution, Public Administration, and Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Health, Finance Insurance & Banking, Engineering, Electricity Gas & Water, Education, Defense and many more. CITATION Whi02 l 1033 1 Software industry is also developing products to revolutionize and ease the human life. In the domain of project management, we have different software like Microsoft Project CITATION htt1 l 1033 2 and Primavera CITATION htt l 1033 3 to assist the project management. This research is conducted to demonstrate whether it is worth the cost to use those software or not.
How are the software tools affecting the project management practices and reducing the cost in terms of time and quality of work? We have searched out some software tools and specific domains of project management which can be considered for evaluating the software tools.
The second section of this paper tells us about the previous work on the topic. The third section of this research include the project management practices and approaches used in the industry. The fourth section describes the software tools developed for these project management practices. The fifth section includes the comparison of the software tools with the project management practices and up to which extent they are implemented. The sixth section is about the results of the survey conducted by project managers.
Very much work is already done on the topic previously in many different ways. Some of which is region specific and some of which is domain specific. Let’s discuss some of the work.
Before starting out on project management we should know about the domain CITATION Whi02 l 1033 1. There are different project management tools and techniques like Gantt chart and CPM CITATION Pee10 l 1033 4, and even quality management CITATION Mir14 l 1033 5 is a most important part of project management. Some of the researchers surveyed a specific industry in a specific region CITATION Fab10 l 1033 6 about the frequency of the tools used. As our topic is about the software tools CITATION Hal l 1033 7 assisting in project management, so we should also know about the tools available CITATION Alo13 l 1033 8. Some used pre-built models like AHP CITATION Ahm06 l 1033 9 for easing the selection process and some built their own CITATION Lou l 1033 10. One of them used a statistical method like ANOVA CITATION Pee10 l 1033 4. There is a research on Precertification of project management technique on a single university CITATION Nin15 l 1033 11. SME’s are also an important part of society and they also use the project management tools, a selection model is also built for them CITATION Riv10 l 1033 12. Distributed teams CITATION Jav10 l 1033 m Jul14 13, 14 and project leaders CITATION MAR08 l 1033 15 are an essential part of project management environment who should also know which tool is beneficial for them, open-source CITATION MAR11 l 1033 16 or paid CITATION Alo13 l 1033 8.
The above-discussed publications have either surveyed a specific industry, compared software manually, or have predicted a selection model. Our contribution is that we have compared tools manually and also surveyed people from different industries. Our results are divergent. They don’t restrict to a specific region or a specific industry. One more thing to be added is that our survey is based on the parameters of the project triangle, i.e. Scope, Time and Resources.
Project Management Practices and Approaches
There are several project management approaches which are used in the industry like Scope Management and Time Management. A brief description of all the knowledge areas CITATION Pee10 l 1033 m Pan074, 17 are as follows
Integration management describes the processes and activities which are related to each other. The practices used in Integration Management are Project selection, Return on Investment, Payback Period and Project Charter.
Processes that are responsible for controlling project scope are the encapsulation of scope management. The approaches used in Scope Management are Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Scope Statement, Quality Function Deployment, Change Request, Scope Change Control, Product Review, Performance Measurement and Lesson Learned.
Includes processes concerning the cost. Cost Management techniques include Cost Estimating Techniques, Earned Value Management, Cost Change Control System, and Performance Measurement.
The processes involved in assuring that the project will satisfy the objectives for which it was undertaken are described as Quality Management. Quality Management Includes Bene?t/Cost Analysis, ?owcharting, Cause-And-E?ect Diagram, Cost Of Quality, Pareto Diagram, Control Charts, Trend Analysis, Quality Audits, Benchmarking, And Statistical Sampling.
The processes concerning with the timely completion of the project comes under time management. The tools include Critical Path Management (CPM), Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT), Gantt charts, Simulation, Monte Carlo Analysis, Bu?er Management, Schedule Crashing, Milestone Charts, Variance Analysis.
Risk Management describes the processes concerned with project-related risk management. Risk Matrix, Monte Carlo Analysis, Decision Tree Analysis, Check List, SWOT Analysis, Delphi, Project Risk Audit, Earned Value Management are tools for risk management
Human resource management
Human Resource Management (HRM) includes all necessary processes for organizing and managing the project team. HRM includes Stakeholder Analysis, Responsibility Matrix, Team Building Activities, Reward and Recognition Systems, Organization Charts, Project Team Directory.
Communications Management describes the processes concerning communication mechanisms of a project, and relate to the timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage and ultimate disposition of project information. Communication Management tools use Stakeholder Analysis, Earned Value Management, Information Retrieval Systems.
Procurement Management includes all processes that deal with acquiring products and services needed to complete a project. Make-Or-Buy Analysis, Contract Type Selection, Statement of Work, Contract Change Control System, Source Selection and Bidder Conferences are used by Procurement Management approach.
Software Tools Available for Project Management
In this section, we have discussed different famous software tools available in the market.
JIRA combines issue tracking, agile project management, customizable workflow, and a pluggable integration framework to increase the velocity of the software development team. With JIRA, delivering quality software on time is easier. CITATION Alo13 l 1033 m htt28, 18Microsoft Project, developed by Microsoft, aims to offer project managers to develop project plans and requirements, assign employers tasks, and monitor the status of projects. Additionally, in MS Project, users are separated into groups based on their assigned tasks or positions. Hence, users can have different access levels to various project documents. With MS Project Server add-on, MS Project can be used via web easing collaboration. CITATION htt l 1033 3Primavera Project Planner (P3) is a non-web based management tool targeting big and complex projects. It is mostly used in engineering and construction businesses. Primavera was developed by Oracle. Other related applications like Project Portfolio Management were also released. With its secure access, P3 enables managing multiple projects in a multi-user environment.CITATION htt1 l 1033 2Assembla is an open-source, collaborative project management tool that is used for commercial purposes. It allows companies to hire its PM applications online, and thus helps companies to lessen their software development expenses. CITATION Hal l 1033 m htt3 7, 19OpenProj is an open-source desktop project management tool. A lot of features match with MS Project. The main difference from MS Project is that it is designed to address the needs of small teams. OpenProj is a Java-based, platform-independent application. CITATION Hal l 1033 7Planner Suite is an open source project management software intended as a complete desktop replacement for Microsoft Project, being able to open existing native Project files. It includes features such as WBS Scheduling, Gantt Schedule, Time and progress tracking, Utilization optimization, Portfolio overview, Resource allocation, Document management, Cost estimation, Expense management, Authorization, Invoicing, Earned Value and reports. CITATION Alo13 l 1033 8Comparison of Project Management Practices and Software Tools
Now according to the section III, we can see the comparison of different tools as section III explains the tools and techniques which are utilized in the industry by project managers, most of them have been implemented in different software but still, there is no one software which incorporates all of them.
These software’s can be used as they generate custom reports according to the needs of the project and just to find out the timeline of a bigger project, it will be very difficult to draw it manually, while a software can save much of our time.
Table I gives a brief comparison of the different software tools discussed above and the project management knowledge areas
Comparison of different Project Management Software Tools with PM Knowledge areas
Name Integration Management Scope Management Cost management Quality Management Time Management Risk Management HR Management Communications Management Procurement Management
: Not Available
We conducted an online survey involving project managers from different domains. The main focus of the survey was “How the budget, time & resources were managed and how the overall success/failure of the project was affected?”
We received 20 results globally as we used social media to collect the results. On the basis of following parameters we are going to analyze our results:
We asked the project managers if they have managed a project using a software tool or not or both, through their career. Out of which 8 had always used a project management software tool and 12 of them have managed projects using both techniques.
The details of the survey are depicted in Table II.
Survey results according to the parameters and usage of software tool
Time Management Budget Management Resource Management Overall Success/Failure Overall Cost
Using a project management software tool Much of the time was saved Budgeting process went very smooth Financial and time resources were managed well and human resource management was also improved Projects went successful Overall cost was reduced
Not using a project management software tool Projects were not able to follow timelines Due to a lot of paperwork, budget was very difficult to manage. All the resources were mismanaged Success was badly affected due to mismanagement and miscommunications The overall cost increased due to the flaws in resource management
According to some project managers, they felt a great difference in the performance of the organization when they used a project management software tool.
This research concludes that it is beneficial for any industry to use a software for project management as it will reduce the time which means reduced cost and ultimately beneficial to the project.
The survey proved very much beneficial as our research methodology. Some of the most used in industry are Primavera Project Planner, Microsoft Project, and Planner Suite. They provide the best budgeting, time and resources management techniques.
Future work of this research can include the quantitative analysis of project management software tools.
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