What is Project Management Software? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Laury Hales

Laury has taught in professional adult education settings for over 10 years and is currently working on a PhD in Organizational Psychology.

Project management software is software specifically designed to help plan, organize, and manage projects. In this lesson, we'll look at an overview of the general capabilities and types of project management software.

What Is Project Management Software?

With the many project elements a project manager has to coordinate and track, it's helpful to have a tool that can help plan and organize a project. As the senior project manager in your company, you are well acquainted with everything that needs to be done. Your company doesn't have a single tool to plan, organize, and manage its projects yet, and you've been asked to head a committee that will help decide which project management software should be implemented.

The committee first defines what project management software is. Project management software is specialty software designed to provide a means of planning, organizing and managing various project aspects. Project management software can:

  • Help with planning
  • Assist with scheduling
  • Be used to assign resources
  • Be used to manage risk and other issues
  • Help to control change
  • Act as a collaboration tool to make communication between project team members and stakeholders easier and clearer
  • Provide a way to determine dependent events in the project and how the dependencies interact
  • Predict what would happen if things change

Project Management Software Capabilities

As you begin reviewing software applications, it becomes obvious that there are many different types of project management software applications on the market today. Simple project management software can be limited to just scheduling tasks and assigning resources. More capable project management software can actually help create estimates, track resource time, act as a document repository, and generate and send invoices to customers.

What type of project management software is used depends on the type of project. Your company sells and installs web-based software and provides project management services to customers that purchase the software. You will need basic project management functions, such as scheduling, resource allocation, and risk and issues management.

Because you charge customers based on project hours, you will also need software that can integrate with your existing time tracking and invoicing systems. Additionally, you will need a high level of collaboration capabilities so that external stakeholders are able to see project progress and concerns.

Types of Project Management Software

Generally, project management software falls into four categories, regardless of the capabilities included. The categories are based on how the software is deployed and used by the project team.

Desktop

With a desktop system, the software is installed on each user's desktop or laptop. This software has the most responsive and graphic interface.

Client Server

For a client server set up, the software is installed on a company's server and allows multiple users to be logged into the application at once. This software type allows for centralized data storage to make collaboration easier.

Web-based

A web-based system uses software that is accessed through the internet, allowing access from any computer and any location. The software is updated and maintained by the provider, which is often less expensive the outright purchasing software. Web-based software allows easier collaboration and central data storage.

Integrated

Integrated project management software combines project management functions with other aspects of a company's business, such as invoicing. Integrated software applications are either installed on the company's server or are accessed through the internet.

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