Automated Project Management

Aug 20th 2008
Sift Media
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By Ryan Williams, - No matter what business you are in, you have projects. Projects are how businesses make progress. How does your company manage projects? What tools do you use? Email, white boards, post-it notes? Something I see all the time is people managing projects with Microsoft Excel. Although Excel can do a fine job of tracking projects, it is very manual. Obviously, Excel is far better than sticky notes. However, technology makes project management so much easier nowadays that it is almost sad to see businesses struggle with a manual project management methodology.

So why should you consider a more automated approach to project management? Well the number one reason in my mind is communication. Many projects fail because of a lack of communication, and if there is anything technology is good at, it is communication. Here are some examples of automated communication:
- Emails to people when they are assigned a task
- Emails to remind people when due dates are approaching
- Email alerts to management when due dates are missed
- Email alerts to management when customer interaction takes place
- Emails to customers when a task pertaining to them is updated
- Email alerts to management when AR balances exceed a certain threshold

There are also other ways technology can automate project management including:
- Logging who reads and edit files associated with a project
- Prompting for change orders when the project scope changes
- Verifying available resources (people, projectors, trucks, conference rooms, etc.) for each stage of the project

Basically, if you can dream it, there is probably a way to automate it and the return on investment is usually strong and easy to calculate.


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