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02/15/2010

Centralizing Project Information

This is part 5 of our "Why Project Management Software" series, examining the issues that organizations face that warrant a look at project management software.



In this post I want to examine the simple problem of either too much information, or project information that is scattered across the organization. In our age of information overload, it is no secret that we are bombarded by information day in and day out. However, I have also seen many instances where project leaders, managers, and executives do not have the information they need to effectively manage and make decisions on projects. This could be for a variety of reasons, but typically they include the following:


  • Information is dispersed throughout the organization, typically in various spreadsheets and project files.
  • Project schedule and task information is not located with other project information, such as key documents and issues.
  • There is no standard process for storing information.
  • There is no standard process for reporting on information.
  • Information that is reported is not timely because of the amount of time it takes to collect the information.


These can be serious issues because they directly effect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of an organization. They are also very, very common problems. This is the type of issue that a good project management system can help to solve. I say "help to solve" because a system will never solve anything in and of itself (as I have stated before). In fact, you could solve some of these issues by simply implementing some good processes and holding people accountable for those processes.

However, at some point, unless you are operating with only a couple of people in a garage (and maybe even then), a project management software system is worth the evaluation time because it can greatly help these issues.

One of the keys is to keep things simple and not to try and bite off too much right off the bat. Start off in phases. Identify what information really needs to be centralized. Don't centralize and manage information just because it has always been done or because you can. Make sure it will be used to make decisions and to manage.




Comments

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Ive reading lots of project management software article because I want to know how this works and what are its advantages and disadvantages. This article is a good help for me. Thanks.

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