Project management is a complex process no matter what industry you might be in. From marketing to manufacturing to reselling, managing projects correctly throughout their lifecycle is not only essential, but vital for the wellbeing of the company itself. Few companies today have the financial footing to handle failed projects. For project managers, it's more important than ever before to complete projects on time, on (or under) budget and with the results expected. However, it's become more difficult to do that. Enter specialized management tools - these apps and solutions offer project managers a wealth of important benefits and advantages.Industry-Specific or General Project Management Tools
For project managers looking into management tools available to them, there will be several choices that must be made. One of the first will be whether to use industry-specific tools or general tools. Both can offer advantages, but they're not quite the same. Most of the time, these tools take the form of apps (PC/Mac/smartphone/tablet/etc.). Basic apps (those designed for general, across-the-board use), usually offer basic functionality that allows you to track things like team performance, individual team members, overall success, time tracking, invoice/costs and more.
Industry specific management tools will offer tools more closely aligned with your specific industry and needs, rather than just general management solutions. For instance, apps designed for the web design industry might offer site navigation plotting tools, checklists for website creation and other features that speak directly to the requirements of your specific project, rather than those that apply to project management in general.
Integration with Other Solutions
These days, having access to additional project management tools directly through the apps you use on a daily basis is important. For instance, you might utilize Basecamp, or perhaps you use Project Server 2013 or something similar. You'll find a wealth of apps and other tools that allow you to tie directly into those larger solutions through a different interface (one which can be accessed on the go from your smartphone or tablet in many cases).
The beauty of this is that you are able to manage every aspect of a project no matter where you might be. Suppose you are on a business trip to the other side of the country, and you need to find out what Bob's productivity and output has been. Using one of the plethora of management tools out there, you can log directly into the system, check Bob's progress, make notes and take other actions. That applies to virtually every aspect of project management, from managing team members to financials to project life-cycle and gauging results on an ongoing basis (you can find examples of these apps right here).
Integration and Immediate Access
Today, it's more important than ever before for project managers to have access to all the information they require instantly, as well as for them to be completely connected to different areas of the business (supply, customer feedback, etc.). Moreover, with the shift toward lean management and lean manufacturing, it's now more important than ever for tools to help managers get an in-depth, accurate, immediate look at the entire business to ensure accurate forecasting, initiation, planning and ongoing management of important projects.
Once upon a time, it was possible to manage projects without worrying too much about social aspects. However, for an increasing number of project managers, that is no longer the case. This is particularly true where brand recognition, customer satisfaction and reputation management are concerned (all very important considerations in the modern world).
Thankfully, there are new, powerful tools that offer full integration with the social web (as opposed to just social networks or social bookmarking sites). The social web is an incredibly important part of project management today, and you'll find a number of tools that enable you to achieve multiple goals, from monitoring online conversations to creating tasks that can be modified in a social team environment.