Leveraging Technology in Project Management

October 3, 2017

By: Jessica Heine

In this technology-driven world, companies are compelled to utilize technology and tools extensively. While work can be completed without advanced technologies, there are significant benefits to incorporating project management software to aid in the effective planning, managing and forecasting of projects. Organized project management processes are essential to achieving successful project outcomes.

Williams Engineering Canada’s project managers are transitioning from using spreadsheets and other personalized practices to a powerful digital solution. Leveraging project management software provides a standardized, consistency and organized platform for planning. The program compiles data entered, elevating the user’s experience by forecasting estimated workloads based on assigned resources and planned schedules; everything can be viewed together and integrated with calendar notifications. Managing all aspects of a project in one place not only reduces administrative time but also provides project teams with informative data about projects in real-time. Access to planned and real project data stimulate conversations among colleagues about project details, leading to informed decisions which can then be communicated to all stakeholders, including the entire project team, management, and, most importantly, the client.

Standardization and Consistency

Standardization is an important part of consistency in project delivery. When faced with everyday challenges, it can sometimes feel necessary to develop personalized methods, which may include customized templates and techniques to help reach an end objective. Unfortunately, personalized systems and processes don’t allow for a team member to jump into a project without knowing the specific method. With personalized systems, it becomes difficult to maintain consistency across a company. By standardizing the process through the implementation of a dedicated digital platform, from a project’s inception to its completion, all team members are able to understand a project’s status at a glance.

Further, by inputting all projects into the system, the planning software is able to indicate current and future time allocations meaning resources can be optimally planned based on deliverables and timelines. This aims to prevent a scenario where one engineer is working a 50-hour week while another is underutilized at 30 hours a week. The ideal scenario would be to divide the cumulative 80 hours of work as equally as possible. Following the entry of a project work plan, the software is able to track an engineer’s actual hours, pulling real-time data from employees’ timesheets and comparing it with what was initially forecasted. Project managers are able to see if their planning was accurate, whether they allocated enough time and resources to the project, and if not, whether the plan needs to be adjusted to accommodate.

Elevated Technology Leads to Elevated Performance

Implementing technology to better manage projects not only helps the project manager but also the entire project team throughout all phases of a project. Team members are able to go into any given project and see their planned hours and whether they are meeting their targets based on the input schedule. Engineering managers can better plan their respective teams’ workloads with the ability to predict resource availability for future projects. As alterations to a project schedule are made, the planning software automatically updates team members’ schedules and adjusts for increases and decreases in the allocated time.

Combining technology with project management is an incredible resource when used correctly with the proper software. Planning that was once unfocused is now available in one centralized location. Scheduling mix-ups, resource allocation and miscommunications can now be avoided with the help of advanced planning software designed specifically to be integrated with engineering tasks. At Williams Engineering Canada, we have made a commitment to using advanced technologies that have the capability to track performance, compare planned resources against real-time actuals, forecast trends and also inform all stakeholders of a respective project’s performance. By leveraging technology, to better manage projects, project managers, engineers, and team leads can focus their efforts towards other aspects of any given project, ensuring our clients’ objectives are met and that all stakeholders are satisfied with the end result.