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We have, in the previous blogs, elaborated on what project management is, what a project manager does, the phases of project management and the various approaches. However, how do we implement the project management techniques? The implementation is done by tools knows as project management tools and we shall look into a few of them in this article.

The use of tools to carry out project management activities usually makes the project managers work easy and at the same time it standardizes the work and the routine of a project manager. Despite its name, project management tools are not just for project managers. Project management tools are made to be completely customizable so they can fit the needs of teams of different sizes and with different goals.

Project management tools are mostly automated or software oriented today. Some of the frequently used tools are-

  1. Gantt Chart: A Gantt chart is a popular project management bar chart that tracks tasks across time. It was developed by Henry L. Gantt, an American engineer and social scientist in the year 1917. However, back then, the Gantt chart did not show the existing relationships between the tasks. The basic, initial model of the Gantt chart has evolved since then and it has become common to track both time and interdependencies between tasks, which is now its everyday use. Gantt chart provides a graphical illustration of a schedule that helps to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. Since their first introduction, Gantt charts have become an industry standard. They are an important project management tool used for showing the phases, tasks, milestones and resources needed as part of a project. They may be simple-created on graph paper or may be more complex automated versions created using project management applications like Microsoft Project or Excel. One of the first uses of the Gantt chart was on America’s Hoover Dam project started in 1931. 
  2. Logic Network: A logical network is one that appears to the user as a single, separate entity although it might in fact be either an entity created from multiple networks or just a part of a larger network. A logical network is defined by its IP addressing scheme. It indicates the sequence of activities in a project over time. It shows which activity logically precedes or follows another activity. It can be used to identify the milestones and critical path of a project. It will help you understand the dependencies in your project, timescale, and its workflow. Valuable information that you may otherwise overlook can be revealed using this technique. 
  3. PERT Chart: The Program Evaluation and Review Technique, commonly abbreviated to PERT is a model for project management developed by the United States Department of Defense’s US Navy Special Projects Office in 1958 as part of the Polaris mobile submarine-launched ballistic missile project. A similar methodology, the Critical Path Method (CPM) was developed for project management in the private sector at about the same time. PERT is a method for analysing the tasks involved in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task and identifying the minimum time required to complete the total project. 
  4. Product Breakdown Structure (PBS): In project management, a Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) is an exhaustive, hierarchical tree structure of components that make up a project deliverable, arranged in whole-part relationship. A PBS can help clarify what is to be delivered by the project and can contribute to building a work breakdown structure. The PRINCE2 project management method suggests the use of product based planning, part of which is developing a Product Breakdown Structure. 
  5. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): The United States Department of Defense (DOD) created the Work Breakdown Structure concept as part of the Polaris mobile submarine-launched ballistic missile project. A Work Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical decomposition of the deliverables needed to complete a project. It breaks the deliverables down into manageable work packages that can be scheduled, costed and have people assigned to them. A Work Breakdown Structure is a standard project management tool and the basis for much project planning. 

These tools help in making project management easier and efficient, along with tools like VComply, which help you manage and track whatever is going on in your organization and therefore helps in project management.

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