Month: March 2016

Microsoft Project on Mac

Many times, Mac users find themselves needing to find alternative software for their Mac, because, most of the programs are not Mac friendly. Unfortunately, Microsoft Project is one of the app not available for Mac computer.

Microsoft Project is perhaps the most popular project management software that is used by many Project Managers (PM). Since this application is not supported on iOS, most PMs prefer using Windows systems as against iOS.

The Gantt chart is a core feature in Microsoft Project, but since that program only works on PCs, Mac users often have to download a template or create their own Gantt charts using Excel. While a Gantt chart can be created using Excel, there is still a need to manually update it and it has limited features. Additionally, these options do not offer the ability for resource management or critical path, which are common features in Gantt chart software.

Listed below are some common features that a PM would look for in a good Project Management Tool for Mac.

Creating Timelines

TimelineTimelines are at the heart of a Gantt chart and should work the way the PM does. When creating timelines, they should handle dependencies, which let the PM identify when one task needs to be completed before another one can start. It should also handle predecessor tasks – a feature that lets one create dependencies between tasks. The timelines should automatically get updated as events change in the project.

Importing and Exporting Multiple File Formats

File Formats All the stake holders in a project team may not be using  the same program as  the PM. The PM should make sure  that the project management application  that is selected  to run on Mac, is able to support multiple file formats.  Since  Microsoft Project is such a widely used program,  project management software  for Mac should import and  export Microsoft Project files. It should also  import and  export other popular file formats such as Adobe PDF and  PNG  image files. 

Syncing With Cloud Services

Cloud ServicesWith so much work getting done in the cloud today, the PM should select a project management program that syncs with popular cloud services such as iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox. One of the benefits of saving and accessing a project plan from the cloud is that it will be accessible on web-enabled devices, so there is not need to be at the office to check on the status of a project.

Customizing Views

One way to make project plans really work is to customize them to suit the PMs needs. The PM may want to:

·         Select or change barcode colors or add different shades to represent different parts of the project

·         Set-up automatic alerts when a deadline for a task is approaching or has passed

·         Annotate tasks by adding text to the chart.

·         Create custom views for different team members

The project management application should enable the PMs with all the features listed above.

Sharing and Collaborating with Team Members

Sharing and CollaboratingA project plan is not just for project managers, but also applicable to all the  team members working on a project. Hence, sharing features is an essential  requirement in any project management software. This feature needs to be  built in. The team members should have the ability to leave comments and  chat with others looking at the chart. With that in mind, in addition to being  able to work on a Mac, the program should support multiple platforms such as  Linux and Windows. This will give people access to the project plan regardless  of the type of computer they use to access it.

Integrating with Other iOS Devices

Integrating with Other iOS DevicesIf the PM is a Mac user, then it is quite possible that the PM may have other iOS devices such as an iPhone or an iPad. When selecting the project management application, the PM should make sure that the plans can be viewed on the other mobile devices. The project plans should be editable on the mobile devices as well. The latest version of iOS should be supported by the project management software.

 Project Planning Pro – The Right Solution for PMs

The Project Planning Pro is the right solution for PMs as it comes loaded with all the features listed above.

It is a simple and easy-to-use tool to plan and manage any kind of project. It can be used to manage the simplest to the most complex projects.

The app provides the flexibility to manage project plans during meetings or when out of office. It is designed to ensure complete project mobility.

With features such as:

  • Importing and Exporting Plans
  • Syncing with Cloud Services such as Dropbox, BOX, and iCloud
  • Creating Custom Calendars
  • Interactive Gantt
  • Sharing plans in the CSV and PDF formats
  • Providing multiple views to analyse and review plans

Project planning Pro is just what PMs need to efficiently manage and execute projects. 

Building a Business Plan With Project Management Software

Building a Business Plan With Best Project Management Software

Build Business Plan with Project Management Software

Build Business Plan

A Business Plan helps you evaluate the feasibility of a new business idea in an objective, critical, and unemotional way. It provides an operating plan to assist you in running the business and improves your probability of success. It communicates your idea to others, serves as a “selling tool,” and provides the basis for your financing proposal.

The business plan is the right tool to ensure the business will stand the test of time. With the business plan in hand, owners and employees are equipped to insure that the business is being built to a common vision. A collaborative business plan evaluates and refines your business culture to ensure the alignment of your vision, values, and mission.

When you have understood the need for a business plan, the next step would be to roll up your sleeves and get down to writing one.

Ingredients of a Business Plan

Before you get down to writing a business plan follow the checklist given below:

  • Determine your goals and objectives
  • Outline your financing needs
  • Plan what you will be doing with your plan
  • Do not forget about the market

Once your stage is set, the next step would be to get down to write your plan. Ideally a good business plan comprises of the following sections:                                                 Financial Plan

  • Executive Summary
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis Summary
  • Design and Development Plan
  • Operations and Management Plan
  • Financial Plan

Executive Summary

This the doorway to your plan. After reading this your target audience may either discard your entire plan or continue reading it. Therefore it is important to get the right content here that keeps your reader completely engaged to continue reading.

Summarize the problem you are solving for customers, your solution, the target market, the founding team, and financial forecast highlights. Keep things as brief as possible and entice your audience to learn more about your company.

Visit: Popular Project Management Software

Products and Services

You need to describe the problem you are solving and how your products or services stand apart. Make sure that you always keep the end customer in mind while writing about your products and services.

This section should clearly highlight what you are selling and how your products and services fill a need for your customers.

Market Analysis Summary

A market analysis forces you to become familiar with all aspects of the market so that you can define the target market and your company can be positioned in order to garner its share of sales.

Use this section to discuss your customers’ needs, where your customers are, how to reach them and how to deliver your product to them.

You also need to determine:

Marketing Analysis

 

  • the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market
  • strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage
  • the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market
  • any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle

Design and Development Plan

The purpose of this section is to provide investors with a description of the product’s design, chart its development within the context of production, marketing and the company itself, and create a development budget that will enable your company to reach its goals.

Operations and Management Plan

You need this section to describe just how the business functions on a continuing basis. The operations plan should highlight the logistics of your company such as the various responsibilities of the management team, the tasks assigned to each division within the company, and capital and expense requirements related to the operations of the business.

You may also want to cover the technology you plan on using, your business location and other facilities, special equipment you might need, and your roadmap for getting your business up and running. Finally, you may want to outline the key metrics you will be tracking to make sure your business is headed in the right direction.

Financial Plan

This is perhaps the most important part of your business plan. This section should include your projected Profit and Loss and Cash Flow tables, and a brief description of the assumptions you’re making with your projections.Finance Reports

You may also want to include your balance sheet, your sales forecast, business ratios, and a break-even analysis.

If you are raising money or taking out loans, you should highlight the money you need to launch the business.

It is mandatory to keep the business plan as short and simple as possible because the target audience may not necessarily have the time to go through a long and detailed plan.

With the availability of many tools and apps, it has become easier to write business plans because you get all the resources you need in a single package.

Project Planning Pro is a project management app but it also helps you to create business plans. You can put your complete development strategy in the app and generate multiple views such as Gantt view, Calendar view, Critical path view, Timeline view and Resource Sheet to analyse and review your plans.

You can also create plan templates and share the plans with the various stake holders in your business.

Why Project Management is essential for Small Businesses

Project management should be implemented in small as well as large organizations.  It does not matter how small a business is, but project management certainly ensures that tasks get done quickly and efficiently.It is essential that every business should achieve its project goals within a fixed budget and a given time frame. Project goals define the business value of the projects, and the team’s efforts to deliver the assigned projects within the stipulated time frame and budget.

Achieving this is a challenge for small ventures as they have very few resources compared to big organizations. This involves identifying the right project management method and applying it to accomplish all the project goals. This needs effective communication and collaboration within the team.

Project Management Plan

It is vital to choose an appropriate tool for successful project management. Small businesses face a dynamic and complex business environment, and requirements are often revised halfway through the project, and demands increase unexpectedly. Unfortunately, small businesses are equipped with few resources and an inflexible budget.

If you walk into the new offices of small businesses, you can expect to see notes sticking on the desks of the employees. Such “reminder notes” usually serve as notifications for projects or other operational work on which they are assigned. Examples of projects carried out in small ventures are building a company website, initiating the office in a new location, or materializing a new product.

When we cite a small business, we are indicating organizations with 100 or less employees. The best computer programmer or any other entrepreneur when starting their own business, at some point, will need to do risk assessment, a marketing campaign or a tie-up with some large companies to do business that have a formal project management process.

Small venture projects can be deal-breakers if they go poorly, doing it well is essential and the project management process can help assure that one does things well.

Benefits of Project Management Software in Small Businesses

 1. Creating an Agenda:

Projects are always bound to a timeframe. Effective project management assures fulfillment of individual tasks and the whole project within record time. Applications that develop Project Evaluation and Review techniques, or PERT charts and Gantt Charts lets you keep a track of the improvement of work. The schedule is often designed to entertain even the largest projects, but they phase out to work for the projects of small businesses as well.

 2. Managing Expenditure:

Tracking costs is crucial for small business projects, because businesses usually have limited financial resources. The scheduling applications can be more clear and cost effective with respect to a traditional budget which shows the major cost items and columns for predicted costs, purchased cost, and paid cost. As the project is in its completion phase, and more of the columns fill up with identical numbers, one can get an idea of the direction that the project is taking.

3. Management and Association:

The best benefit of using project management software is that everybody is on the same page. There are no absent e-mails, papers or misunderstandings due to contact failure.

4. Time Management:

Time management is most essential while planning and executing projects. One must ensure that the project does not cross the deadlines and enough time is given for the successful implementation. Project Management software helps to schedule the project and also capture any delays well before time..

5. Assessing the Project:

Learning is important for small businesses, because most of the people execute the same work for future projects. An important function of project management software is to learn from experience.

A collaborative environment without blaming others is essential for effective evaluation. An effective assessment at the end of the project management process enhances team adherence and improves company self- confidence.Project management offers financial worth to any size of businesses, regardless of its magnitude. It is essential for the success of any businesses and assures profitable delivery of the project.

It also helps one deal with other prospective aspects of the business that are essential to the growth of the firm. Implementing a proper project management application is a key uplift for the business to move to the next level.The elegance in using project management software that everything is written down in a document. It means there is a complete reference for future projects.

One can determine where faults occurred, whether the project went past the budget, the lags and their causes, where enhancements can be made and so on.As the owner of a small firm, project management will help one attain the business goals faster and more effortlessly.

Project Planning Pro is cost-effective, easy-to-use and is coming up with project management techniques based on the Agile Methodology.  It is a cross platform application and is available in around 9 languages. It provides user friendly features that include:

•  Creation of multiple tasks giving one’s to-do list a better structural approach.

•  Reminders that notify the managers about the upcoming deadlines and the milestones to be achieved.

The Project Planning Pro App is a global application suitable for small-scale business. Be it assigning tasks or setting goals or milestones for one self, a Project Manager can use this tool to carry out all the functions effectively in the simplest way possible.The app is cost effective and easy to use which doesn’t require much of technical knowledge which helps small scale business owners to complete their tasks on right time by not exceeding their budget. It is suitable for small scale businesses as it is much cheaper than it’s counterparts and has most of the features which a small scale business owner needs to manage his projects.

Save Your Projects from Failing by Managing it on Project Planning Pro – Available on Mac, Android, iOS and Windows

Project Planning Pro Apple Store Project Planning App - Google Play Store

Millennial Project Managers

Millennials are people born between the 1980s and 2000 and are also known as Generation Y. Our workforce is now dominated by the millennials. According to a Pew Research Centre analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, one out of 3 American workers are millennials, and in 2015 they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce.

A study by Ernst and Young in 2013 showed that while Generation X is more entrepreneurial in spirit they rank low in the executive presence, and the Millennials are tech savvy but are not great team players.

Must Read: Project Management in IT Industry

As we see a shift in the age group and attitude of the workforce, there is a great need to shift away from traditional processes while managing an organisation or a project.

As firms look for the best and brightest leadership, many energetic Millennials are picked as managers. Not surprisingly, age differences can cause real relationship barriers and disrupt team dynamics on a project. This article contains some tips for Millennial Project Managers to efficiently manage projects.

Tips for Millennial Project Managers

Being a Rebel with a Cause

It is a well-known fact that millennials do not bother much about the run-of-the-mill processes and are constantly trying to promote their own ideas and bring about change. However, when they bring their opinions to the table, it is often with a lot of aggression. Millennials need to lead the way as change agents. They need to work hand in hand with the management to bring change that is tied to business outcomes. The HR function has a significant role to play in bringing this shift in workplaces.

Disrupting only if it leads to Innovation

Disrupting an existing process may be the best option available for project managers, but it is important to remember that disruption succeeds only when it gives replaces something existing with something better. Disruption without positive intent is destruction. Leaders need to take this aspect into consideration when trying to formulate a vision for the company and build a culture that fosters disruptive innovation.

Betting on Strengths

In a survey conducted by Deloitte, six out of ten millennials said a sense of purpose was part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. Having a sense of purpose is a key differentiator and can add tremendous value to an organization. Leaders need to ensure that there is a strong vision in place for millennials to subscribe to; one that goes beyond the mundaneness of everyday tasks.

Also Read: Why Project Management is Essential For Small Business

Not Settling for Less

In a flat world like ours, where time zones and geographical distribution does not really matter for people, millennials want to be heard and to be part of the decision making process. A workplace that encourages inclusive decision making, collaboration and two way communication is the ideal millennial workplace and they shouldn’t settle for anything less than that.

Understanding the Systems

While Processes, Tools, Guidelines, and Best Practices, may sound lame and boring, but they work. It is important to be open to a structured working environment because in this age or any, standardization holds the key to being productive. It also keeps chaos at bay. On the other hand, companies need to invest in tools that provide intuitive and engaging user experiences. Project Leaders need to focus on bringing creativity and innovation into a process oriented work environment.

Project Planning Pro – the Ideal Solution for Millennial Project Managers

Project Planning Pro allows importing projects from Microsoft Project via Dropbox, BOX, Email, and iTunes making it extremely flexible for Project Managers. The App provides multiple views such as Gantt view, Calendar view, Critical path view, Timeline view and Resource Sheet to analyse and review the project plans The Project Planning Pro App is a multi-location application. The project managers can not only manage their to-do lists but also track the following:

• Projects assigned to the team members
• Project deadlines
• Important project milestones to be achieved.

Another unique feature of Project Planning Pro is sharing the plans in the CSV or PDF format with all the project stake holders. This makes it easy for the project managers to communicate with the project team members and track the project through completion..

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