Project Management Tools
Software tools for project management are available to help projects stay on time and meet deliverables. Products are available for a variety of functions at many different scales and prices. The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five: Project Management Tools document lists over a dozen project management tools that could be used to assist with the following project management functions:
- Project planning: Allows users to create a map of the project to show the critical path and sequencing of tasks through a Project Schedule.
- Task management: Can be used to assign, monitor, and “check off” the work as it’s accomplished during the project.
- Project tracking: This can be used to compare the budget, schedule, or other aspects of the project to what was anticipated in planning.
- Collaboration: Allows several users to work in the same virtual space, share tasks, and communicate in real time.
- Dashboarding: Creates a visualization of project metrics to allow for project progress tracking by decisionmakers.
Many of the tools outlined in the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five: Project Management Tools document have free versions with limited features but require a subscription or license for the more robust versions of the software. Project managers may be allowed to choose the software they use on some projects. However, states or territories may have preferences for project management software that must be used.
Project management staffing, methodology, protocols, and tools vary across and within states or territories around the country. The key takeaway for states or territories from this guide is to use this as a starting point and framework for investigating the endless possibilities for conducting project management. Then, create a system that works for the needs of the individual Lead Agency. Each project may vary slightly, but establishing a set of overarching protocols for conducting projects with the organization can assist staff so that development of methods, tools, protocols, and so forth are not needed each time a new project is undertaken.