Project management software

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Project management software (PMS) has the capacity to help plan, organize, and manage resource tools and develop resource estimates. Depending on the sophistication of the software, it can manage estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, collaboration software, communication, decision-making, quality management, time management and documentation or administration systems. Today, numerous PC and browser-based project management software and contract management software solutions exist, and are finding applications in almost every type of business.




The first historically relevant year for the development of project management software is 1896, marked by the introduction of the Harmonogram. Polish economist Karol Adamiecki attempted to display task development in a floating chart, and laid the foundation for project management software as it is today. [1] 1912 was the year when Henry Gantt replaced the Harmonogram with the more advanced Gantt chart, a scheduling diagram which broke ship design tasks down for the purposes of Hoover Dam in early 1931.[ citation needed ] Today’s Gantt charts are almost the same as their original counterparts, and are a part of many project management systems.

Emergence of the term "project management" and modernized techniques

The term project management was not used prior to 1954, when US Air Force General Bernard Adolph Schriever introduced it for military purposes. In the years to follow, project management gained relevance in the business world, a trend which had a lot to do with the formation of the American Association of Engineers AACE (1956), and Rang and DuPont’s Critical Path Method calculating project duration ever since 1957. [2]

The trend is also related to the appearance of the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) in 1958. PERT went further with monitoring projects, and enabled users to monitor tasks, being at the same time able to evaluate their quality, and to estimate the time needed to accomplish each of them. As with Gantt charts and CPM, PERT was invented for military purposes, this time for the US Navy Polaris missile submarine program. [3]

In 1965, there was a new improvement in project management technology. The US department of defense presented the work breakdown structure (WBS) to dissolve projects to even smaller visual units, organizing them in hierarchical tree structure. WBS was an inspiration for Winston Royce’s Waterfall Method (1970) where management phases are organized in a way which doesn’t allow a new task to begin before the previous ones are completed. [4]

The first project management products and associations

In the period between 1965 and 1969 were formed two of the leading project management associations: the International Project Management Association (IPMA) in Europe, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) which trains project management professionals and issues certificates. With business shifting towards technology-based and paperless methods, the first project management systems started to emerge. [5] Oracle and Artemis launched their project managers in 1977, while Scitor Corporation did the same in 1979. [6] [7] Many improvements followed in the upcoming decades: in 1986, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute introduced capability maturity software, a five-level project management method for rapidly maturing processes, while in 1988 users met earned value management which added processes’ scope and cost to the schedule. [8] The trend continued with PRINCE2 (1996) which increased the number of processes to seven, because of which developers considered designing products for managing complex projects. In 2001, they adopted the Agile project management concept, and focused on adaptive planning and flexible response to changes. In 2006, users were already able to trigger total cost management, a framework that helps controlling and reducing costs in project management. [9]

SaaS and cloud-based project management software

The SaaS (software-as-a-service) trend began in 2008, qualified by users as the most flexible type of project management software for their teams. In 2009, US News classified project management as one of the most demanded skills for obtaining a well-paid job. [10]

From 2010 on, the most popular project management solutions were cloud-based, designed for the needs of virtual teams looking to access information from any location or device. [11] [12] As a result, 2012 brought the first mobile project management apps users can apply on the go. [13]

With the advent of the Internet-of-Things, project management software was developed to incorporate testing technologies, development tools, and improved cyber security methods. [14]

Tasks and Activities


One of the most common project management software tool types is scheduling tools. Scheduling tools are used to sequence project activities and assign dates and resources to them. The detail and sophistication of a schedule produced by a scheduling tool can vary considerably with the project management methodology used, the features provided and the scheduling methods supported. Scheduling tools may include support for: [15]

Providing Information

Project planning software can be expected to provide information to various people or stakeholders, and can be used to measure and justify the level of effort required to complete the project(s). Typical requirements might include:



Project management software has been implemented as a program that runs on the desktop of each user. Project management tools that are implemented as desktop software are typically single-user applications used by the project manager or another subject matter expert, such as a scheduler or risk manager.


Project management software has been implemented as a web application to be accessed using a web browser. This may also include the ability to use a smartphone or tablet to gain access to the application. Software as a service (SaaS) is also web-based and has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including project management, project management information system (PMIS) and project portfolio management (PPM). SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser.


In recent years project management software has moved to Mobile devices. In 2015 there are more cell phones than computers in the world [16] , therefore the move of SaaS applications to the mobile devices makes perfect sense. This migration has had the additional benefit of enabling the users to view and update project details on the go.


A personal project management application is one used at home, typically to manage lifestyle or home projects. There is considerable overlap with single user systems, although personal project management software typically involves simpler interfaces. See also non-specialised tools below.

Single user

A single-user system is programmed with the assumption that only one person will ever need to edit the project plan at once. This may be used in small companies, or ones where only a few people are involved in top-down project planning. Desktop applications generally fall into this category.


A collaborative system is designed to support multiple users modifying different sections of the plan at once; for example, updating the areas they personally are responsible for such that those estimates get integrated into the overall plan. Web-based tools, including extranets, generally fall into this category, but have the limitation that they can only be used when the user has live Internet access. To address this limitation, some software tools using client–server architecture provide a rich client that runs on users' desktop computer and replicates project and task information to other project team members through a central server when users connect periodically to the network. Some tools allow team members to check out their schedules (and others' as read only) to work on them while not on the network. When reconnecting to the database, all changes are synchronized with the other schedules.


A common problem in project management is a difficulty with both viewing and understanding large amounts of fluctuating project data. [17] To tackle this, some project management software utilize information visualization, so that users can more easily find, analyze and make changes to their data. To avoid information overload, [18] the visualization mantra of “overview first, zoom and filter, then details on demand” is often followed. [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

Project management is the practice of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives.

Critical path method Scheduling algorithm in project management

The critical path method (CPM), or critical path analysis (CPA), is an algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities. It is commonly used in conjunction with the program evaluation and review technique (PERT). A critical path is determined by identifying the longest stretch of dependent activities and measuring the time required to complete them from start to finish.

Program evaluation and review technique statistical tool, used in project management

The program (or project) evaluation and review technique (PERT) is a statistical tool used in project management, which was designed to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a given project.

Gantt chart type of bar chart used for schedules

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule, named after its inventor, Henry Gantt (1861–1919), who designed such a chart around the years 1910–1915. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency relationships between activities and current schedule status.

In project management, a schedule is a listing of a project's milestones, activities, and deliverables, usually with intended start and finish dates. Those items are often estimated by other information included in the project schedule of resource allocation, budget, task duration, and linkages of dependencies and scheduled events. A schedule is commonly used in the project planning and project portfolio management parts of project management. Elements on a schedule may be closely related to the work breakdown structure (WBS) terminal elements, the Statement of work, or a Contract Data Requirements List.

Timeline of project management - there is a general understanding that the history of modern project management started around 1950. Until 1900, projects were generally managed by creative architects and engineers themselves, among those, for example, Christopher Wren, Thomas Telford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Business software is any software or set of computer programs used by business users to perform various business functions. These business applications are used to increase productivity, to measure productivity and to perform other business functions accurately.

Microsoft Project Project management software

Microsoft Project is a project management software product, developed and sold by Microsoft. It is designed to assist a project manager in developing a schedule, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the budget, and analyzing workloads.

Software as a service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software", and was formerly referred to as "software plus services" by Microsoft.

Project workforce management is the practice of combining the coordination of all logistic elements of a project through a single software application. This includes planning and tracking of schedules and mileposts, cost and revenue, resource allocation, as well as overall management of these project elements. Efficiency is improved by eliminating manual processes, like spreadsheet tracking to monitor project progress. It also allows for at-a-glance status updates and ideally integrates with existing legacy applications in order to unify ongoing projects, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and broader organizational goals. There are a lot of logistic elements in a project. Different team members are responsible for managing each element and often, the organisation may have a mechanism to manage some logistic areas as well.

FastTrack Schedule is a project management software program that is used for planning, tracking, and reporting project goals. Available since 1987, it is made by AEC Software, Inc., a small business headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area.


GanttProject is GPL-licensed Java based, project management software that runs under the Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems. This project was initiated in January 2003, at University of Marne-la-Vallée (France) and managed, at first, by Alexandre Thomas, now replaced by Dmitry Barashev.

A glossary of terms relating to project management and consulting.

ManagePro is combined project and performance management software product produced by Angbert Enterprises, LLC, a US software and IT consulting company headquartered in Downey, California.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to project management:

Micro Planner X-Pert is a project management software package in continuous development since 1979.

ProjectLibre free and open-source project management software

ProjectLibre is a project management software company with both a free open source desktop and upcoming Cloud version. ProjectLibre desktop is a free and open-source project management software system intended ultimately as a standalone replacement for Microsoft Project. ProjectLibre is written in the Java programming language, and will thus theoretically run on any machine for which a fully functioning Java Virtual Machine exists. Currently, ProjectLibre is certified to run on Linux, MacOS and MS Windows. It is released under the Common Public Attribution License (CPAL) and qualifies as Free Software according to the Free Software Foundation.

VPMi is a cloud-based suite of Project Portfolio Management software used by companies to gain visibility into their project portfolio to manage schedules, budgets, scope, alignment with strategies, balanced scorecard, resources and documents. The VPMi suite was created to help prevent miscommunication between business units and IT staff. The VPMi suite originally comprised two software tools, VPMi Professional and VPMi Express, however, both of these applications have been merged into a new application simply called VPMi. The application is developed by VCSonline, a company headquartered in Valley Park, just outside St. Louis, Missouri, with an additional office in Kolkata, India. VCSonline is mentioned in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services, Worldwide.


Freedcamp is a web, mobile and desktop project management and collaboration system for teams. The company was launched in 2010 in Santa Barbara, California by founder Angel Grablev.


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Further reading