Project Management Suggestions
July 25, 2013 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I am embarking on a large ongoing project, and I am hoping to incorporate some project management ideas to keep me on task. What I am hoping for is as follows: *Easily managed, intuitive, customizable database. *Easy date-tracking. *Automated "ticklers" (i.e. reminders) to check each part of the project at predetermined intervals (one month, three months, etc.). *Easy status tracking. What I am really hoping to build is a system to track a large number of similar items through a long process while still being manageable by one person, and to have the data available quickly. Any suggestions on where I can learn how to develop a system like this, or any suggestions on pre-established systems or software that would help would be greatly appreciated.
posted by dfc5656 to Work & Money (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Check podio.
posted by biscuits at 8:33 PM on July 25, 2013

It's not awesome, but Microsoft Project is the standard thing for project management, basically everywhere (maybe except really sexy startups in Silicon Valley, but everywhere else). With the MS Project Server part it will send out email notifications.

But, as a disclaimer and in advance of many OMFGPROJECT objections: I hate Project with the fire of a thousand suns, but for the same basic reason that I despise PowerPoint: it's not bad software, it just allows idiots to construct a veneer of competence where none exists. It's actually pretty good at its job, when used skillfully. But in the hands of someone who is a bad project manager anyway, it's like giving a drunk chimpanzee an Uzi. It's a powerful, dangerous tool with which you can easily wreak havoc, don't abuse it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:48 PM on July 25, 2013

Just going to say this.

After spending two years going through some project management hell, I've got one very useful tool that I use. It is low tech - it spells things out very very quickly for people. It helps my managers understand what they have asked and whether or not what they are asking is really important.

I have a really big piece of paper (and Visio file) that closely resembles a fishbone diagram. Every time someone asks a question - no matter how inane and or unanswerable, I think about what where and who asked the question, and I categorize it by business segment, necessary / possible data sources, and difficulty. As questions get answered - by me or by anyone - I note the completion of the question and write down any additional questions that arise as a result. In this manner, I can put it back to management when they say 'this must be answered' that either the question is actually not important comparative to the other outstanding questions there are, that we're answering the most important questions, and whether we have answered any questions related to this question. Will every question be answered - no - but it seems to minimize the fire drills, keeps people interested in the topics that are either unreachable, makes people aware of our wins, and otherwise shows people the range of our capabilities.

Yes, we use project, and a few sharepoint forms to make sure stuff is permitted (and to make report outs easier), but when you need to see what is being worked on and what has been done - very little beats the list.

In project, everything gets key words so we can classify similar projects, techniques used, departments, data sources, etc. Routinely though, clients like to avoid that part of the form, which just delays the process.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:33 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

We tried out a number of systems and are quite happy with ActiveCollab 3 (version 2 was not appealing). We are also pleased with the modules you can get to extend it.
posted by juiceCake at 7:42 AM on July 26, 2013

If you're a visual thinker then I'd suggest taking a look at Mindjet's Mind Manager product. The Mac version is unfortunately severely crippled compared to the Windows version, so if you're on a Mac look into running it via some virtualization system.
posted by Runes at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2013

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