Project Management

A PM’s Software Utility Belt

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

Whenever I start a new project or consulting assignment, I always run through my checklist of must-have technology tools to make project management execution successful. Projects can be delivered without software tools, but it sure makes it easier if you have a few tools in your pocket or USB key to make project execution a little easier. Below are four key tools that I apply on everyday engagements. (You may be surprised to find MS-Project and Excel are not on the list…)
1. A Process Modeling tool
In an IT project, you may have a team of business or systems analysts assigned to develop business owner views, swim lane charts or system sequence diagrams. In addition to the project leadership, project managers often need to rely on their process background and analytic skills to further capture requirements, model a process and communicate new procedures. I’ve supported projects in a variety of PM roles, and each engagement has resulted in developing process flow diagrams to describe a client’s business process or to convey a program’s specific project management procedure.
My tool of choice is Metastorm’s Provision--a powerful modeling tool that treats each business process, activity and role as an object in its process flow database. Unlike Microsoft Visio, Microsoft PowerPoint and other drawing tools, Provision’s object-…

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