The Best Project Management Tools in 2016

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A career in project management has proven to be one of the more recession-proof career paths, as 15.7 million project management positions will be created globally by 2020 according to the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Talent Gap Report. Two factors are particularly important when analyzing the value of project management as a career: unemployment in the United States is over 12% for those under 29, and 44% of college graduates in their 20s feel they are stuck in “low-wage, dead-end jobs” according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Students looking to position themselves to be attractive to future employers would be well advised to pursue studies in project management and learn the foundational skills needed for this career.

A Project Manager’s Responsibilities

Once in the workplace, one of the primary responsibilities of any project manager is to juggle multiple protects and all of their component tasks, often with competing deadlines and priorities, and deliver them on time and on budget. Information needs to be documented, deadlines plotted, files shared, and team members need to be in regular communication with each other – all in a central hub. Once this information outgrows email and spreadsheets and teams get serious about their process, it’s best to look to project management tools.

A Project Manager’s Tools

Today’s project management tools are collaborative, web-based, and real-time workspaces. More than just assigning tasks, they allow project managers to have visibility into every detail of the lifecycle of their project. And with the growing prevalence of remote working arrangements and dispersed teams, having a high-level overview of how every task and subtask is tracking towards the project’s milestones is essential to their delivery.

Here are some of the more commonly used tools for project management today:

Communication

As PCMag notes, Slack is ubiquitous in the office, thanks to its ease of use and ability to organize and archive conversations between team members. You can create client or project-specific channels (their equivalent to chat rooms), share files, and invite or exclude team members depending on the sensitivity of the conversation. Skype is similarly useful for the same reasons.

File Sharing

Many project management tools come with some kind of document repository, but storage-specific solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive allow for concurrent access, editing, and collaboration. You can even access your files on the go from your smartphone – perfect for when you receive a late-night email from a client, or have the project manager’s equivalent of “Did I remember to turn off the stove?” panic.

Project Planning

According to PCMag, there are many project management software suites that, depending on your team’s needs and budget, may be a good fit. But for its ease of use and economic pricing, Basecamp is one of the more popular options available. Collaborate with your team members, share files, track to-do lists, schedule tasks, subtasks, and milestones, and receive real-time reporting and notification of any changes, all in a friendly web-based interface that’s also accessible from a mobile app.

To learn more about careers in project management and how an MBA degree can help you as you pursue them, visit Maryville University online..

References:

http://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/business-solutions/project-management-skills-gap-report.pdf
https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/current_issues/ci20-1.pdf
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2380448,00.asp

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