Within the field of project management, there are several different tools that are available for managers to effectively complete project management tasks. Given the nature of the field, I highly prefer using tools that are able to track scheduling, task completion, budgeting and other various resources necessary to complete the project. For most users, Microsoft has already developed a strong core group of programs that are able to perform many of these tasks using templates or easily customizable project designs and spreadsheets. Fortunately, Microsoft Excel has numerous templates designed for planners and managers to create project plans, budgets, resources and conduct a series of analyses on these factors (Campbell, 2010). For beginning Excel users, it is highly recommended to open a new template that already has customizable formatting and formulas in place to adjust the template to the needs of the project manager. However, advanced Excel users are able to implement a series of complex formulas to increase the analytical use of spreadsheets to increase the useful nature for project managers and planners.
While spreadsheets are extremely useful within the field of project management, Microsoft Project is another important tool designed for improving upon the scheduling functionality for project managers. This tool is able to not only budget human resources and scheduling specific individuals to complete specific tasks, but it can also effectively place a time frame and scheduling on the individual project tasks and actionable items necessary for completion (Project management, 2010). Although this tool can be very beneficial in project management, I would highly recommend individuals to spend time examining the software and the tools available in Microsoft Project as they can be very difficult to pick up and begin working immediately. This is not to say that it cannot be used by novices, but there are many other software scheduling programs available for project managers that can be used much easier and effectively than that of Microsoft Project.
Two of these other software tools that are available for project managers are Condendi and Redmine. Each of these software programs is able to conduct similar functions as Microsoft Excel and Project, but in much different ways. Condendi is a software program created by Xerox that is most useful for software management and code alteration projects (Gite, 2009). This program uses a unified interface to analyze coding, track required tasks and deliverables along with direct reporting from the source data within the system. However, this is a very specific software program designed for a technological use as opposed to being generically utilized for overall project management tasks – although, it could be tailored to do so if required. Finally, Redmine is a very popular web-based project management application that can be combined with other software programs, databases and platforms including additional functionality to report and develop graphs and charts for visual representation of scheduling and project task completion (Gite, 2009). Redmine is much more user-friendly than Condendi and has the added bonus of a detailed FAQ designed for beginners and advanced users. Unlike Microsoft Project, Redmine can easily be picked up by anyone and begin using right away.
Given the choice, I would much rather use Microsoft Excel to complete all of my project management tasks. Microsoft Excel has its limitations, but for advanced users we can find workarounds for any issue. Excel is able to enter, track and analyze data using simple and complex formulas to answer any question about scheduling, resources and task management. Furthermore, Excel is easily customizable to transfer data to charts and graphs similar to those produced by Redmine with the same readability quality. If a project manager is less skilled using Microsoft Excel, he or she certainly cannot go wrong with Redmine. I do like the benefits that Condendi offers for technical code analysis and it certainly provides many more options for task management using its detailed reporting and documentation creation/tracking tools. Similar to Microsoft Project, however, Condendi is not an easily-used tool and would be difficult for novices to effectively and efficiently craft to complete simple project management tasks.
Campbell, S. (2010, July 12). 15 useful excel templates for project management & tracking. Retrieved from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/excel-project-management-tracking-templates/
Gite, V. (2009, July 19). Top 10 open source web-based project management software. Retrieved from http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/open-source-project-management-software.html
Phillips, M. (2006, November 08). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.vertabase.com/blog/comparison-of-leading-project-management-software/
Project management. (2010, November 13). Retrieved from http://www.pptmagic.com/projectmgm.htm