Planning Effectively for Projects with 5PM
The planning stage for a project is principally concerned with who in the team needs to do what activities to see the project reach its conclusion successfully and the project manager’s role in this is to provide a framework from which s/he can structure the necessary tasks and communicate that out to those involved. To work effectively, a project manager needs a suitable tool to help them organize their activities and resources. There are many project management software applications on the market and many organizations today are choosing from those that are available on demand, over the internet, giving them the benefits that their project information and documentation is held in a single central location, the application is available anywhere and any time provided there is an internet connection and most offer features to encourage team collaboration. 5pm is one such project management application that is proving popular, with a colorful and intuitive interface backed with some very useful functionality.
Once there is a clear understanding of the project objectives and outcomes, this can be re-stated as a set of related activities. Where individual activities are still quite complex, these should be broken down further to help reduce the complexity. Breaking down bigger or more complex activities into smaller lists of activities is known as a work breakdown structure and in 5pm these can be captured as sub-tasks within a parent task. These tasks in 5pm can also be shown on a timeline which is a useful, Gantt style view.
- For the tasks at the lowest level of your work breakdown structure, estimate for the longest path through the sequence of activities. Invariably, we tend to be optimistic so make sure you build in some slack!
- Build in experience gained from earlier projects to help make estimates more accurate
Once the structure of the tasks is known, resources need to be allocated to carry these out. The smart project manager will realize that this isn’t just about distributing the tasks amongst the team, but should focus on maximizing the skills and experience of team members and with some foresight, it is an opportunity to help team members further develop. 5pm lets you allocate team members to tasks and its functionality ensures all are kept up to date with status, through automatic notifications.
Once your project is planned and resources allocated, the focus changes to control, which is all about monitoring activities and progress of milestones and communications, which is key. Regular reports are invaluable and these are customizable within 5pm to suit the individual project needs, giving a solid all round project management solution.
5pm is available for use through a monthly subscription, with $18 to $175 per calendar month and comes with a 14 day fully functioned free trial. For more information and to sign up, please see: www.5pmweb.com.