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While good project management is important at all levels of business, growing organizations often reach a point where it is almost impossible to operate without effective project management guiding the operation. In the past, this kind of process was handled through relatively inefficient phone, email, and similarly limited sharing platforms. Of course, there was a time when all of these things revolutionized the business world themselves, but they, like their predecessors, have become outdated and insufficient for the modern world.
Technological progress hasn’t stopped, of course. However, there are more than enough tools and educational opportunities at the disposal of the modern project manager to keep up with the ever-changing, fast-moving landscape of business in the technological age.
Project Management Tools
Technological advances are all well and good, but the specific tools emerge from these advances that have changed the face of business. As a result, companies can now operate on scales previously impractical—or even impossible. Here are some of the tools that make this possible.
One of the essential aspects of project management is communication, of course, but beyond merely being able to communicate with someone, there is the matter of accessibility. In the past, if someone was not near a landline phone, they were essentially inaccessible. Email expanded communication reach, but it’s not always sufficient for time-sensitive issues.
These limitations can restrict the practical size of a team, as all the team members would have to be located in the same area to ensure anyone who was needed was accessible. Now, the ubiquitous coverage of interconnected devices—such as mobile phones—and the software to communicate with crystal clarity and the assistance of media where needed—such as sharing documents or videos instantly—makes the practical range much larger.
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Effectively tracking the budgetary aspect has long been one of the keys to success in business. In addition, the versatility of spreadsheets may be a boon to project management over the past few decades. Still, even cloud-based spreadsheet editing applications like Google Sheets or Office 365 lack the dedicated functionality to keep up with the growing demands of modern business.
From special formulas to linked accounting, modern applications make budget tracking more manageable and efficient. For example, many accounting software options allow users to issue an invoice with little more than a few clicks and can automatically associate a payment to a linked bank account with that invoice.
Time Tracking and Management
In a similar vein to budget tracking, today’s project management programs provide the means to track things like the time spent on a particular part of a project and more robust means of predicting how much time a task will take based on previous jobs.
Data Backup and Storage
When data started to move from a purely physical form to computer-based, the potential of technology in business was all-too clear to those who had once been forced to sift through filing cabinets to find what they needed.
These days, that convenience has expanded tenfold with the advent of cloud computing. Now it is not only possible to have your data stored in a computer system that allows for easy retrieval with a simple search, that data is also automatically backed up remotely, protecting you against unfortunate incidents that might once have wiped your data clean.
Additionally, that data is now accessible remotely and from various devices. Modern project management applications are adept at ensuring the security of your data and will typically have a robust permissions system so that you can limit who has access to what.
Investing in Project Management Technology
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Like many things in the world of business, it’s hard for smaller organisations to see the benefit of investing in things like project management systems. In truth, freelancers and very small companies may not get enough of a benefit to justify the cost of investment in the short term, but the larger an operation gets, the more critical project management becomes.
Keeping track of every aspect of a project—from budgeting to timekeeping, from communications to payroll—is so often the difference between a large project staying on track or going over budget and missing deadlines.
Of course, these project management tools are not just a way to keep your company from being overwhelmed; they are a tool for growth. A smart business will not take on more than it can handle and may not need to worry about being overwhelmed. But with a bit of investment in project management applications, what they can handle will be greatly increased, allowing the business to grow.
And, with the importance of project management becoming increasingly clear to businesses, being certified in this field is a highlight on any resume.