Project Management Softwares
For people that have worked in industry - what project management softwares have you or your company used to manage product lifecycles? I think this will provide good insight for anyone who hasn't worked in industry. They can familiarize themselves with some of this software since it can contain a big learning curve.
Personally, I have experience using Agile and Adaptive
Basically these are two similar softwares and methodologies that some companies have that are used to manage the implementation of projects. The softwares are tweaked in accordance to what the company wants and its very useful as this is how Change Orders, Documentation Changes, Routings,and BOMs are changed and tracked. Another useful aspect of these softwares is that it is usually integrated with an ERP system that really automates a lot of back end information and task. For example, pulling data on certain information you need.
I never worked in industry, but for the Capstone class here in NJIT we used Microsoft Project in order to create an in depth schedule for our project. You're able to use this in several views such as a Gantt Chart, Network Diagram, or just a simple calendar. You can even enter data and define milestones to better see the development of the project as well as clearly view critical paths that must be satisfied before moving on with later sections of said project. Its a very good and organized tool that is used in industry as well, according to my professors. There even exists open source alternatives to this such as Projectlibre, but I personally never tried them.
I have experience working in the industry and my company uses Microsoft Project. Based on my past experiences, and in talking with others who work for my company, Microsoft Project is definitely one of the most popular softwares that is used in any industry where project management is needed (which is practically every industry). Microsoft Project, as it has been shown in some of this week’s lectures, has the ability to plan/manage milestones, tasks, resources, critical paths, slack, etc. One feature of the software that I have seen used at my company that I believe has a lot of benefit for bigger cross-functional projects is the ability to have separate individual Microsoft Project plans feed into one master plan. For example in the medical device industry there are multiple functions (R&D, QA, Regulatory, Marketing, Operations, etc.) working on the same project. Each function will have their own project plans if not multiple project plans, and the completion of each function’s task feed the overall “Master” project plan which dictates the completion of the entire project. Microsoft Project has the ability to have all of the cross-functional sub plans feed the master plan and update the master plan in real time. This is extremely beneficial in situations where all of the functions are not located in the same location / building. For the project I am currently working on the Operations Team is located in Spain, so this feature definitely helps the project leader manage the overall project timeline and progression with so many moving parts in different locations.
I will confirm that Microsoft Project is a great tool, with a variety of options. Another popular project management tool that may have also been used by some of my classmates is Asana, which is a web and mobile application. Asana comes in free and paid versions (the free version lacks customer service support and allows up to 15 members). Do any of you have any experience with it?
Asana is a fairly light program, and is simple and intuitive. It allows team and individual chats, agenda creation, and work requests. Tasks and notes, both timed and otherwise, can be created, and will be automatically added to the calendar. Lists and dashboards can be used to check for to-dos and monitor progress. A number of specific tools are available for things like product roadmaps, feedback, hiring, event planning, and account management.
For a software project, I would almost certainly use Agile, since its features lend themselves heavily to software development projects. For a large, long-term project, I would be inclined to use Microsoft Project. But for a relatively small, light project that could nonetheless use some structure, Asana is a great choice, and it's convenience (via mobile access) is hard to beat.
Personally within industry I have used Microsoft Project for creating project timelines. Microsoft Project's functionality to integrate with different functional teams is crucial for project planning and execution. One recent project I was working on dealt with lab validation and we had hired an outside contracting company to ensure proper installation, operational qualification, and performance qualification of the equipment used within the lab. Microsoft Project aided us in ensuring that everyone was on the same page as far as deadlines were concerned, so that we would be ready for the lab audit within time.
I never worked in the industry but for my senior design project, my teammates and I created a Gantt chart using Microsoft Project. This chart helped us organize our tasks all throughout the project time frame. We divided our tasks into four main categories: idea testing, product design, product development and product testing. Each one of these categories had subcategories of tasks that went into more detail as to what we would be doing during each phase and for how long we would be doing it in order to finish project on time. The software also allowed us to set a critical path for our project.
The only project managing software, I worked with was Microsoft Project for my capstone class. My group and I had to spread out our task because it takes time and multiple steps/stages to complete our project so we created the Gantt Chart from Microsoft Project. It made it easy for use to see what we had to complete in order to proceed to the next task/stage of our project. We had 4 stages Choose a Design, Procurements, Fabrication, and Testing phase. Within each stage, multiple task that were done on same time, while other had to be completed to go on to the next. It also showed us the critical path that were mandatory if we did not complete then our project would have delayed. Microsoft Project kept us on track.
I think hands down MP (Microsoft Project) is the most comprehensive and most popular PM (Project Management) software out there. It's a part of the Office Suite of software from Microsoft that easily integrates with other Office software. For example, you could have PowerPoint automatically pull data from MP - this way your slide show data is automatically updated for you. Several companies I've work for in a verity of industries all use MP.
However, in my opinion, MP is more suitable for large enterprises than for small business or groups. It has a lot to offer but at a cost. If you're not going to use a decent amount of its features, its just not worth it.
As Ibraheem Shaikh mentioned, Asana offers a great deal of features and it is free for small groups. I've used it in 2015 when I was involved in organizing an international summit and I use it now to help manage lay the foundations of a new startup. Asana is extremely simple to use - one of my current partners did not have any experience in project management and was able to figure out how to use Asana in less than an hour. I also love the fact that Asana has a mobile app that is just as easy to use as their website.
For anyone starting a small project or working in a small team or has a limited budget, I would recommend Asana.
PS Microsoft Teams is also pretty good for simple projects, even if you have a large team.
From my own experience and from most of the replies on this thread, Microsoft Project seems to be the most popular software. During my undergrad, and even working in the industry, I have found the software hard to come by, without being a manager.
After recently obtaining Microsoft Project, I learned that many of the features can be replicated in Excel. Project certainly has more intricate features related to management. But for smaller projects, Excel is perfectly sufficient with a little creativity.
I don't know much software but I have tried Asana which is a free project manager software. You don’t have to shuffle between spreadsheets, email, and other tools to keep your projects on course. it tracks and manages everything from day one to the deadline.