What Is Project Management Software?
A history of project management
Project management sprang from the world of engineering and construction. Large scale projects required not only architectural plans, but also the management to see those plans through to completion. Modern project management emerged in the 1950s, as computers began to make dealing with large amounts of information more feasible than in the pen-and-paper era.
The first two scientific project management techniques arose at that time. The Critical Path Method (CPM) was a joint venture of DuPont and Remington Rand, while the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) was developed by Booz Allen Hamilton to help Lockheed build nuclear missiles for the U.S. Navy. Since then, numerous schools of project management have sprung up, ranging from Agile to Lean to Extreme project management.
At its heart, project management seeks to answer the key question of "who does what by when?" (AKA Horstman's Law of Project Management).
Given the intertwined relationship between project management and high technology, it was natural to produce project management software to help manage and automate the project management process.
The 5 key functions of project management software
Any project management software has to support the five key functions of project management software:
• Resource Allocation
The software has to allow the project manager to lay out all the requirements and tasks.
The project manager needs to be able to specify when specific actions need to get done.
The software has to allow the project manager to assign specific tasks to specific team members.
As the project progresses and circumstances or plans change, the software has to help the project manager keep the relevant members of the team up to date.
The software needs to keep a record of what happened, both to resolve disagreements as well as to provide learnings for the future.
Using PBworks for project management
PBworks provides tools to handle all five of the key functions of project management:
PBworks provides wiki-style collaboration to allow the entire team to gather and collectively refine the requirements of the project. You can even convert text directly into scheduled, assigned tasks.
Each task can be assigned a specific due date; if that due date is missed, PBworks can send automated reminders to make sure nothing gets dropped.
Each task can be assigned to a specific team member. If a task needs to be reassigned, the new assignee has access to a complete activity stream for the task (documentation) to get up to speed.
PBworks automatically communicates any changes to the relevant people. If you assign a task, you get updates as the people responsible make updates. If you're assigned a task, you get notified of the assignment, and get automated reminders when it is due.
PBworks provides complete documentation, not just of the task activity (see the activity stream referenced in Resource Allocation), but also of work in progress and deliverables. PBworks records every edit and comment, and allows team members to review a complete history of the project.
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