By Mark Engelberg, TimeLinx Software –
Every project needs to have a plan to run smoothly, but not everyone uses planning software. Why not? Project managers can leverage technology tools such as comprehensive planning software, but many don’t. Ignoring the availability of project planning software limits your business’s performance and sets you up for potential project performance disasters. Not only this, but your Business Intelligence, or BI, can be measured by how reliant you are on outdated methods such as spreadsheets or even sticky notes.
What is planning software?
Simply put, planning software organizes projects and resources into phases, making the work easier to track. Planning software helps you to avoid potential pitfalls, as well as increases client service excellence. It helps a business meet deadlines, stay within budget, and keep track of every change in project scope. Good planning software needs to integrate with your existing business and IT systems, if you have any. It should automate data flow to make project management more manageable and improve your BI*.
There are four types of planning software:
- Annual Planning: Annual planning software plans projects, objectives, roles, and activities for the coming year.
- Continuous Planning: This planning software is mainly used to update ongoing projects and activities. It keeps tabs on strategies, analyzes current demand, and adapts activities according to change, feedback, and present influences.
- Project Planning: It is the most used planning software by project managers and keeps track of the scope, risks, and resources it takes to deliver a project on time and within budget. It also manages changes and pushes notifications to all applicable team members.
- Portfolio Planning: This is a more extended scope planning software. Usually used to get a broader view on projects that influence the business outcomes that drive value faster, this solution looks at your business’s entire portfolio instead of individual projects. It is used to adjust budgets to deliver the best products, services, and customer experience.
Why do you need planning software?
Planning software is essential for both the long-term and short-term management of projects and business decision-making. Of course, you could rely on inflexible spreadsheets or even sticky notes to try and keep track of project changes and updates. It is advisable to remember that decision-makers and executives need line-of-sight on every project, even if your company is not a very large one. That is quite difficult to achieve when everyone on the project works independently, and there is no cohesion. Project and Service Management (PSM) solutions provide the cohesion needed to avoid pitfalls, adjust scope and budget as required, and provide excellent client service.
When would you use planning software?
Planning software can be used in all aspects of your business activities. Whether you are trying to juggle individual performance and input in a project, keep track of budget and scope, or avoid potential issues long-term or short-term, a good PSM software solution will keep you on track. The benefits of a comprehensive PSM or planning software solution are boundless. Anytime that resources, staff, time management, and tasks need to be collated, PSM software is your solution.
The correct planning software can do amazing things for your business processes. It can help you meet the Iron Triangle’s three constraints (see earlier article on budget, scope, and quality) seamlessly and without hassle. The only way to do this is to make use of comprehensive planning software solutions.
*In this usage, Business Intelligence analyzes how competent your company is leveraging software and services to transform integrated data into actionable insights.
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.