The schedule and its importance for the Project Manager

The time schedule generally refers to the skills, tools, and techniques used by the Project Manager to manage time when executing projects to achieve specific goals.

A time schedule must adapt to a specified period of time and use available resources with the right skills.

Given the many uncertainties and variables and the possibility that the availability of resources or the scope of a project may change, it is difficult for the Project Manager to create a schedule that remains stable from beginning to end.

Why you need to plan the time for a project

At the beginning of each project, it is necessary to know how events and activities will be organized during time.

And do not forget that during the project cycle, it will be necessary to spend some time to update deadlines by considering any changes to the project plan.

The investment of time for planning the project schedule may seem superfluous, but in reality it is absolutely necessary for success.

During the life cycle of the project a part of time of the Project Manager should be foreseen to review the schedule and the dependencies of the various activities.

This allows you to check if the project plans are still on track, what is working and what is not.

The schedule of a project is composed of sequenced activities, milestones and goals that must be delivered within a given deadline.

Having a project schedule means knowing exactly what needs to be delivered and in what order.

Moreover, with the right planning techniques, it is possible to regulate the activities in the case that the project is late or if any changes to its scope occur.

The time schedule: how to structure the project planning routine

schedule and project manager

There are two routines to follow for the planning of the project:

1. Planning of the weekly project

Set a time once a week to analyze the schedule and the project plan, determine the results achieved in the past week, and define the goals for the current week.

This time must also be used to be sure that all resources are aligned to ensure the execution and achievement of the goals.

2. Planning of the daily project

Plan at least 30 minutes a day to reflect on the day and / or review the schedule for the next day.

This moment can occur at the beginning or at the end of the day, depending on the preference of the project manager and the most efficient technique.

Here is a brief example of what daily project planning can look like for a project manager:

  • Review the program and update the Gantt chart, if necessary.
  • Ensure that the meetings scheduled for the next day are properly planned and confirmed.
  • Plan the next day based on whatever deliverables are expected. If necessary, the project manager will block a part of his agenda to work quietly on this.

How to obtain a schedule

The process that allows the Project Manager to obtain a schedule is composed of four phases:

  • Create a model of how the work will be performed;
  • Estimate the duration of activities;
  • Calculate times for activities;
  • Present the results.

Every aspect of the process is taken into account by the team, using experts in the field, when necessary.

In fact, a program agreed with the team is more likely to succeed than one imposed from the board of directors.

Estimation of activity durations must take into account many factors, such as effort required, resource efficiency, physical constraints, etc.

Regarding the third point, the simplest form of calculation is the critical analysis of the path. This uses a duration estimate that includes all the factors.

The final results are usually presented as a Gantt chart.

The main advantage of this model is that it can be updated frequently with new information and quickly recalculated.

This is a continuous process throughout the project life cycle and uses the information on actual progress to predict the end date of the project.

Most of the project planning is normally performed with the help of a specific project management software.

In the past, printed calendars or spreadsheets shared by e-mail were the method used by Project Managers to keep an eye on the project schedule.

But today, most teams and organizations implement project management tools with the appropriate features.

These can simplify the creation of timelines and save them online, making the planning of activities and teams much easier.

Because projects have so many moving parts and change frequently, project planning software automatically updates tasks that depend on each other when a scheduled task is not completed in time.

With some software, it is also possible to have the advantage of setting milestones, linking activities, and seeing the actual or planned progress of the schedule update dynamically.

One of the best software on the market is Twproject: after having set the tree structure of a project and having defined its milestones, in Twproject it is possible to insert all the defined phases in a Gantt diagram. It will be sufficient to indicate the estimated time for each activity and then chain the development phases. It is also possible to make some steps dependent on others. This will allow to update statistics in real time, recalculate project deadlines in the event of delays or changes and have a complete overview of the progress of a project.

Twproject has allowed us to organize work subdivision in a simple way through the WBS, then planning the duration of the phases and the workload of each assignee by using the Gantt chart.

What are the benefits of using a time schedule?

As explained, there are many advantages that a well-made project schedule ensures to project managers, the team, and the organization in general:

  • Managers, team members, and stakeholders can monitor progress, set and manage expectations, communicate and collaborate clearly.
  • Tasks and results can be monitored and controlled to ensure timely delivery of the output – and if delays occur, it is possible to easily assess their impact and make the necessary changes.
  • Increase profitability.
  • The communication of clear and better details about the project helps the organization in the distribution of resources where they are most needed, helping to achieve the goals of the project.

Following these steps ensures the project manager to always work efficiently on any project and to be able to predict and mitigate the risks before they turn into big obstacles.

Twproject offers a 15-day free trial with the assistance of its support team. It could be an opportunity to build an effective and complete time schedule and to start optimizing work times by improving the performance of the entire work team.

We have the tools, we have the culture.

Project Sustainability Management: when project management meets sustainability

In today’s day and age, it’s tough to spend a day without hearing or seeing some messages about sustainability, and in this regard, Project Sustainability Management is picking up steam.

For project managers, this means seeing a project with a new perspective, and making the right decisions for the company, its people, and society as a whole.

Basically, it’s all about doing the right thing.

Successful project management is already challenging enough in itself because it revolves around balancing three constraints: cost, time and scope.

The integration of sustainability adds even more complexity to the mix.

Let’s explore why sustainable project management is important and how you can do it in this article.

What is Project Sustainability Management?

The 71% of the world’s leading 500 companies are publicly disclosing their GHG emissions alongside several other energy metrics.

Sustainability has become a corporate goal for all industries, and organizations now recognize that it is just irresponsible not to tackle the issue.

Moreover, the pandemic has brought to light new challenges and emergencies, revealing that sustainability is the only way forward.

Boston Consulting Group reported that 70% of people have become more aware of the impact that human activity has on the climate since the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, sustainable project management isn’t just a matter of being green and tackling climate change.

Being responsible is about ensuring that resources are used wisely, that people are treated equally and paid a fair wage, and that communities are factored into business decisions.

A great way to make sure the project continues to be sustainable is to have this goal in mind from the outset of the project.

Once it is built into the project vision, it cannot be forgotten.

Just having sustainability relevant in all areas of the project will ensure that environmental damage is at a minimum.

As a result, project managers working in this area must take a holistic approach, weighing environmental, social, and economic factors

We have to completely redefine the way we conceive the production of goods and products, learning to consider sustainability of projects not as an obligation, but as an opportunity.

The four aspects of Project Sustainability Management

Specifically, sustainability involves balancing four different areas that include:

  • Environment, such as climate change
  • Economy, such as accessibility
  • Society, such as community
  • Management, such as health and safety

Taking them all into account is the key to building truly sustainable projects.

Let’s explore them in more detail:

Environmental sustainability means employing sustainable resources, preventing pollution, and reducing climate change impacts. This involves assessing equipment, resources used for a project, industry standards, and purchasing practices. Fair trade is one of the best options to ensure sustainability as it is an agreement designed to help producers in growing countries achieve fair trade relationships.

This is connected to economic sustainability, by thinking beyond  return on investment and ensuring that the project fits into the overall strategy of the organization by analyzing how much it adds and how feasible it is in the long term.

Beside the environmental and economic areas of an organization, the less debated, but equally important, are the social and managerial elements. Ensuring that the organization is socially sustainable means assessing how sustainable its culture, structure, and human resource practices are. The organization must ensure that it provides fair working conditions and have sound health and safety measures in place. This part is often tied to HR, which is why they are often considered the sustainability agent in certain organizations.

The HR department must ensure that there is no discrimination against vulnerable groups and that civil and fundamental rights are met. They are also responsible for employee training and skill development and overall community engagement, both of which are significant social areas.

project sustainability management

How do we place sustainability at the very core of every project?

Project Managers have the responsibility of overseeing the project delivery and support processes.

Both will strive to ensure that the client is satisfied while motivating their team to provide excellence.

This is the essence of a project management job.

By leveraging benchmarking tools such as the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), project managers can compare the impacts of their plans.

The idea underlying the use of benchmarking tools is to integrate sustainability throughout the entire project lifecycle.

Therefore, project managers can ensure that any development improves, or at least preserves, the environment and the livelihood of those who inhabit it.

Project Sustainability Management requires a more holistic approach.

It takes into consideration how resources are used, climate change mitigation, property rights, community involvement, and human rights.

The project manager’s goal is to create value and deliver a project both on time and on budget, but also to execute it in an ethical and fair manner.

Part of the complexity of sustainable project management lies in its intertemporal nature.

Therefore, a sustainable project’s lifecycle should not end at the completion stage; environmental and social impacts must also be monitored and controlled afterwards.

Managers must therefore arm themselves with new indicators for monitoring and overseeing these environmental and social aspects, e.g. ISO, SA and others.

In brief, projects are a medium to achieve change, provide new products and services, and thus shape society.

As such, sustainability should not just be an afterthought, but rather should be one of the key goals for every project.

Twproject and the measurement of sustainability

While it is therefore clear that companies should aim for purpose and no longer just for profit, the main challenge at the moment is to understand how to do this, what strategies to apply.

The key is to include sustainability among the parameters to be considered in the project itself.

Software such as Twproject, which offers statistics and overviews to suit every need, can help to easily measure factors such as the impact of projects.

In addition, its accurate and precise cost-benefit management enables the precise calculation of risks and extra costs associated with sustainability actions, which, however, turn into opportunities if carefully planned.

If in fact the budget for contingencies related to environmental impact is calculated beforehand, this is much more cost effective than an unforeseen eventuality.

You can try Twproject for free for 15 days and discover how many useful tools it offers you to improve internal and external sustainability.

New targets, a new way of working.

 

Gantt: what it is and why it is key for projects

Why create a Gantt Chart? What is it and why is it important in projects?

If you are starting to immerse yourself in the world of project management, then you should familiarize yourself with this essential tool in this industry.

Its importance in the context of project management lies in its capability to help you organize activities logically and sequentially, identify dependencies between activities, allocate resources effectively, and keep track of overall project progress.

In this article, we will explore together what a Gantt chart is, why you should use it, and how Twproject can revolutionize your approach to project management.

Gantt Diagram: what is it?

The Gantt chart, which bears the name of its inventor, Henry Gantt, is a visual tool used in project management to portray activity planning over time.

This tool appears as a horizontal bar chart, where each bar stands for a specific project activity, its duration, as well as its planned start and end.

The key to the success of a Gantt chart lies in its power to provide an at-a-glance overview of the project’s progress, allowing project managers and team members to understand deadlines, dependencies between activities, and resource allocation easily.

It also facilitates the identification of potential schedule delays or conflicts, allowing real-time changes to be made to keep the project on track.

Thanks to its simplicity and effectiveness, the Gantt chart has become an indispensable tool for managing projects of any size and complexity, promoting clear communication and improving team efficiency.

Key elements of a Gantt chart

Gantt, with its user-friendly visual structure, comprises several key elements that make it easy to read and interpret. These elements are central to understanding at a glance the progress of a project, its timelines, and the relationships between the various activities.

Here are the key elements of a Gantt chart:

1. Horizontal bars

Horizontal bars are the most distinguishing element of a Gantt chart. Each bar represents a specific activity in the project, with the length of the bar expressing the duration of said task. The position of the bar along the time axis shows the expected start and end of that task.

2. Time axis

The upper or lower horizontal axis of the diagram shows the total time frame of the project, which is divided into time units (days, weeks, months). This axis makes it possible to visualize when activities should begin and end, providing an overview of the project timeline.

3. Activity list

On the left-hand side of the diagram, there is a list of all activities planned in the project. These are usually arranged in sequential or logical order and can be grouped by phases or work areas, making it easier to understand the structure of the project.

4. Milestones

Milestones are visual indicators, often represented by symbols, that mark critical points or significant objectives within the project. They have no duration but mark key moments such as the completion of a critical stage or the delivery of a deliverable.

5. Dependencies between activities

Dependencies show relationships between activities, indicating how the completion of one activity influences the start or completion of another. These are often expressed by arrows or lines connecting the bars, highlighting the logical sequence of activities and their interdependencies.

6. Activity progress

Some Gantt charts provide a visual representation of task progress, with partially filled-in bars to indicate how much of the task has been completed. This makes it easy to compare the actual progress with the original planning.

7. Allocated resources

In more detailed versions of the diagram, it may also be specified who is ultimately responsible for each activity or what resources have been allocated. This element helps to manage human and material resources better, ensuring that each activity has the necessary resources to be completed.

8. Colours and codes

Using different colors or codes can help to quickly differentiate between different activity categories, project phases, or priority levels. This design element further increases the diagram’s readability, allowing an immediate understanding of the project status.

These key elements make the Gantt chart an extremely powerful tool for planning and monitoring projects, providing a clear and understandable view of progress and facilitating resource and time management.

Why use the Gantt Chart in project management

After having shed some light on what a Gantt is and what it is about, let’s take a look at its benefits.

Using a Gantt chart in project management is not just a matter of convention or convenience – it is a strategic choice that brings with it many significant advantages. This tool proves to be vital in tackling the complex challenges of modern project management, thanks to its ability to simplify the planning and monitoring of activities. Now let’s take a look at why the Gantt chart is so valuable:

  • Clarity and immediate grasp: The first and arguably most apparent advantage of the Gantt chart is its visual clarity. The graphical portrayal of activities on a time scale makes the duration of each activity, overlaps, dependencies, and margins for flexibility immediately obvious. This helps all team members to quickly understand how their work fits into the larger project context, facilitating planning and self-organization.
gantt chart twproject

  • Better internal communication: The transparency offered by the Gantt chart improves communication within the team significantly. Each member can visualize not only their own activities but also how these relate to the work of others. This promotes a sense of collective responsibility for the project and helps to prevent misunderstandings or overlooking deadlines and priorities.
  • Time management optimization: By visualizing durations and dependencies between activities, Gantt charts help project managers optimize resource allocation and time planning. By pre-emptively identifying potential conflicts or overload periods in advance, it is possible to redistribute resources or revise deadlines to keep the project on schedule.
  • Facilitazione della pianificazione e del monitoraggio: Gantt chart is not only a planning tool but also a monitoring tool. It makes it easy to compare the actual progress of the project with the original planning, highlighting any delays or deviations. This is crucial for taking timely corrective action and ensuring that the project stays on track.
  • Decision support: when facing uncertainty or needing to make quick decisions, the Gantt chart provides a robust basis of objective information. Visibility into how various activities affect each other helps managers assess the consequences of any changes, supporting informed and strategic decision-making.
  • Versatility and adaptability: The Gantt chart is fit for projects of all sizes and industries. Its versatility makes it a precious tool for project managers working in diverse contexts, always offering a solid support structure for project management.

Gantt Chart: Which software to choose?

Beginners often resort to Excel for project management, mainly because it is familiar and seemingly simple. However, this choice can prove counterproductive.

Despite being a powerful tool for data processing, Excel is not optimized for project management and presents several limitations that can compromise effective project planning and monitoring (learn more here).

Evaluating project management software is a pivotal process to ensure that the chosen tool aligns effectively with the needs of the team and the project.

Twproject stands out as the best software on the market for creating Gantt charts for several key reasons that meet the needs of project managers.

These aspects make it well suited for those seeking not only to plan activities effectively but also to monitor project progress in real time, manage resources efficiently, and facilitate collaboration between team members.

Here’s why Twproject is the right choice:

1. User-friendly and customizable interface

Twproject offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to create and manage Gantt charts.

Users can easily add, edit, and arrange tasks, sub-projects, and milestones with just a few clicks. Advanced customization allows the Gantt to be adapted to the specific needs of the project, improving readability and understanding of the project status by all team members.

2. Advanced dependency management

Unlike other tools that offer limited functionality, Twproject makes detailed management of dependencies between activities possible.

This includes the option of defining complex relationships, such as flexible dependencies, which better reflect the dynamic nature of modern projects, allowing for more realistic and flexible planning.

3. Real-time collaboration

Twproject simplifies collaboration between team members by providing them access to the Gantt chart, viewing assignments, updating task status, and sharing documents in a centralized environment.

This considerably improves communication within the team and with stakeholders, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and accelerating the decision-making process.

4. Monitoring and reporting

Managers enjoy powerful tools for monitoring project progress and generating detailed reports. This way, they have a clear picture of the project’s progress, identify any delays or problems at an early stage, and make informed decisions to keep the project on track.

5. Efficient resource management

In resource management, Twproject offers powerful functionalities for allocating and monitoring human, financial, and material resources. Users can easily overview resource availability, prevent overloads, and optimize resource allocation to maximize project efficiency.

6. Scalability

Twproject is designed to fit projects of all sizes and complexities, making it a scalable solution that can grow with your business. No matter whether managing a single project or coordinating a portfolio of multiple projects, Twproject offers the functionality and flexibility to manage projects in different scenarios effectively.

Making a Gantt chart with Twproject is an easy and intuitive process, so you can focus on what matters: successfully completing your project.

Remember, the key for a project manager is not only knowing the right tools but also knowing how to use them at the right time.

Twproject is here to guide you through every step of your journey, making project management a smooth and rewarding experience.

Plan your projects with Twproject

Why choose a project management software in your language

Managing a project effectively is a complex task. It requires a lot of time and high capacity. This is why the implementation of a project management software possibly in the mother tongue simplifies the process.

This implementation becomes more and more essential, if we consider that companies have goals to achieve that can also be taken as a reference point to measure the overall level of success and growth.

The value in purely economic terms of the organization also depends on success, growth, and efficiency. It is clear that if a project management software can be simply used by all members of the team, it can facilitate the achievement of goals, becoming an indispensable resource for the company itself.

An effective general management of the project cannot depend only on the skill of the Project Manager in managing tasks and resources, but also depends on the possibility that the Team has to feel supported, to interact, and to check individual and group progress. All this and much more can be achieved only with the use of a good software in the mother tongue of the Team that helps the PM managing the entire project and the Team to carry it out.

Project management software and its advantage

Since managing a project is a complex and time-consuming process, streamlining it using a project management system is a valuable solution that can be applied to an increasing number of projects and organizations.

The main purpose of the project management software is to assist the team in planning and monitoring the project, taking into account the resources, components, and overall stakeholders.
This investment is economically advantageous in the long term, if we consider the amount that the company could lose with poor project management and if, as already mentioned, we consider the added value that the company has for every goal achieved.

Companies that are not yet using project management softwares are likely to do more work with less profits. This is due to the time wasted on adjustment activities.

If these activities have already been taken into consideration in advance and are already planned, the project manager, with his team, will have more time to concentrate on the fundamental operations for completing of the project.

Here are some reasons why a project management software is useful for organizations of any size:

Scheduling and planning of activities

Detailed scheduling of activities with dependencies and milestones in the Twproject gantt diagram


Without a computerized system, it can be difficult for the team to meet deadlines due to the lack of a fixed guideline on what should be done, by whom and by when.

Even the overall visualization of the tasks to be performed helps. Time is lost when employees show up for work without knowing the tasks they should do.
The use of a software outlines the activities and makes them visible and clear to everyone in real time.

Setting deadlines and priorities, together with planning, avoids misunderstandings and overlaps of activities and schedules.
In fact, some of the indispensable functionalities in a project management software are a synchronized and shared team calendar that provides an overview of everything. 

The Gantt chart is a tool that easily shows the timing of steps and milestones and also allows you to see the assignees of each individual task and the overall progress.

It is particularly useful if it has sufficient elasticity to realistically reflect the progress of project phases and the correlation between them.

Resource workload with coloured Gantt charts

Management of the resources needed for the project

Resource management is another reason why a project management software is useful.

Managing resources efficiently is important to ensure the proper functioning of the project activities and phases. Good management of the workflow does not waste anyone’s time.

This feature describes the resources that will be used and when they will be used.

Knowing the materials that will be used in a project allows you to work smoothly without blockings caused by a missing tool or equipment.

The calculation of the use of a resource must also be present. This allows, in a cost saving perspective, not to forget certain resources and to avoid their excessive use.

It is clear that this leads to a reduction in expenses and ensures the payment of resources only when they are really needed and used.

Calculating resource utilisation with Twproject

Budget management

Each project comes with a budget that also counts contingencies and profit.

The goal of a project manager is to keep the actual cost below, or at least equal to the estimated cost, in order to maximize the profit earned by the company for the project.

To manage expenses efficiently, the simple creation of an Excel spreadsheet will not be enough.

In this case, some essential functions that a good PM software should have can be the monitoring of the time spent on the various activities. The monthly and weekly reports on expenses, a financial reporting dashboard and, in some cases, the automated billing option will become valuable references for the Project Manager.

Management of the project documentation

Many organizations use excel spreadsheets, others, probably the smallest, can even use pen and paper to track project progress.

However, these methods expose to potential errors. A research shows that 88% of the data in a spreadsheet contains errors that are alarming for organizations that use it as a reference tool for managing business operations.
The use of a project management software guarantees an accurate documentation based on the data collected in a detailed and methodical way.
A project management software can therefore definitely help you get the projects under control and and the team work moving in the right direction..

Collaboration within the work team

When managing a large project, each member of the team is designated with individual activities.

To ensure that everyone has the same focus, it is necessary to use a project management software to simplify team collaboration.

When a member has questions or concerns, he must immediately get the right answer by communicating internally to the team. He must communicate with the right people within the right project, without wasting time looking for other sources. Therefore, it is almost essential to have an internal chat within the software.

This reduces the time spent searching for answers

A chat also optimizes the sharing of documents, timelines and status updates to notify everyone of important information such as the amount of work done and how much time is left to complete it.

Some features not to be underestimated can be the possibility of file sharing, sharing of customer data, a chat for each project integrated in the system, and a dashboard for each team that provides an overview of the progress of each single piece within the project.

The choice of a project management software in the mother tongue

In short, thanks to a project management software, it is possible to maintain the management of the group and the project.

But this can only be done if all the members of the Team will be able to use it to its full potential. And how will all this be possible if not all the members of the team fully understand the language of the software?

When choosing a project management software, the language is often underestimated, while playing a key role instead.

Having a software available is certainly important, but it’s not just about having it… You also need to know how to use it and make it work.

There are some aspects related to team management that are strongly related to the language. They are aspects that are a great part of the success or the inexpensiveness of a project.

The software, in the realization of a project, is an almost indispensable resource, and for this reason is important to use a project management software with a multilingual version or a project management software that contemplates the mother tongue.

Certainly, many project managers will understand English, given the amount of foreign terms in the sector.

However, when we talk about other collaborators and team members who have to deal with the system, the situation changes. It is essential to make sure that the chosen software is available in the mother tongue.

It would not be nice if, due to a bad interpretation of a term, the workflow of a given project was somehow interrupted. Interpretation is the enemy of efficiency.

Choosing a project management software in native or multilingual language is essential to ensure the use of the software itself. If the team finds a pleasant environment, where the barriers to use are not present, it will definitely be more inclined to use the tool. Clearly, this will guarantee a constantly updated and performed project.

But there are other aspects related to the language that have to be taken into consideration. Let’s see them together.

Support

Assistance must also be an aspect consider when choosing a software.
In fact, if you choose a project management software in your mother tongue, you can also have mother tongue language support. Any need, any doubt will not leave room for interpretation, the understanding will be immediate and the intervention of the PM will not be necessary.

Integration

The software becomes a tool of great value if integrated with the production processes. For this reason, the language becomes strategic in allowing the team to switch from one application to another without having any kind of shock.

Cloud or Enterprise

When choosing a software with a multilingual version, it is essential to think about the evolving company.
Today, choosing whether to install the software or keep it in the cloud is a strategic choice, but it must not become a constraint.
Usually companies start with cloud projects and then evolve towards enterprise solutions. This is why it is necessary to start immediately with a project management software in Italian.
Only thanks to this choice, whatever the evolution of the company, the software can be enjoyed serenely and without barriers by the whole team.

Do you use a project management software? Are there certain fundamental benefits for you that we have not shown in this article? Share your opinion with us!

Twproject is in your language!

Gantt vs Agile: differences and combinations

Gantt vs Agile? Choosing between tools and methodologies in project management can significantly impact your project’s outcome.

Understanding the peculiarities of a planning tool such as Gantt and a dynamic methodology such as Agile is critical for project managers who strive to optimize processes and lead their work teams to success.

We will examine their differences, benefits, and potential combinations for effective project management.

Gantt vs Agile: key differences

The distinction between the Gantt chart and Agile is fundamentally rooted in their nature – the  Gantt chart is a visual tool for planning and monitoring project phases, visualizing the length and sequence of activities on a time axis.

Conversely, Agile provides a flexible and iterative methodology designed to adapt to quick changes and promote continuous feedback between development teams and customers.

This core difference strongly impacts how project managers approach the structuring, execution, and adaptation of their projects.

The choice between Gantt and Agile and the decision to integrate them depends on the nature of the given project, the work environment, customer requirements, and team culture. Understanding these key differences is pivotal for project managers who seek to implement the most effective strategy for managing their projects.

Let’s take a look at their key differences:

1. Approach to planning:

  • Gantt chart: It is based on detailed and sequential project planning. Activities are presented as colored bars on a chart, with clearly defined start and end dates. This approach provides a clear picture of the project and makes it easier to monitor progress; however, it can be inflexible and unsuitable for projects with variable requirements or in uncertain contexts.
  • Agile: It is based on an iterative and incremental approach. The project is broken down into short cycles (sprints) lasting 1-4 weeks; a working version of the product is released at the end. This approach promotes flexibility and adaptability to change, making it ideal for projects involving uncertain settings or requirements that may evolve over time.

2. Team involvement:

  • Gantt chart: The team’s involvement in the planning phase may be limited. The Gantt chart is often created by the project manager or a planning team, and the development team may only play a minor role in defining activities and timelines.
  • Agile: The Agile methodology focuses on team involvement and collaboration. The development team is actively involved in sprint planning, task estimation, and decision-making. This approach supports the empowerment and motivation of the team.

3. Change management:

  • Gantt chart: The Gantt chart is a strict tool that is not well-suited for frequent changes. Changing a single activity can have a chain effect on the whole project, requiring an update of the diagram and timetable.
  • Agile: Agile methodology is designed to manage change flexibly. The sprint structure allows the project schedule to be revised and adapted frequently, incorporating feedback received and any changes in requirements.

Gantt vs Agile: pros and cons

Gantt and Agile offer distinct approaches to project planning, execution, and control, and each has its unique strengths.

Exploring both advantages can help project managers choose the best approach for their unique project needs, balancing detailed planning with the ability to adapt quickly to evolving challenges.

Pros of the Gantt chart:

  • Detailed and accurate planning: Gantt provides a visual portrayal of the project plan, illustrating the duration, start, and end of each activity on a time axis. This way, project managers can plan in detail and easily understand the dependencies between different activities, ensuring that all teams are aware of the different activities.
  • Progress monitoring: Project managers can easily monitor progress compared to the original plan, quickly spotting any delays or deviations from the schedule.
  • Deadline orientation: The Gantt diagram is especially useful in projects with well-defined objectives and deadlines, where the sequence and duration of activities are clear from the get-go.
gantt chart dependences

Pros of the Agile methodology:

  • Short iterations and constant feedback: Agile is based on short development cycles, known as sprints, which make it possible to adapt quickly to changes and to incorporate feedback from customers or end users constantly.
  • Better risk management: It helps to recognize and mitigate potential problems in advance.
  • Collaboration and communication: The agile methodology emphasizes collaboration among team members and with customers, promoting open and frequent communication.
  • Adaptability to change: Unlike Gantt, Agile allows for changes even at the late stages of a project, making it ideal for projects in dynamic and rapidly changing environments where requirements may change over time.

Is it possible to combine Gantt and Agile?

Integrating Gantt and Agile in a hybrid approach to project management offers many benefits to project managers, allowing them to leverage both qualities to drive teams to success in an increasingly complex and dynamic working environment.

1. Strategic planning and operational flexibility

The combination of Gantt and Agile allows managers to set a thorough strategic plan, thanks to the Gantt chart’s visibility on project phases and milestones.

Likewise, implementing Agile principles ensures the operational flexibility needed to adapt to changes, enabling the team to respond proactively to project and market needs. This balance between planning and adaptability is critical in complex projects where conditions can change rapidly.

2. Progress monitoring and quick iterations

The hybrid approach makes it easy to monitor project progress effectively, combining the straightforwardness of Gantt’s linear progress with Agile’s ability to implement changes quickly through fast iterations.

Project managers can, therefore, assess project progress concerning the original plan while preserving the flexibility to make corrections or adjustments based on feedback received during sprints.

3. Better communication and customer involvement

By integrating Gantt and Agile, project managers promote better communication within their teams and with customers.

Whereas Gantt provides a clear and understandable roadmap for all stakeholders, Agile supports continuous customer involvement, ensuring the final product is as close to expectations as possible.

This hybrid approach ensures that decisions are made with a full understanding of the project context, improving customer satisfaction and team effectiveness.

4. Resource optimization and efficiency

The combination of Gantt and Agile helps project managers optimize resource use, assigning tasks and priorities more effectively.

Thanks to Gantt’s in-depth planning and Agile’s flexibility, workloads can be balanced, resources can be allocated according to the evolving needs of the project, and waste can be reduced, increasing the team’s overall efficiency.

5. Response to change and innovation

Ultimately, the hybrid approach helps project managers to respond more effectively to change by using the Gantt structure to keep the project on track and the Agile methodology to integrate new ideas and innovations.

This improves the project’s ability to adapt to emerging challenges and promotes a working environment focused on innovation and continuous improvement.

Twproject: the ultimate solution for Gantt and Agile

Twproject stands out in the project management industry thanks to its superior solution that effectively integrates Gantt and Agile.

This tool is designed to simplify project management, making activity planning and monitoring more user-friendly, extremely flexible, and adaptable to different work contexts.

Twproject’s Gantt Chart is known as one of the best on the market for several reasons.

First and foremost, its user-friendliness does not come at the expense of power and versatility. Customers choose Twproject for its clear graphs, ease of monitoring project progress, and advanced features, such as visualization of task dependencies and real-time resource management.

The platform offers a wide range of dynamic features, including:

  • Real-time resource allocation: Twproject provides an easy way to monitor and modify resource allocations, quickly identifying any over or under-allocations.
  • Management of flexible working hours: It offers the option of setting customized work schedules for each team member, ensuring accurate work capacity planning.
  • Project status supervision: Through dedicated dashboards, Twproject provides a real-time view of project progress, making it easier to detect any critical issues.
  • Sharing and communication: The platform emphasizes the importance of communication in project management, providing tools for easy sharing of ideas, documents, and feedback.
  • Task planning and management: This software blends planning management with Gantt and task entry for the whole team, bringing projects closer to the day-to-day work of the resources.

Twproject‘s adaptability to different working methods, its user-friendly interface, and powerful features make it a must-have tool for project managers who want to optimize their project management, improving team communication and overall efficiency.

Plan your projects with Twproject

Gantt charts for a project: productive advantage or disadvantage?

Gantt charts for projects are the essential weapon of the Project Manager, but they can be extremely useful and effective even for anyone who wants to organize their activities in a structured way.

This planning tool appeared in the early twentieth century and has since been widely used for project planning.

The main reason for the success of the Gantt charts is their simplicity and the focus on the quick visualization of the activities.

Gantt charts are also an excellent way to plan the project in a temporal way, allowing to define roles, responsibilities and effective use of resources.

In fact, they provide an immediate vision of how to develop and structure the project and act as a guideline to the end.

What is a Gantt chart?

The Gantt chart, also called scheduled bar chart, is a tool for panning a set of activities that, generally, are part of a single, more complex project.

On the horizontal axis there is the time span, whose unit of measurement depends on the project calendar – days, weeks, months, etc. – while on the vertical axis we find the list of the various activities.

Each task forms a coloured bar that goes from the start date to the end of the activity.

Once all the activities have been inserted, there is a visual scheme of how the project is structured, which tasks come first, which ones overlap and which ones happen later.

The resources that carry out every single activity are easily identifiable.

With such a graphic structure, it is easy to understand, at first glance, if the processes are taking place on schedule and if the progress of the project is in line with the scheduled deadline.

mobile app gantt Twproject

Many software have, in the Gantt, their sore point because the Gantt is not very effective or even non-existent.

Only some software, including Twproject, allow not only to obtain a Gantt chart of the project that is easy to read, but also to get even more details, indicating for example:

  • the resource assigned to a given activity;
  • if the resource works full-time or part-time;
  • how much work has been done and remains to be done;
  • the cost associated with each activity.

optimised workload management in Gantt with Twproject

What are the advantages of the Gantt chart?

As a company we think that the Gantt chart, if well structured and managed, can bring various benefits to the management of a project.

Here is a list of advantages that this system inevitably presents.

The Advantages of Gantt: Visualization

The Gantt chart allows to clearly visualize the workflow and the project structure.

When we insert the various tasks, or analyse the schema after inserting them, we can immediately realize any inconsistencies.

The linear scheme allows you to understand in advance if you will face potential organizational or technical problems and allows you to prepare in advance.

The distribution of the activities allows to identify the intermediate goals and to understand if the project is in line with the schedule or not.

clear and organised workflow visualisation with Twproject Gantt chart

The Advantages of Gantt: Flexibility

As already mentioned, an advantage of the Gantt chart is to clearly show the start and end date of a given activity.

The timing of each task will be set after a direct comparison with the managers of each sector, in order to have a realistic value.

For this reason, the Gantt chart is also useful for the feasibility analysis of a project.

Once the entire project structure is set up, it makes no sense to run to complete certain steps before the set date – unless there is really a valid reason – as this may be reflected in the lack of completeness and / or accuracy.

If you have agreed on a certain date speaking to the direct responsible, it means that this is the time necessary to carry out the work correctly and completely.

Forcing time would affect the quality of work.

flexibility of dependencies in Twproject's Gantt chart

The Advantages of Gantt: Efficiency

These charts allow an intelligent and effective use of resources.

It becomes really difficult for the resources to be reliable when they are grappling with too many processes and find themselves submerged.

All conflicts and problems that follow an overload of tasks can lead to a definitive blockage of the whole project and, inevitably, to its failure.

Using Gantt charts as a project planning tool gives you an overview of the project timeline so you can easily see where and when a particular resource is busy.

So, it is possible to allocate resources in such a way not to slow down or block the activities.

Once a process comes to an end, you can transfer the resource to another activity.

The Advantages of Gantt: Motivation

Gantt charts are great for morale!

Probably we all had those days where we felt completely lost and submerged from work and projects and we could no longer see the direction in which we were going.

In this case, the Gantt chart can be a valid psychological aid.

Looking at the diagram, in fact, you can immediately see how activities are taking place and how each process leads to the completion of the entire project.

It is a very effective method to raise morale and motivate the team.

Moreover, seeing the achievement of a goal – however small it may be – is still a gratification. It allows to concentrate, step by step, on the different blocks of activity without feeling disoriented by a project that can be long and complex.

The Advantages of Gantt: Communication

Gantt charts are not just a useful tool for planning the project.

Team members can use these diagrams to see where they are in the project, what they need to complete certain tasks and the inputs they need.

The project diagram shows them exactly who they should contact and who they should collaborate with during each phase.

This makes them able to communicate better not only with each other, but also with the Project Manager.

Thanks to the Gantt charts, it is also possible to help improve cohesion, communication and understanding of and in the team.

Create your Gantt now

Contact us for a tailored demo and find out how to use Twproject’s interactive Gantt

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The aspects (disadvantages) of the Gantt chart to keep under control!

As with any high performance tool, even for the Gantt Chart, there are some aspects to monitor.

Aspects that if not properly managed could result in real disadvantages.

Let’s list briefly the aspects to pay attention to, so that everyone can make his evaluations:

  • It can become extraordinarily complex. Except for the simplest projects, a Gantt chart will present a large number of activities and resources used to complete the project. There are special software that can handle all this complexity. However, when the project reaches this level, it must be managed by a small number of people, or often by one, able to handle all the details. Large companies often employ one or more prepared Project Managers. In companies not used to this type of management, this may not work as it should.
  • The size of the bar does not indicate the amount of work. Each bar on the graph indicates the period of time in which a given activity will be completed. However, by observing the bar, it is not possible to determine what level of engagement we need to complete these tasks. For example, a short bar could take 500 hours, while a longer bar could take only 20 hours.
  • The length of a bar in fact indicates the timing of a given activity and not its complexity in terms of working hours.
  • It needs constant updates. After starting the project, things can change. If you use a Gantt chart, you need to be able to change the chart easily and frequently.
  • Difficult to see on a single sheet of paper. The software that allows you to manage these graphics are mostly suited to a computer screen and are not meant to be printed. It therefore becomes difficult to show the details of the plan to a broad audience. It is certainly possible to print the chart, but this normally involves a job of “cutting and pasting” of the individual pieces, rather expensive in terms of time.

Bottom line

To sum up, in the context of project management it is essential to have a clear view of the beginning of activities and how they develop as the project progresses.

We have seen how using a Gantt chart helps team members visualise not only when individual activities begin and end, but also how they intersect and influence the final outcome of the project.

All in all, the biggest advantage of the Gantt chart is the pure simplicity and the clear overview of the activities and their duration.

This makes it ideal for projects where facilitated access to all relevant information is required and where these should be easily understood by all those involved in the project.

This is why we thought of an evolution of the Twproject Gantt.

We have, in fact, built a tool that can shape situations in real time and be easily modified over time.

Twproject’s focus is to capture the work done in real time, to guide the Project Manager during the entire project development.

Twproject includes an interactive Gantt that allows us to punctually assign resources to each phase. Thanks to this approach, we can monitor the progress of the project in all its parts with full transparency.

Our customers’ experience in this direction encourages us by providing us with guidance in future development.

Now it’s your turn, create your Gantt with Twproject and get a 15-day free trial!

Do you want to create your first Gantt?

How to successfully showcase a project: 6 key tips

Knowing how to deliver a project in the right way is key to the project manager’s success and ensures that they are credited for their professionalism.

Furthermore, it is obvious that a good presentation significantly increases the chances of approval.

Yet, and if you’ve been through this you know it well, how many times before the presentation of a project you are tormented by doubts and questions such as “What if I’m wrong?… What if I will bore the audience?… What if I will forget some important detail?… What if I won’t be able to answer a question?”

Whether in front of an audience of hundreds of people or before a small group, many speakers wonder how to present their projects successfully and are nervous before going in front of an audience.

No matter how high or low the stakes, here are six tips that will boost confidence and help engage the audience.

In this article, we want to give you 6 key tips to overcome fears and perfectly present a project.

How to successfully present a project: 1. Establish your credibility

The material presented won’t be considered meaningful and the audience won’t be impressed if the speaker can’t convince them of their credibility.

Even in the case of an expert with many qualifications, the audience may still “put up a wall” if they don’t trust the speaker.

Establishing credibility begins the very moment the speaker enters the room. Here are some tips:

  • Dress accordingly for the audience and situation so that your attire will not distract from your presentation.
  • Convey confidence through body language by standing upright, looking the audience in their eyes, and avoiding nervous tics like twitching your hands or clicking your pen.
  • At the beginning of the presentation, establish credibility by explaining what qualifies the presenter to present the project.
  • Ultimately, polish every aspect of the presentation ahead of time, from the use of high-quality images to speech practice.

How to successfully present a project: 2. Make the most out of your space

Moving around on a stage, in a classroom or conference room will not only make the speaker appear more in control of the situation and more confident about their presentation, it will also keep the audience more engaged by making their presentation more dynamic. At the same time, this doesn’t mean walking incessantly as too much movement can be distracting and disruptive.

How to successfully present a project: 3. Do not be afraid of silence

It is tempting to fill in any silence gaps by talking constantly, but by doing so you are not giving the audience enough time to internalize what you are presenting.

Talking too much and too fast can also give the impression of a nervous speaker. Allowing for pauses and some silence will help the audience assimilate and retain more information.

A trick, for example, is to pause after presenting a big problem or solution and let the weight of that information fall on the audience. Or, allow some visual elements of the presentation to speak for themselves when showing a significant image or important graphic.

With practice, silence can become an important ally in impressing an audience.

How to successfully present a project: 4. Don’t linger on mistakes

Mistakes happen and to err is human. Laptops can crash, devices can fail, or one might forget a few key phrases or concepts. Audiences are less likely to judge a speaker based on their mistakes and more likely to appreciate how that speaker picks up. Should an error occur, it is important not to linger on it and move on.

How to successfully present a project: 5. Use visual elements

Visual elements often can make or break a presentation, highlight project results or not be understood.

By using an interactive presentation tool, you can bring abstract ideas to life by synthesizing and visualizing concepts through images and video.The power of visual storytelling can transform complex concepts into easily understandable narratives. By harnessing the capabilities of free slideshow maker, you can seamlessly compile and edit your project and presentation videos, adding a professional touch that enhances your presentations.

Each time you include a visual element in a presentation though, you need to remember that the content of the presentation should be complementary to what is being said by the presenter and should not serve as the main act.

An example that should not be copied is that of speakers who do nothing more than read their presentation verbatim.

successfully showcase a project

How to successfully present a project: 6. Engage your audience

You need to engage the audience from the get go and keep the attention level high throughout your project presentation.

The beginning of the presentation is like the first page of a book. After that first line or paragraph, would the audience keep reading?

The audience can be engaged by presenting the problem which your presentation will attempt to address, sharing a personal anecdote, or making a connection to current events or other important issues encompassing the conversation on a broader level.

Once the audience has been captivated, their attention can be held through a dialogue with them or an interactive presentation. If it is appropriate to the situation, the speaker can ask questions and get the audience to interact and take an active part.

If you can make the audience feel like they are part of the presentation and not a passive element, they will most likely appreciate the presentation and the message will be remembered

Presentation skills aren’t something people are born with. Sure, some may be more gifted than others, but despite the naturalness with which some speakers may seem comfortable in front of an audience, even the most talented speakers usually practice a lot.

Preparing for a presentation, which begins with the research and gathering of material and information about the target group to the creation of the presentation, gets easier as experience and routine increase.

Like all things, the more often you face the challenge of speaking in front of an audience, the easier it will be to avoid making mistakes in the future.

How a project management software can help you presenting your project

Project progress, delivery times, costs, commitment of resources, data turning around your project are so many and being able to show them effectively without boring your audience can be tricky.  Of course, you can help yourself with tools such as Excel sheets and charts but having a project management software to help you can show the results of the project in real time.

Project management software can show your Gantt and how it has changed in time.

The load of your resources and the progress of the work done in addition to the project costs and all the attached documentation. Comprehensive statistics can help you highlight any problems encountered by being sure to show updated data at each meeting!

Still in doubt? Well, you can try yourself with a free demo.

The project baseline and the measurement of the variables

The project baseline is an “instant photo” of the project taken at its initial moment.

The goal of the project baseline is to see how far actual results have deviated from the initial reference plan.

In project management, it is essential to establish a baseline with clearly defined requirements, an accurate cost structure, and planning estimates, before the project execution and monitoring start.

All this must be completely defined and documented before the actual activities of the project begin.

In the baseline, the following elements of a project are included:

  • Scope
  • Timelines
  • Costs
  • Resources
  • Risks
  • Quality

Project Manager and project baseline

The project manager must examine the deviations from the project baseline when the work is done and throughout the project life cycle.

After the planning process is completed, this plan is agreed by all stakeholders and everyone expects the actual results to match the planned ones.

The role of the project manager is to verify during the execution of the project, if there is any variation from the baseline, in any element mentioned above.

If an event occurs that causes the project budget to be exceeded, for example, or if there is a risk that will cause the project to be delayed, corrective and preventive actions must be taken.

The project baseline can be changed, but it is not an easy process. These changes can be complex and require careful consideration.

In fact, the baseline should allow to verify how much the project is in line with the initial planning.

If a baseline changes too frequently and there are too many deviations from it, this can be considered misleading.

Therefore, in the real world, the baseline of the project is generally modified only if an important request for modification is approved and only with the recognition of the sponsor of the project.

These changes are considered and approved through a specific process, in which the impacts on the project are assessed.

If a change is approved by the control committee, first its impacts are reported in the project plan and, next, the modification can be implemented.

Deviations from the project baseline are often due to incomplete or incorrect risk identification.

There may be a deviation from the baseline of the project, for example, if the cost of an activity or article exceeds the planned values, or if an activity takes more time than the planned duration.

Why is the project baseline important?

Establishing a baseline allows the project manager to evaluate performance and resource optimisation for the duration of a project.

If a project is behind schedule or above budget, it is time to make changes to the baseline or add more resources.

A technique often used by project managers to measure and compare the performance of a project with its baseline, is the following calculation:

Planned Value (PV) = The estimated cost of the planned work

Actual Value (AV) = Actual cost of work done up to the current date

Effective Value (EV) = Planned Value (PV) x % of project completion

Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV / PV , measures progress made up to the current date with respect to the initially planned progress.

When SPI <1, less work than expected has been done.

When SPI> 1, more work than expected has been done.

Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV / AV , measures the value of completed work compared to the planned labor cost.

Finally, baseline determination helps with the accuracy of future estimations. This allows the project manager to get a better idea of how long it will take to complete the project and at what costs.

Estimated at Completion (EAC) = (total project budget) / CPI

EAC is a forecast of how much the overall project will cost, so that it is possible to approximate the correct allocation of resources.

Maintaining an accurate record of current project estimates and actual results allows estimates to be applied to similar future projects.

How to check the status of the baseline

 The check of the progress of the project with respect to the baseline, must follow specific procedures that are established even before starting the execution of the project.

Effective control is possible when these elements are defined:

  • Performance assessment standards and criteria
  • Data collection system
  • Frequency of monitoring, ie. when the checks must be carried out
  • Frequency of reporting
  • Approval process for the new programming
  • Stakholders communication plan.

Practices to follow for optimal calculation and good control of the project baseline

 Let’s see the “modus operandi” to set, track and maintain an optimal project baseline.

 1. Setting of the original baseline

At the beginning of any project, it is very important to set a baseline that represents the starting point of the work. This is a useful method to document the change of various parameters of a project. The goal of setting a baseline is to avoid rewriting its parameters, but eventually just adding new ones. The experience of the project manager in this operation has a very important role.

2. Keep track of previous baselines

As the project progresses, surely the project manager will have to make changes. However, before any change, it is important to save a history of the previous baselines so that it is possible to access the previous baselines for comparisons and restore changes, if necessary.

3. Maintenance of a baseline

Once a change has been approved, it is time to update the forecast by adding the new scope, deadlines, and approved changes. Keeping an accurate record of updates and changes to the baseline allows the project manager to keep the project in line with the new requirements.

In order for the project to be successful, a structured control system becomes fundamental, as well as a good initial planning.

In addition, a project manager must be able to manage contingencies and any changes that may occur during the life cycle of a project.

The control must not only be limited to reporting the changes and rescheduling the activities planned for the future. Instead, control must be a proactive process in which project managers try to anticipate problems.

The project manager must therefore have a continuous and detailed view of the project and must communicate continuously with the project team and with stakeholders.

Managing the project baseline with project management software

Managing projects with a project management software is clearly simpler, but if the software also manages the baselines, even the subsequent analysis will be simpler.
Twproject records every change on your project and allows you to scroll through the whole story in a simple and visually impactful way, thanks to its timeline, managing to get to the starting point to analyze everything that has happened: every time the budget has been exceeded, the hours estimate, time, any correction and advancement.

move timeline

Thanks to this, a project manager can refer to different baselines and it is important that he has an adequate control system available.

A good project software like Twproject that keeps track of project timings and deliverables, can certainly give a big help in the control of the project baseline, too.

Manage your projects effectively with Twproject

One try is worth a million words.

Gantt chart in Excel: what are the limitations?

The Gantt chart in Excel can be compared to one created in project management software? You will find out shortly by continuing to read.

As you well know, the Gantt chart is a central tool in project management for visualizing the progress of every task.

Project managers often rely on Excel to create these charts, using horizontal bars to portray the series of data relating to tasks’ start and end dates.

Still, what are the limitations of a Gantt in Excel? Let’s analyze them below.

6 limitations in using Excel for a Gantt chart

1.    Static and strict activity management

Excel was not designed specifically for project management (learn more here).

Excel’s spreadsheet format implies a static and strict management of activities using a Gantt chart. This poses several specific challenges, including:

  • Manual updates: Any changes regarding start or end dates, task lengths, or resource allocations must be filled in manually. For a dynamic project, where times and resources can change frequently, this process becomes cumbersome and error-prone.
  • Slow response to change: In Excel, responding quickly to changes is complex. If the end date of a task is postponed, project managers must manually update all dependent tasks. This process is prone to omission mistakes, which can cause inaccurate time and resource estimates.
  • Lack of automation: Since there are no automation capabilities specific to project management, task planning becomes time-consuming, lacking the possibility of quick and automatic adjustments in response to project variations.
gantt excel

2.  Complexity in visualizing dependencies

In a Gantt diagram, it is critical to visualize dependencies between tasks.

Dependencies are vital in any project – they state how the delay or acceleration of one task affects the others. Excel presents significant limitations in this regard:

  • Manual mapping: Dependencies must be mapped manually in Excel, often using comments or complex cell organization. This counter-intuitive method makes it difficult for team members to visualize how activities are interconnected quickly.
  • Complicated updates: When a dependency changes, the project manager must find and manually update each reference. This process is error-prone and highly inefficient, especially in projects with many interdependencies.

Limited visualization: Excel does not offer a straightforward way to visually distinguish between different dependencies (e.g., start-to-start, end-to-end, etc.). This limitation limits the project manager’s analysis and planning powers, and they must rely on external solutions to overcome this shortcoming.

3.  Limitations in scalability

Large projects can become particularly problematic in Excel.

As the number of tasks and team members increases, the file becomes heavier and takes longer to manage. This limitation in scalability can make it difficult to manage complex projects efficiently.

4. Lack of real-time collaboration

Collaboration is a major aspect of project management.

Excel does not support real-time collaboration, so team members cannot simultaneously work on the same file.

This limitation makes it difficult to communicate and update information in real-time, which is crucial in a dynamic working environment.

Collaborating on an Excel project typically requires sending the file via email or uploading it to a shared drive. This approach can lead to confusion about which version of the file is the most up-to-date and increase the risk of unintentional overwriting.

Moreover, with no way to work on the same file simultaneously, team members must wait for one person to complete their work and update the file before another can start. This considerably slows down the process of updating and revising the project.

Also, it is difficult to track who made what changes and when. This lack of traceability can lead to difficulties in managing accountability and understanding the history of changes made to the project.

5. Lack of specific features

Excel does not offer specific project management features such as task progress tracking, alarms for upcoming deadlines, or integration with external tools.

This lack makes it difficult to perform comprehensive and detailed project management.

6. Difficulties in customization and interpretation

As mentioned, creating a Gantt chart in Excel that is visually clear and easy to interpret can be challenging.

Customizing and interpreting Gantt charts in Excel pose unique challenges, particularly for large teams or complex projects:

  • Advanced customization: To adapt a Gantt chart to the specific requirements of a project, users often have to resort to complex manual solutions, such as modifying formulas, editing conditional format bars, or creating macros.

This requires some advanced skills in Excel, which not all team members may possess.

  • Visual clarity: Keeping visual clarity in a Gantt chart can be tricky in Excel.  

With no dedicated tools, differentiating between different project phases, task priorities, or progress states requires significant effort for visual customization, which may not be intuitive or easily interpreted by all team members.Data interpretation: Gantt charts in Excel can be difficult for team members of different skill levels to interpret. Without a clear and accessible presentation of information, communication, and understanding of the project status can be compromised.

Overcome Excel’s limitations with Twproject

Over time, using Excel to create Gantt charts has proven severely limiting, especially when managing complex projects that require effective collaboration between team members.

Twproject is a project management software that includes many advanced and integrative features.

The software creates a dynamic and interactive Gantt chart, which supports detailed task planning and real-time management of resources, task dependencies, and milestones.

gantt chart twproject

Also, Twproject allows Gantt and ToDo lists to be visualized simultaneously, making it easier to manage tasks and their allocation during project meetings. This integration provides a complete overview of the project, improving communication between team members and leading to more effective workload management.

In Twproject‘s latest release, we have introduced flexible dependencies in the Gantt chart to allow greater flexibility in planning activities.

These flexible dependencies allow overlaps and downtimes between project phases to be managed more realistically, better reflecting the dynamic nature of modern projects.

The option of intuitively modifying dependencies and managing the elasticity of project phases is a marked improvement over the rigidity of diagrams produced with Excel.

Moreover, Twproject stands out for its ability to provide a project overview that includes planned activities and actual progress, thanks to the automatic updating of data within the Gantt.

This is key to keeping all team members up-to-date on project progress and making timely decisions based on accurate information.

Twproject is the ultimate solution for project managers, providing a more integrated and dynamic approach to project management.

Its state-of-the-art functionalities and user-friendly interface make it an indispensable tool for successful project management.

Still in doubt? Well, you can try yourself with a free demo.

Project management plan: what it is for and how to make it

With no adequate project management plan, your business will be vulnerable to chaotic management, vague objectives, inadequate resources, and frustrated employees.

As a matter of fact, unrealistic planning results in high risks that produce poor quality results from high costs.

This is why it is so important to make a comprehensive project management plan before the work begins.

In this article we will take a look at what a management plan is, what it is for, and how to implement it.

What is a project management plan?

The project manager creates the project management plan based on input gathered from the project team and key stakeholders.

A project management plan is a formal document that outlines how a project will be executed, monitored and controlled.

As work moves forward, project performance is benchmarked compared to the performance measurement baseline included in the project management plan.

Should a deviation from the baseline occur while the work is in progress, the project manager needs to address it by making adjustments to correct it.

If these adjustments should fail to correct the deviations, formal baseline change requests become mandatory.

Project managers spend a great deal of time ensuring the achievement of objectives., ensuring that all stakeholders get the hoped-for benefits.

As well as proper planning, a project manager’s skills also consist of efficiently controlling the project and ensuring that project deliverables are on time and that the project proceeds according to the project management plan.

How to make a project management plan

There is no unique model that works for all projects.

Each management plan must be tuned to the given industry and project circumstances.

Yet, typically, here is how a management plan is made:

1. Identify the goal of your project

To build anything meaningful, the first step is to lay the right foundation. Here are the questions you need to ask:

  • Why is this project being created?
  • What is the goal?
  • How will it be measured?
  • What is a successful scenario?
  • How will this affect stakeholders?

2. Trace the framework

This following step must detail how things will proceed and what the project will look like once it has started.

It is critical that a project does not overstretch otherwise the team will never achieve its goals.

The scope of the project should include deliverables and scheduling of results; in fact, all team members should know what is to be delivered and when.

3. Visually trace your project

A thoughtfully crafted project schedule is the key to success.

Without this, your project will likely collapse into a chaos of missed deadlines, mismanagement, and frustration.

In this case, planning tools such as the Gantt chart and time sequences can streamline the creation of amanagement plan.

Viewing schedules through the Gantt

By visually outlining each activity in the project, it will allow for faster addition of important milestones and search for any dependencies or conflicts.

4. Identify the structure of your project team

Assembling a team and aligning them with your project vision is not so simple.

This can only be achieved through good communication, which is why good project documentation is paramount.

An organizational chart can help include some necessary information such as team hierarchy, everyone’s responsibilities, and contact information for each member.

5. Risk management

A key task of a project manager is to pinpoint the factors that could potentially jeopardize your project, and devise solutions to address them.

A risk management plan typically begins by listing all the elements of a project, and then a risk breakdown structure allows to organize them both hierarchically and by category.

With a dynamic and always up-to-date project monitoring tool like Twproject, the project manager will be able to keep an eye on any critical aspect of project progress.

the summary of the project status to carry out the project management plan

This will make it easier to find them, manage them, and figure out a quicker solution.

6. Plan communication

One thing that project managers often overlook is having a  communication management plan. This outlines how the project team will communicate with stakeholders.

Too often, by default, project communication consists in ad hoc emails or last-minute meetings, but we can prevent this by planning ahead by drafting a structured communication plan.

This form of reporting is valuable for providing regular communication of clear and consistent updates about project progress.

This can also help in detecting and flagging problems before they arise, build trust with stakeholders, and make it easier to reflect on project performance.

Therefore, it becomes clear how a project management plan is key for a successful project, as it will be able to drive work and keep it on track.

Who can help you make a good project management plan

As previously mentioned, there are a number of management plan templates based on your industry, company culture, and project type.

In this case, a good, comprehensive, feature-rich project management tool, can help in choosing the best plan template and drafting a complete and comprehensive document.

This way, the project manager will be able to ensure that actual progress stays on track with planned progress.

If you choose Twproject, planning will be much easier, thanks to its dynamic tools for calculating risk, workload, and budget.

Thanks to its statistics pages and notifications you can always have the situation under control and carry out your management plan in a pleasant and satisfying way.

We offer you a 15-day free trial as well as our efficient support service that will personally guide you through the composition of your plan. What are you waiting for? Start now!

Manage your projects with Twproject.

 

Swot analysis of a project, how to do it and why

A project SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that project managers can use to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their projects.

In addition, this analysis will allow for the identification of opportunities and threats that may need to be addressed during the project life cycle.

Incorporating SWOT analysis into project management can help improve planning, reduce risk, and increase overall project success.

What does SWOT mean?

A SWOT analysis is a technique that companies often use to evaluate four critical aspects of their organization.

This analysis can help companies better understand how successful they are likely to be and what areas they should improve.

Just as entrepreneurs and executives use a SWOT analysis to evaluate their company, project managers can use the same technique to assess their projects.

Here is an overview of the four areas of interest that make up the SWOT acronym and how they apply to project management:

  • S – Strengths: These are internal factors, i.e., factors that can generally be controlled, that determine the success of a project. An example might be good project management software or experienced team members.
  • W – Weaknesses: Weaknesses are internal factors that can make it difficult for a project to succeed. For example, when the team has never worked together, and several members are new and inexperienced. Other internal weaknesses could be disengaged stakeholders or lack of project funding.
  • O – Opportunities: Opportunities are external, uncontrollable factors that could help the project succeed. These opportunities may be current but not yet exploited or future. An example might be a discount on goods from a supplier.
  • T – Threats: These are external factors that could harm the project if they occur. As with opportunities, they can be current or future threats. For example, a threat could be the failure of a major supplier or customer, or increased costs of supplies, materials, or contractors.

What is the purpose of a SWOT analysis?

SWOT-analysis helps the project manager plan the project and considers the factors that can help or hinder its success.

In fact, the goal is to find risk areas and controllable factors that need to be paid attention to and monitored throughout the project.

When you fully understand a project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can plan a successful strategy that addresses these four factors.

Conducting a SWOT analysis can help produce new ideas for leveraging what the project manager and team do best and potential opportunities.

In addition, SWOT analysis also helps increase awareness of weaknesses and potential threats to the project so that you can defend against them.

the SWOT analysis

Who should do a SWOT analysis?

For a SWOT analysis to be effective, you need complete, accurate, and unbiased information.

Depending on the project’s scope, the team conducting the analysis should have a good overview of the organization and the business.

A project with a larger scope usually should involve a project leader with a higher position or an outside expert to perform the analysis.

In addition, a project with a greater impact on the entire company should involve multiple participants in different departments of the organization.

In general, creating a team with diverse perspectives is essential for a more accurate assessment.

Advantages of SWOT analysis

Companies should perform a SWOT analysis before committing to any action or project plan.

In this way, they can answer questions such as “is it possible to do the project?” or “should we do the project?”.

SWOT analysis provides teams and organizations with the following benefits:

  • Create honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Provides new perspectives on the company and its business.
  • Provides information on how to maximize what is available, address limitations, make additional investments, and avoid risk.
  • Create supporting documents for the project plan.
  • Provides an effective strategic planning tool when performed regularly.

Examples of SWOT analysis

A medical startup wants to develop and commercialize a noninvasive, optically-based blood glucose monitor in this example.

This company wants to offer patients a better way to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels without painfully pricking their fingers using traditional home electronic glucose meters.

So, let’s see what the SWOT analysis looks like in this case.

Strengths:

  • The company has patents on its optical blood glucose monitor technology.
  • The technology and device are FDA approved.
  • The company has the support of industry experts with extensive experience regarding technology, including medicine, optics, electronics, and manufacturing.

Weaknesses:

  • The company has no funding.
  • As a startup, the company does not have a distribution network.
  • The device is expensive to build.

Opportunities:

  • There is an untapped market for noninvasive blood glucose monitors.
  • Due to endemic diabetes, the demand for monitors increases each year.
  • Leading scientific institutions and organizations are expressing interest in conducting joint research.

Threats:

  • Existing competitive and emerging products have a strong market presence.
  • Device prices are dropping.

Actions to be taken:

This company should consider getting capital from interested investors such as venture capitalists or angel investors from the SWOT analysis.

Also, the company must quickly build relationships with medical device distributors by attending conferences and developing distributor incentives.

The company can also benefit from joint research and publications with institutions and companies with existing distributor networks.

Another example of a decision a company might be faced with: hiring an intern for the summer?

Strengths

  • Energetic and hardworking person
  • Knows the latest technologies
  • Convenient

Opportunities

  • Could become a new full-time employee

Weaknesses

  • Investing time in training
  • Must return to college at the end of summer

Threats

  • Could use the training he received to get hired at a rival company

Also, SWOT analysis can also be used to make decisions regarding personal life, e.g., jogging after work.

Strengths

  • Burn Calories
  • Breathe fresh air
  • Sense of accomplishment

Opportunities

  • Meet your future better half
  • Discover new landscapes of your city

Weaknesses

  • Sweaty clothes
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue

Threats

  • Attacked by a dog
  • Suffer an injury

Bottom line

In conclusion, SWOT analysis doesn’t so much help determine what to do as it does determine whether or not to do something.

The ultimate goal of SWOT analysis is to match strengths with opportunities to determine a clear path to success. Or also, to uncover weaknesses that could be exploited in a way that could be avoided in organizational strategy.

If you plan from the outset using project management software such as Twproject, the various elements of the SWOT analysis will be evident at a glance.

Twproject guides you in analysing and kicking off your projects, following you step by step. Test your project data now for free and discover all the launch opportunities and possible risks to avoid.

Improve your strenghts.

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The project milestones: planning objectives and results

Milestones or project milestones are management tools used to define a specific point in the project planning.

The points define, in fact, the beginning and the end of work and mark the end of an important phase of the work.

Milestones in project management can be used to symbolize all started and finished stuff.

If a milestone focuses on the main points of project progress, it becomes useful as a planning tool.

Just as the tasks break down a larger project into manageable parts, the milestones split a project into milestones.

So, when starting a project, milestones can help immensely with programming.

Milestones are usually present in project management software, and of course also in Twproject.

They have their own specific icon in the Gantt chart function, and are diamond-shaped.

Project milestones: the planning

Project milestones are a way to estimate the time needed to complete the project more accurately.

Hence, they become essential for precise project planning.

With milestones, you can better calculate project planning by segmenting it into more manageable and easier-to-control time intervals.

They are also a flexible tool for planning.

With a little bit of flexibility, they can do much more than act as mere indicators of the project phases.

For example, milestones can be used as reminder of important meetings or to report other interesting events, such as workshops or training courses.

They can represent also the moment of invoicing customers.

In short, using this diamond icon is a great way to make sure everyone is aware of upcoming deadlines and upcoming important meetings.

Naturally, milestones can indicate the deadlines for anything related to the project.

Project milestones: Keep track of progress

Part of a project’s planning is the ability to monitor and keep track the progress of that program in real time.

Milestones are a way to see both at what point is a specific single activity, and the general state of progress of the project itself.

This is useful when dealing mainly with stakeholders.

In fact, these are generally not interested in a detailed report of the project progress.

What they want to know is if the project moves forward or not as initially planned.

Milestones are ideal for this type of report because they show the main phases completed.

Here at Twproject, for example, we use milestones to define the release dates of the software. This helps us being aware of how many features we can add from time to time in order not to stray the release plan. But this is just one of the many ways they can be used!

Plan your milestones!

In Twproject you can plan your project by highlighting the milestones. Thanks to the interactive Gantt you will always know if a delay has an impact on the milestones and you will be notified immediately.

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Project milestones: Simple task or milestone?

Discern between what to consider a simple desired dates and what to consider a milestone can be difficult.

More projects are complex, more difficult is to recognize the difference between simple dates and milestone.

To resolve the doubt it is essential to ask itself the following questions:

  • Is this a dates that can be rescheduled or not?
  • Will this affect the final deadline?
  • Is this an important moment in the project that will indicate future progress?
  • Is it an event that has an impact on the project?

Answering these questions will help you understand if we are talking about a normal date or a milestone.

Basically, the most important events of your project must be reported as milestones, so that they can be easily visualized and mapped by the project team.

Project milestones: Why use them?

Milestones can improve planning and execution in different ways:

1) Monitor deadlines

No plan is complete without a list of deadlines. The best way is to use the milestones to indicate them.

The milestones, as already mentioned, are usually marked as a diamond-shape icon in the project planning software.

Hence, this icon represents a delivery, a presentation of the deliverable or in any case a deadline that mustn’t be forgotten.

2) Make it easy to identify important dates

Are there important days that may have an impact on the project?

Perhaps a training course for the project team or a workshop?

Or a meeting with the stakeholders?

It is important to keep in mind all these events in project planning.

These are events of such importance that they can have an impact on the whole project and it must be easy to identify them.

3) Identify potential blocks of the project

Many projects rely on work produced by external teams or partners in order to progress.

If these external factors are not monitored, the probability to forget or not following them increases.

So, if you are working on a project that depends – even – on someone or something of external with which you do not have frequent contact, it is important to list these results as milestones.

As we have seen, milestones are a very useful project management tool.

It is also an easy-to-use tool for project planning and reporting.

In Twproject a milestone always coincides with the beginning or end of a task, this because normally a milestone is linked to a delivery or a kick-off phase.

In order to support the team in achieving the goal, Twproject also sets up a milestone notification system.

The notifications make even easier the work of the team that will automatically receive the alerts of the activities expiring or delayed and they will complete the tasks.

By default the alarm (milestone of the neighboring task) is 3 days before the milestone, but it is also possible to change it from the configuration pages.

Reaching and overcoming a project milestone is also good for the morale of the team and of the project manager himself.

This is why every tool (like the alert) that facilitates the task is always very well received.

In Twproject, milestones can be linked to project phases via different types of dependencies to best reflect the actual project implementation.

See how much Twproject’s Gantt chart can help you in the planning and performance of your projects:

Watch an overview about the Gantt diagram and its miestone in Twproject

Now it’s your turn to try to map your project with milestones in Twproject and see if they help you better understand deadlines and deliveries

What are your waiting for? Try Twproject for free for 15 days!

Set the milestones of your project.

Wrike vs Clickup: which Project Management software you should choose for your business?

In this article, we will help you explore the key features of two giants in project management software, Wrike vs Clickup.

Let’s visualize the scene. You have finally decided to adopt a unified system for tracking projects and for assigning activities to your work team. So you hope to optimize the time you spend every day juggling shared folders, e-mails, paper notes, worklog files scattered everywhere: therefore you are looking for a single tool that allows you to manage all these aspects in a single platform.

But which one to choose?

The transition will certainly take some time, a lot of data will have to be transferred to the new system and you will face resistance from someone.

You are quite sure that you will have to choose between one of the two “big names” of the project management market, Wrike vs ClickUp and you would like this rating not to take up too much time. Usually these software offer a free two-week trial: but for those who wants to start soon, knowing that the learning curve could be long, it is important to speed up the software testing phase.

And this is where we meet you. In fact, we have tested the two most popular software in depth and we can provide you with a detailed analysis of the main features by comparing them and highlighting their pros and cons. We’ve tried to anticipate the questions you might ask and have broken down the top issues by topic.

In general, you need to know that you will not regret the path taken and that adopting a good project management system will bring you undoubted benefits. Both in terms of optimizing time and resources, and in terms of quality of the level of collaboration within the team.

In fact, numerous researches have shown that sharing of information and individual empowerment of workers, such as when they obtain the management of project phases, increase overall productivity and team satisfaction. This is all easier said than done when you learn to use good tools.

But let’s get to the point and start with the analysis of the single functions of these software, Wrike vs Clickup, divided into macro areas.

Wrike vs Clickup: Project planning and Gantt diagram

The first aspect that we have considered concerns a tool that project managers deem very useful in terms of visual impact.
If you have done some researches in this field you will most probably know what it is. Put simply, it is a horizontal bar graph showing the various phases of a project between a start and an end date and the possible relationship between the phases.

During our study of this aspect within the two examined software, we were impressed by a good usability of the tool in both. But in particular we liked Clickup for a small but useful detail: a green bar showing the entire duration of the project phases by making a sum between the activities present within it.

gantt wrike vs clickup

In both software we found it useful to see the assignee’s name on the project phases, and yet it would have been even better in our opinion to be able to display further information, such as the project’s code, which many companies use for immediate identification.

In Wrike it is possible to enter your days off, as we will see in the next point, and this has an impact on the Gantt chart and on the duration of the project in general, since it causes the slipping of all the activities planned for those days and all those connected to them. Consequently the project extends beyond the planning.

Moreover, the project manager does not receive a notification of the changes that have occurred and therefore we consider this method quite unacceptable for the achievement of good results. On Clikpup the problem does not arise because employees cannot directly insert days off. Therefore, even if this is a general shortcoming, at least it does not affect the timing of the projects.

Wrike vs Clickup: Workload

The second aspect that you will improve with the adoption of a project management tool is the management of the workload. In fact, this is a factor that plays a key role in the success of a project given that it is normal to have your staff involved on several fronts. Calculating the load of each resource is essential to understand who and when will be able to complete the assignments. If we unify management systems, this work will certainly be faster and more effective.

In Wrike , we have found workload management simple and intuitive . You can manage this aspect in the “Tools” area and this allows you to easily move the assignments from one user to another, when the load is excessive. To calculate the total load, Wrike lets you to enter the number of hours required for each task per day, even if it is not possible to change the dedicated hours among the days.

workload wrike vs clickup

Unfortunately in Wrike it is not possible to set daily working hours other than 8 and the project manager cannot enter their empoyees’ days off, since users can only enter their own hours: this is a little limitation in workload management processes. Perhaps in a slightly less intuitive way, Clickup instead proposes the insertion of a maximum number of daily tasks for each employee as a solution, but it does not allow you to indicate the hours for each project. We believe that this method is very simplistic because it does not take into account the substantial differences that may exist in the use of resources depending on the planned activities.

As for Wrike, also in Clickup it is easy to reallocate activities among the personnel involved, however the system lacks a bit in accuracy. Furthermore, Clickup does not support tools for managing hours, holidays and leaves while Wrike does not have worklog recording.

So, even if Wrike’s workload management is more accurate than its main competitor, in our opinion it would be useful to go a step further and allow the load to be allocated dynamically, with an optimized distribution that assign hours dedicated to projects differently among days, depending on whether or not the resource is engaged on other fronts.

Wrike vs Clickup: Agile management with Kanban board

To identify which between Wrike vs Clickup offers a better approach to the Agile methodology, we mainly focused on the composition of their Kanban board. This is a sort of “whiteboard” in which the project activities appear as post-it notes arranged in columns based on their production status and it is much loved by those who want to speed up times in updating data.

Also in this case, the two platforms proved to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, but Clickup scored slightly higher for allowing to customize the statuses of the task phases . Not only those standard statuses (typically: to be done – in progress – to be approved – closed) but all those you need and with a customisable label.

kanban wrike vs clickup

It would have been even better to give the possibility to organize the columns according to different criteria other than the status, but in general we found this function satisfactory.

Wrike vs Clickup: Cost management

And here we are at the last point taken into consideration in this Wrike vs Clickup challenge and also the one that has scored more sore points in our view. Cost management doesn’t offer any further advantage compared to the mere use of classic spreadsheets and therefore the only advantage is the usage of a unique platform. But the project manager will have to enter everything manually and define the values to be analysed without any support from the system.

Neither platform has automatic calculation functionalities and the project budget is an almost accessory value, of no use with the basic features.

Wrike catches up a bit in its “Enterprise” version since it offers the possibility of downloading advanced reports with different predefined templates from which to start for cost monitoring.

budget wrike vs clickup

But one needs high-level skills to understand how the Report section works, since it is very unintuitive compared to the rest of the platform, and this could discourage small managers or those who are beginners on the subject.

What if there is a third solution?

We examined four specific topics that we consider fundamental in the project management sector and our “Wrike vs Clickup challenge” has broken even personal ranking. Although they both offer a solution to the four topics, neither of them is totally exhaustive.

The inefficiencies we found make us affirm with certainty that there is a third way: Twproject. We have tested the functionalities of the two biggest project management platforms on the market and we have discovered that all their features are handled with greater accuracy in Twproject. In particular:

1. Project planning and the Gantt diagram: setting up project timelines and the dependencies between its phases is the basic work of the project manager that must be done carefully, considering multiple aspects and not just the availability of a worker.

gantt twproject


Therefore our choice in Twproject is to let the availability of employees be managed independently based on their time sheets, but the absence of an employee will not change the dates of the project and its phases, but simply the workload will be recalculated.

Twproject’s Gantt also offers the possibility of dynamically managing dependencies between phases, which do not necessarily have to be consequential and without intervals between them, as is the case elsewhere.
Furthermore, it offers an integrated view with ToDo lists, also allowing them to be edited from the Gantt itself, thus integrating two of the main project management tools in a single view.

2. Workload: the workload distribution in Twproject is really dynamic and optimized, qualities that other software lacks. This is what our smart time management looks like.

workload twproject

In the image, the different colors represent different projects and the dedicated hours change according to the load of each single day. In fact, Twproject uses a load distribution algorithm that optimizes resource capacity, it does not simply sums up the values entered by the user.

Twproject also distinguishes between project, routine and ‘spot’ activities, making it possible to plan more realistically the timing of activities.

3. Agile management with Kanban board: here Twproject takes a further leap compared to its competitors Wrike vs Clickup and allows you to view the columns of your Kanban according to other criteria in addition to the status. In fact, it may be useful for you to view as many columns as you have Projects: you can easily move the To-Dos from one project to another. Again, you can have Assignees organized into columns and move tasks from one person to another or even distribute unassigned tasks. Also if you wish, you can view the To-Dos in Priority columns and then reassign them accordingly.

kanban board twproject

4. Cost management: as we have seen, budget planning is practically not contemplated in the two software analysed. On the contrary, with Twproject, cost management is a function of paramount importance and really allows you to take care of this need completely within the software, without the need to use additional external tools. Our software follows you step by step in the creation of the project budget as it has a dedicated report for each ongoing project and also for its sub-phases and activities.

budget twproject

In this table, the project manager can enter the planned cost and its actual application, divided between personnel costs and ancillary costs, estimated and actual.
In fact, only Twproject allows you to indicate the hourly cost of employees and as they insert the hours worked on projects: these will increase the expenses incurred on a project or one of its phases. At the same time, the project manager can record all additional costs, starting with estimated budget and then entering the actual expense items later.

In this way you can always keep expenses under control and compare them with the planned costs. You can possibly adjust the data over time and the system will warn you in case of overrun of the planned budget.

Put us to the test

The fact that Twproject has turned out to be better, even compared to the big names, in many key aspects, is due to the experience acquired in over twenty years of activity. Since the first release of our software, we have dealt with different needs of large and small companies and found ad hoc solutions for each of them.

Twproject offers you fifteen days free trial, during which you can take advantage of the advice of our support team.

Let us know if you try it and don’t forget to share your experience with us.

Try the alternative choice with Twproject.

Master plan & master planning

A master plan is a long-term dynamic planning document that provides a conceptual framework to drive project development and growth.

Successful project managers are masters at creating comprehensive project plans that define project scope, cost, planning, activities and resources.

A Master Plan reflects a vision set in the early stages of a project and aims to bring everyone on the same page and move everyone in the same direction.

A master plan outlines the expectations for everything that will be achieved during the project lifecycle.

However, some people do not believe that the master plan holds real value and consider it more of a luxury rather than a necessity, especially in these times when we try to maximize our work schedule.

However, a good master plan is key to any long-term project. This is why:

  • The master planning provides a road map for all future project development decisions.
  • Even if seen by some as an additional cost, a master plan can eventually lead to savings in the long run.
  • It allows the involvement of all parties concerned in advance and sets out expectations on how the various activities and tasks will be developed.
  • A master plan approval creates “buy-ins” by the main stakeholders in a project. If everyone gives their “blessing” at the outset, there will be much less chance to ask questions or step back later.
  • A master plan allows you to estimate costs before the actual work begins. This also allows you to raise funds for a longer period of time to fund your project.
  • General planning can create visibility and credibility for a project. If a project’s vision can be presented to its potential users, it often generates excitement about its potential and this often drives a project and helps it to happen sooner.
  • Projects that have a planned master plan generally have a higher completion rate than unplanned projects.

Master plan development process

Here are some typical elements for a good project master plan:

Feasibility study

A feasibility study is an objective review of the options available for a project development.

Indica l’obiettivo previsto è raggiungibile, tenendo conto degli aspetti finanziari, sociali e ambientali.

The feasibility study is important for:

  • Identifying risks and opportunities
  • Providing a basis for making informed decisions
  • Helping plan and allocate resources efficiently
  • Improving the chances of obtaining funding and support from stakeholders

Strategic framework

The strategic framework goes hand in hand with the master plan and sets the basis for establishing basic information about possible opportunities and constraints.

In the strategic planning phase, the team also determines what key competencies are fundamental to develop the project in general.

master planning

Project scope

A project master plan is designed to ensure that the project scope baseline is maintained and consistent.

The established scope shall not be inadvertently altered or modified.

Although the goal is to make minimal or no changes to the project scope, some changes may still be necessary.

In this case, changes will be determined through the change control process set out in the master plan.

Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure, WBS, is a hierarchical breakdown of the work and activities that the team needs to execute in order to achieve project objectives and create the required deliverables.

The WBS organizes and defines the total scope of the project and splits the work into smaller, more manageable parts.

The WBS simplifies project management in several ways:

By dividing the project into manageable components, the WBS makes it easier to assign responsibilities and monitor progress.

Each work package is has specific objectives, and this helps the team focus on critical activities. This approach improves transparency and focus, making it easier to estimate the costs associated with each project item and monitor expenses during project execution.

The WBS also helps identify the resources required for each work package, facilitating efficient allocation of human and material resources.

With a well-organised structure, it is easier to track project progress and identify any delays or problems. In addition, the WBS serves as a basis for managing changes to the project, assessing the impact of each change proposed.

Work Breakdown Structure in Twproject

With Twproject, for instance, teams can easily create and manage a WBS, dividing the project into manageable tasks and subtasks.

The platform organises these activities in a clear hierarchical structure, improving understanding and communication among team members, which is particularly useful in complex projects.

Twproject also allows you to clearly assign responsibilities, monitor progress in real time and effectively manage resources.

It facilitates change management by evaluating and approving requests in a structured manner, thus improving project planning, execution and control, ensuring success and on-time completion.

Phases closure and lessons learned

At the end of each phase of the project life cycle, the project manager will draft a report detailing the lessons learned.

This includes an analysis of the project objectives achieved and the success of each completed phase.

We can use these best practices for other similar projects and identify areas for process improvement.

Closing activities include reviewing all of the goals and objectives of the phase and closing problems and related risks.

Conclusions

Ultimately, we can say that the master planning is the first key step in any design process; it is the creation of a framework in which the work of the entire project will be embedded.

In large-scale projects, collaboration between several people and teams can become complex and lead to confusions that jeopardise the success of the project.

A well-developed master plan with advanced tools such as Twproject eliminates these obstacles by providing a single point of reference that everyone can follow.

This approach not only facilitates communication and collaboration, but also significantly increases the likelihood of success by ensuring that all team members are aligned and working towards a common goal.

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How to identify the project deliverables

In project management, a deliverable is a product or service that is provided to the customer. Project deliverables usually have an expiration date and are tangible, measurable and specific.

They are given to an external or internal customer and meet a milestone or a deadline that is created and produced in the project plan.

There may be one or more deliverables within a single project.

Know when a deliverable can be defined as such

Deliverables are what drive the success or failure of each project. It is important, therefore, to know what they are and all the different forms they can take.

These measurable results confirm the achievement of the goals of the project. The results also demonstrate the adherence of the team’s work to the project requirements.

However, in the execution of a project, it also happens that some obtained results have little to do with the project itself. It is therefore necessary to have parameters in order to know when it is possible affirming that an output is a deliverable. An output, in order to be classified as a “deliverable” within a project, must:

  • fall within the scope of the project
  • be accepted by stakeholders – external or internal
  • be the result of deliberate work
  • have a precise role in realizing the goal of the project

The deliverable can be big and tangible, like a building or a factory, but it can also be small, like a one page document.

The deliverables, on their own, are rarely the final goal of the project, but rather trace the path to reach it.

This is why project managers often focus obsessively on their definition, management and monitoring.

 Internal vs external deliverables

A common way to classify the final results is to divide them into “external” and “internal” deliverables. There is a simple way to define them:

  • Any work done to satisfy customer requests or to fight competition is an external deliverable.
  • Any work done that is not part of the business with customers is an internal deliverable. In short an internal deliverable is whatever is created as part of business management. Keep and monitor accounts, create business documents, etc. these are all examples of internal deliverables.

Difference between Deliverables and Milestones

Another source of confusion for some project managers, especially at the beginning of their career, is the difference between deliverables and milestones.

Milestones are checkpoints during a project and can be inserted at any point. They mark the completion of an important activity. They have no deadlines, but are simply a way to keep track of project progress.

Milestones are created to break down a complex result into its constituent parts.

Moreover, milestones are not meant for customers, but for the internal project team.

Project deliverables vs process delivarables

There is also another distinction to be made when it comes to deliverables: project deliverables vs process delivarables.

The deliverables of the project are the great customer-centered goals we talked about previously.

The process deliverables instead, describe the path that will help to achieve the project results.

All documents created during project management, such as the project scope statement, the project plan, and the work breakdown structure, are documents not addressed to the final customer. However, they are necessary documents for internal stakeholders and for the team in order to better manage the project.

All these documents are examples of process deliverables. Their creation is not the goal of the project itself, but they are fundamental for a successful conclusion.

Process of defining project deliverables

To define the deliverables of the project, it is necessary to have a look at the project goal and ask the following questions:

  • What is the project trying to achieve?
  • What is the purpose, goal or final result that the customer wants once the project closes?
  • What are the constituent parts of the project goal?
  • What is the form and function of each of these constituent parts?
  • How important is this part for the overall project?
  • How will it be possible to create this part?
  • What is the cost of production / acquisition of this part?
  • How long will it take to produce / acquire this part?
the project deliverables

In essence, the goal of the project is being divided into smaller parts and, at the same time, the feasibility and priority of each constituent part is being evaluated.

Collection of requirements for project deliverables

The probably most difficult part is defining the requirements for each deliverable. In particular, the requirements specify the criteria that make a deliverable acceptable – or not.

If the requirements are incomplete, customers will inevitably require changes and revisions and this can increase the scope and budget of the project, therefore affecting profits.

For this reason, a fundamental step in the definition of the deliverables is the collection of the requirements.

There are several methods that can be adopted to find the requirements.

Regardless of the tactics used, however, there are some questions that should always be asked:

  • Who are the main stakeholders that need to accept this deliverable?
  • What are the main priorities for this deriverable?
  • Do these requirements fall within the scope and budget of the project? If not, how much additional time / budget is needed?
  • Have we created similar deliverables in the past? What were their needs?
  • What is the industry standard for these deliverables?
  • Who is the end user for this deliverable?
  • What will make it a success for them?
  • What are the minimum quality criteria that this deliverable must meet in order to be successful? How will they be measured?

In addition to the specific requirements for each deliverable, there will also be some “universal” requirements, usually dictated by the best practices followed in the specific sector or organization.

Suggestions for managing project results

By following these simple suggestions, it is possible to simplify the management of the project deliverables:

  • Define the deliverables before starting work. The addition of deliverables once the work has already begun could lead to a change in the scope and budget of the project.
  • The better the requirements for each deliverable are understood, the easier it will be for stakeholders to accept it.
  • Break down the goal of the project in order to discover the key points.
  • Involve the interested parties in the project start-up meeting and seek their contribution in defining the final deliverables and their acceptance criteria.
  • When collecting the requirements, make sure that they meet the SMART criteria.
  • Separate the deliverables into distinct phases to better follow them.
  • Identify in advance the metrics and data that will be used to measure the acceptability of each deliverable.
  • Identify the deadline for each deliverable.
  • Use a project management software to facilitate project tracking and deliverable management.
  • Maintain a clear distinction between deliverables and milestones, and between process and project deliverables.

Every project manager must develop his own process to define and manage the deliverables in the best possible way. This will depend on the work style and on the limits and capabilities of the project team.

One way to make deliverable management easier is always to use a project management software.

This will simplify the tracking of the deliverables and make sure they meet the acceptance criteria.

Twproject offers refined tools for defining and monitoring project objectives. For example, it allows the project to be broken down into phases and sub-phases, creating a detailed WBS, to which individual deliverables can be assigned.

Moreover, it allows all relevant information to be reorganised and shared through a dynamic and interactive Gantt, with an extraordinary degree of elasticity in setting dependencies and integrating with other project planning components.

But this is just a small taste of all that Twproject offers to those who want to start planning at its best. Try it free for 15 days and discover how useful it is for managing and sharing your projects.

Manage deliverables

One try is worth a million words.

How to choose a project management software

What are the main reasons to choose a good project management software, and how to do that? Let us look at this topic in detail.

Using a project management software is a versatile way to simplify the process of managing any project. It helps to unify the work process on one or more projects.

This avoids forcing teams to work on different applications and platforms.

Thus, project planning, communication tools, file sharing, activity and deadline monitoring, and reporting are all inserted into a single software application.

A project management software works like a real-time workspace. It helps keep the eye focused on the big picture, effectively managing the details day by day.

When do you need project management software?

It is important to point out that a project management software is designed for completing projects that require time and teamwork.

An organization needs a project management software, when it is necessary for different individuals and business units to coordinate, both internally as well as externally, to complete certain tasks.

Establishing precisely when it is the exact time to switch to the use of a project management software is not easy.

However, there are unmistakable signs that make clear that perhaps this time has come. The telltale signs that an organization needs a project management software include:

  • Delay of projects due to over-correspondence via e-mail and work was lost in the mailboxes of team members.
  • Confusion over too elaborate and chaotic Excel sheets.
  • Lost of some deadlines due to lack of accountability and transparency in the process.
  • Poor communication between team members and the project manager due to failure to report the status of the project or individual activities.
  • Overlapping or redundant jobs due to the confusion that reigns over the specific role of each team member.
  • Not clear or lost timelines due to poor planning or poor communication.

Therefore, choosing a project management software solution can simplify the entire process. It can allow the team to offer higher quality work in a shorter period of time.

Effective softwares allow the project manager to save and track multiple projects simultaneously.

In essence, the workload can be saved on a single platform. On this platform, each team member has access to all the information needed to do his job.

How does a project management software look like?

Generally, as starting base, we also find a dashboard. This control panel provides access to all major software features.

From the dashboard, users can create new projects and manage and organize old ones.

dashboard project management software

In many project management platforms, the dashboard is also the site of an overview of active and completed projects, which users can access at any time.

Project management softwares clearly have different capabilities, and it is important to assess what the business needs are before choosing one solution.

For project managers, complete control over project management is essential.

This way, they can reassign the work and reprogram it, if a team member is overloaded while others are not, managing resources more effectively.

With detailed summaries and reports, project managers can also more easily keep pace with new developments.

Any complex project has many moving parts and it is therefore important that the manager is informed of all the details.

Choose the right project management software

Most quality project management softwares offer the features described above, but of course there are other aspects that vary from platform to platform.

This is why it is important to select a project management software that allows to ensure the success of an organization.

A large company, for example, will have different needs than a small startup with a small team.

So, examining each software and asking the right questions is the key.

Implementation and ease of use should be two key factors essential for the decision.

5 fundamental aspects for the choice of a project management software

Here are the 5 fundamental aspects in order to choose the right project management software:

1. Respond to the whys

The process must begin with a transparent and honest assessment of why the organization needs a project management software. The project manager can start by tracing the needs and identifying current problems. This can be followed by an analysis of the existing processes to highlight the negative points and, consequently, to look for a software that allows to overcome them.

 2. Looking beyond the “big names”

Clearly, there are project management softwares most famous than others, but are we really sure that these represent the right choice for any organization? For a given company, in fact, a less well-known project management platform could be the ideal solution. So, it becomes important to search online to see what types of software are on the market, collect different opinions, ask the team members what they used in their previous organizations, etc. In short, do some research and compare the various features.

3. Identify implementation barriers

 Once the project manager has chosen a potential project management software, it is important to consider the obstacles or implementation barriers that the organization might encounter. These implementation barriers could be anything: From team resistance to longer than expected training sessions, from difficult data migration to insufficient purchasing budget. The idea is therefore to identify all the factors that could cause a block to the implementation of the software, to verify if these barriers can be eliminated and to find a solution.

Twproject has collected the experiences of some of its customers. You can be inspired by their use cases and find out whether you too have similar needs and Twproject may therefore be right for you.

 4. Do a test drive

Almost all the available softwares are supplied with a free trial (Twproject’s trial is available here). It is therefore important to make the most of this opportunity, using realistic project scenarios to scroll through the list of software features. The PM will not have to act alone, but choose a team just as it would in the case of a real project. The team chosen for the test drive will thus have the opportunity to explore the new software and give the most accurate feedback possible. It is important to keep the communication open in order to discuss any problem straight away.

5. Draw up a detailed implementation plan

A final factor to consider before officially choosing the project management tool, is to plan the implementation and make sure it will be as smooth as possible. Typical elements to be considered at this stage include time frames for implementation, adequate training for the various stakeholders, and possible data migration activities.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to get started with Twproject.

It is also necessary to evaluate the level of support that can be obtained from the supplier of the software as well as the long-term technical support. Twproject guarantees you constant support from the beginning and throughout the duration of your work.

Conclusions

The choice of a project management software therefore requires much more than a decision based only on a couple of “big” names, on a superficial analysis of the functionalities, and on the feedback of a few people.

Choosing a new project management tool can be a long and complicated process, but one that is worth it in the long run.

The right choice will be an advantage for the organization in general, for customers, as well as for the project team.

Change your way of managing

How to implement the Balanced Scorecard in a business

In the project management domain, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) has made a name for itself as an essential tool for project managers.

This method provides a comprehensive view of business performance by linking strategic goals with operational activities.

Let’s see what it is about and how to implement it effectively.

Balanced Scorecard origins

The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) concept was introduced in 1992 by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton.

These two pioneering thinkers changed the business strategic management and performance monitoring scenario. Their groundbreaking approach stemmed from the realization that traditional methods of assessing corporate performance, based primarily on financial indicators, were inadequate for comprehensive and effective strategic management.

Kaplan and Norton presented the BSC as a framework that balances financial indicators with other measures related to critical success factors.

The idea was to provide managers with a more balanced and comprehensive tool to monitor and guide business performance. The Balanced Scorecard not only considers financial performance but also integrates metrics related to customer satisfaction, the efficiency of internal processes, and the company’s capability for innovation and growth.

Since then, countless businesses have adopted and adapted the BSC worldwide, growing into one of the most influential and widespread strategic management tools.

Over the years, Kaplan and Norton have further developed and refined the BSC concept. They introduced the idea of “strategy maps,” which help organizations visualize cause-and-effect relationships between different strategic objectives. This has further established the BSC as a tool for performance measurement and strategic planning and execution.

Today’s application is more than just performance measurement, influencing corporate culture, internal communication, and strategic decision-making.

Tools like Twproject can play a crucial role in BSC implementation and monitoring, providing an integrated platform for aligning strategic goals with day-to-day activities.

The four perspectives of the balanced scorecard

The Balanced Scorecard differs in its holistic approach to business performance measurement, structured around four key perspectives.

These perspectives help organizations balance short-term goals with long-term targets by considering various aspects critical to success.

Here is a detailed analysis of each perspective:

  • Financial perspective: This perspective focuses on a business’s economic aspects and financial health. Key indicators in this category include return on investment (ROI), cash flow, revenue growth, and profitability. The goal is to ensure that business decisions and project initiatives contribute positively to financial performance. As such, the BSC helps managers understand how operational strategies affect financial performance.

  • Customer satisfaction: This element estimates the degree of customer satisfaction and loyalty by considering the company from the customer’s point of view. Indicators such as customer satisfaction, market share, number of customer complaints, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are commonly used. The goal is to improve service quality, customer relationships, and, ultimately, customer loyalty. This perspective stresses the importance of listening and responding to customer needs for long-term success.

  • Perspective of internal processes: this perspective focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s internal processes. It focuses on considering how internal processes can be optimized to improve overall performance. Indicators such as cycle time, product/service quality, and operational efficiency are essential. The goal is to identify and improve critical processes directly affecting customer satisfaction and financial performance.
  • Learning and growth: also known as the innovation and growth perspective, this aspect focuses on developing human resources, information systems, and the organization in general. Indicators such as employee satisfaction and training, rate of innovation, and effectiveness of information systems are central. The purpose is to create an environment that fosters continuous learning and innovation, thus ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of the organization.

By integrating these four perspectives into a consistent framework, the Balanced Scorecard empowers managers to gain a comprehensive and balanced view of business performance.

This approach ensures that strategic decisions are made by factoring in various critical factors rather than relying solely on short-term financial measures.

balanced scorecard twproject

Successful implementation of the Balanced Scorecard

Implementing the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) in an organization is a process that requires commitment and strategic planning.

Here is a step-by-step guide to a successful implementation:

  • Strategic goal setting: The first step in BSC implementation is to set the organization’s strategic goals. These goals should reflect the corporate mission and vision and be clear, measurable, and achievable. These goals must be aligned with the four perspectives of the BSC to ensure a balanced approach.
  • Performance Indicators selection (KPIs): Having defined the goals, the next step is choosing key performance indicators (KPIs) for each BSC perspective. These KPIs should be directly related to the strategic goals and provide a clear measure of progress toward achieving those goals. It is crucial to select relevant, reliable, and easily measurable KPIs.
  • Engagement and communication with your team: BSC implementation can only be successful with your team’s full support and involvement. Communicating the goals, KPIs, and values of the BSC clearly to all levels of the organization is key. Training and education of staff on how to use the BSC in their daily routines are critical to ensure the adoption and effectiveness of the system.
  • Business processes integration: the BSC should be integrated into existing business processes. This means linking BSC objectives to operational plans, budgets, and reporting systems. This alignment ensures that the BSC is not perceived as an isolated initiative, but as an integral part of business management.
  • Regular monitoring and review: Once implemented, the BSC requires regular monitoring and review – This includes periodic analysis of KPIs, assessing progress toward strategic goals, and adjusting strategies as necessary. It is crucial to set up a regular review process to ensure that the BSC remains relevant and aligned with the organization’s evolving needs.
  • Use of project management tools: Tools such as Twproject can be pivotal in BSC implementation. As a matter of fact, it offers features that help to easily track progress toward goals, monitor KPIs, and generate detailed reports. Using such tools can significantly simplify the monitoring and review process, making BSC implementation more manageable and less burdensome.

Balanced Scorecard: a strategic change in business

Adopting the Balanced Scorecard represents more than simply implementing a new management tool; it is a strategic move that can potentially transform the whole corporate culture.

This transition begins by reconsidering how the organization measures and interprets success, shifting the focus from short-term financial measures to a more holistic, long-term view.

It is an approach that helps pinpoint and close gaps between business strategy and day-to-day operations, ensuring that every part of the organization is aligned with long-term goals.

The introduction of BSC often increases employees’ awareness of the company’s strategic goals. This can increase engagement and motivation as employees better understand how their work contributes to the organization’s overall success.

It also fosters greater collaboration among different departments and encourages a shared vision of the company’s goals.

Another important aspect of BSC-induced strategic change is promoting innovation and continuous learning.

With its emphasis on the learning and growth perspective, the BSC encourages companies to invest in developing their employees’ skills and seeking new opportunities for innovation. This not only improves employees’ skills and productivity but also contributes to the company’s long-term sustainability.

However, this strategic shift comes with its challenges. It requires effective communication from leadership and a commitment to support staff during the transition.

Companies must be prepared to face internal resistance and manage expectations during the BSC implementation process.

The key to overcoming these challenges is to maintain open communication, provide appropriate training, and demonstrate how the BSC can bring tangible benefits through concrete actions.

Why use TWproject for Balanced Scorecard implementation?

Twproject is project management software that can help you implement the Balanced Scorecard in your business. It can be used for:

  • Defining your vision and strategy: It can help you frame and document your company’s vision, mission, and strategy. This information can then be used to create a Balanced Scorecard aligned with your overall goals.
  • Finding critical success factors: You can use Twproject to pinpoint the most important factors for your company’s success. This information can then be used to set goals and measures for each critical success factor.
  • Tracking progress: This software can be used to track progress toward your Balanced Scorecard goals and metrics. This information can then be used to make data-driven decisions about your business strategy.
  • Communicating results: Twproject can help share the results of your Balanced Scorecard with your company’s stakeholders. This information can help align everyone to a shared vision and strategy.

Bottom line is that implementing the Balanced Scorecard requires strategic planning, organizational commitment, and the use of the right tools.

By following these steps, companies can ensure that they adopt the BSC effectively, making it a powerful tool for achieving strategic goals and continuous improvement in business performance.

Keep all your projects under control with Twproject!

 

The best workload management software of 2024

Are you looking for the best software for the workload management within your team? We are here to guide you in your choice.

Workload management is a crucial activity for every project manager.

Perhaps, even more than project management itself, it is important to take into account how tasks are assigned, to whom they are assigned, and why.

All of these, if done empirically, can generate chaos. Inequalities are inevitable if we do not carefully plan the load allocated to each resource.

We have already seen how to calculate operator load and what the benefits are in doing so.

Today we will try to answer this question: who do I rely on to do it most effectively?

But first, let’s focus for a moment on the underlying reasons for wise management of this issue.

Workload management: three crucial factors

The first aspect may seem obvious, but it is often undervalued when planning project assignments.

There is a tendency in some cases to neglect the overall view and therefore it may happen that we distribute tasks to fully-loaded resources.

This happens because the load is only taken into account at a later stage, when it should be the first aspect to consider when assessing the feasibility of the project itself.

When such a mistake happens, delays and slippage of phases and deadlines are inevitable, leading to disordered planning.

Secondly, another fundamental objective in managing the workload is the search for balance.

Several studies claim that an excessive load not only does not improve productivity, but instead it blocks it.

Thus, efficient load management not only reduces costs and increases productivity, but also fosters job satisfaction and prevents burnout.

The challenge for the project manager is to allocate the right load to the team members: this must not be excessive but at the same time must be well balanced among all the people involved.

This will result in a greater sense of fairness and consequently commitment and involvement from the entire team.

We therefore recommend that the activity of allocation distribution and load management is transparent.

This transparency in task allocation is only possible when using a shared system.

A good platform will therefore serve not only the project manager to calculate assignments and loads, but also the recipients of assignments, to know that they are not overloaded and that they can share the work with the other resources involved.

What features should a workload management software have

It is not easy to assign tasks to operators, taking into account priorities, delegating tasks to the right person and checking their availability.

Doing this procedure manually is practically impossible and extremely time-consuming, unless we rely on good software.

One of the crucial points is to find suitable software that carries out workload management automatically. The software will necessarily have to be linked to project and task management, so that we do not have to enter data several times.

Comprehensiveness

Therefore, integration with other functions is a fundamental aspect to look for in a management tool.

Workload management can never be detached from context. That is why there is no software that is solely dedicated to this function.

It is also important that our tool allows us to enter data in an intelligent and simplified manner, without having to repeat the same information within the various sections.

Task distinction

Another tip we give you is to look for software that distinguishes the different types of activities.

On a practical level, in fact, we know that not all working hours are spent in the same way.

There are the routine activities, i.e. ‘business as usual’: meetings, mail processing, supporting colleagues and so on. Depending on the task, this type of activity will have less or more impact on the daily load, but in any case a percentage of our time is spent this way on average.

Then there are the projects with a start and end date, with a planned workload to be done by those dates.

Finally, there are the activities that are not planned within a certain period, but are determined by, for example, a support contract that stipulates a certain number of yearly support hours. These hours constitute the so-called ‘spot’ activities.

These three types of activities do not behave in the same way when we calculate the workload.

In fact, the routine activity hours do not sum up to the following days in the event of absence or commitment on other fronts.

Conversely, project activity hours, if not carried out for whatever reason, are redistributed over the following days until the end date of the project.

And finally, spot activities are not normally included in the daily load, but are only included when an ad hoc intervention is planned for a certain day.

Having a tool that distinguishes between these three types of activities will make workload management much more realistic and useful for consistent planning purposes.

And here we come to the point.

Which software gives us the best performance in terms of workload management? Let’s find it out together.

1. Twproject

Twproject workload management

Twproject is a comprehensive project management software. It offers refined and precise workload management, which makes our work much easier thanks to its automations.

This workload mangement software bases its calculation on two pieces of information: the duration of the project and the estimated work for a resource.

Its algorithm optimises time and when two projects overlap within the same days, Twproject intelligently redistributes the load over the following days, thus not changing the duration of the projects.

If the limit is exceeded, Twproject reports the overload, thus inviting the project manager to revise the timetable or the assignments (i.e. the two basic data provided at the beginning).

The workload interacts with the to-do list and the calendar. The information entered in these fields is automatically carried over to the workload page, which saves a lot of time when making entries.

Moreover, as resources enter their work done, Twproject’s dynamic load automatically redistributes the remaining hours.

Best features:

  • distinction between project, routine and spot activities
  • dynamic redistribution of the load
  • possibility of customising the working time of resources in any way
  • integration with the calendar, Gantt, assignments and to-do lists
  • effective notifications in case of overload
  • agile conflict resolution (even with a single click)

Pricing: from € 7.89 per user/month.

Pros: The workload in Twproject is the result of many years of experience in the field, which has led to the development of an excellent tool that is able to take every need into account. Its operation is intuitive and helps to carry out realistic and accurate planning.

Cons: In our opinion, no flaws exist.

Thanks to its automation and dynamism, Twproject leaves no margin for improvisation, preventing overload and helping you balance your team’s work.

2. Toggl

Toggl workload management

Toogl is another workload management tool with good functionality and some automations.

It aims to help balance the workload capacity of the team and adjust the project load accordingly.

In particular, this tool shows some attention to the visual aspect, but may be a little tricky for beginners.

It has a specific focus on staff well-being and a reporting system aimed at preventing burnout.

One of its types of alerts, for example, suggests when it is appropriate to hire new staff within the company.

Best features:

  • Availability overview accessible on all team timelines
  • Rescheduling of tasks and reallocation of resources via drag and drop
  • Importing data from Google calendar
  • Conflict reporting
  • Visualisation customised according to the role of the resource
  • Scheduling of total hours is only possible at task level and not at project level

Pricing: from $ 9 per user/month.

Pro: Toggl has a good interface and its workload analysis method is well planned. It is a software that offers a good overview thanks to its dashboard.

Cons: Despite a good user interface, Toggl does not offer an equally good user experience. It is somewhat lacking in future planning tools.

A good tool for those whose primary goal is to avoid overloading, but which requires a certain amount of experience in the field.

3. Hive

Hive workload management

In Hive, the load management function, or ‘Resourcing’ as it is called here, is only available for the Enterprise licence.

Its peculiarity is that the process starts with the allocations of resources and then the system determines the timing of the projects accordingly.

Therefore, Hive is characterised by a high focus on internal resource management and is suitable for those who use this specific procedure.

Its resourcing capabilities are also useful in project management, and to allocate time and budget appropriately.

The ultimate goal is for all employees to work at the best of their potential.

Best features:

  • resourcing dashboard from which the manager can retrieve availability for assignments
  • automatic load allocation after entering assignee, date and estimated time
  • use of workspaces for team creation
  • use of filters
  • indication of overruns by different colours
  • possibility of displaying the load in hours or in percentages
  • customisation in the display of assignments among team members

Pricing: from $ 12 per user/month.

Pros: Hive has an inviting interface and at the same time offers a good level of customisation. Its automations are effective and the approval and review system is very detailed.

Cons: Despite being a collaborative tool, Hive has few security measures for data disclosure. Furthermore, at the task assignment level, this tool does not provide for document sharing.

A good tool for those who choose, as a calculation methodology, to start from the availability of resources to establish project timelines.

4. Zoho

Zoho workload management

Zoho aims at an equal distribution of work in order to strengthen collaboration within the team.

Specifically, this software is not a single tool, but a kind of mosaic composed of various applications that can be optionally integrated.

Thus, one does not necessarily have all the functions and this can limit one’s work to some extent and be dispersive.

Best features:

  • Multiple ways of displaying the load
  • ‘Heatmap’ to display the free time of each resource
  • Resource utilisation graphs
  • Possibility of task automation

Pricing: from $ 5 per user/month.

Pros: The main feature of Zoho is the option for customisation, both in terms of the tools used and the data visualisation. Overall, it is an easy-to-use tool with a good level of intuitiveness.

Cons: The need to integrate several apps of the Zoho family in order to have complete management may discourage some users. This also makes the whole infrastructure of Zoho scarcely compatible with other apps.

A composite tool for those who want workload management that can be customised at will according to specific needs

5. nTask

nTask workload management

As its name implies, this workload management software focuses on the management of daily tasks, and therefore has many functionalities related to them, such as task automation, task-related reports and so on.

Therefore, workload management also starts from the tasks entered rather than from a general project schedule.

This aspect makes nTask more suitable for small teams or self-employed workers.

Tasks can be distributed among resources with a kind of kanban board showing the workload.

Best features:

  • Kanban-style load view
  • new tasks assignable via drag and drop
  • Rescheduling according to various parameters (date change or resource commitment change)
  • Filters for customising view or sorting
  • Load settable in percentage or FTE (Full-Time Equivalents)

Pricing: from $ 8 per user/month.

Pros: nTask has good security and also information sharing functions. In the event of an overrun, it allows you to choose how to solve the conflict, as it has various possibilities for adjustment.

Cons: Being designed for small teams or freelancers, it is not very user-friendly when there are several projects going on. It also lacks advanced reporting.

An agile tool with some useful insights, more suitable for freelancers or small teams than for large companies.

Bottom line

To sum up, we have seen that workload management is the process that identifies, monitors and manages the work of a team. Within this framework, there are different ways of carrying out the process and the various tools on the market represent these methodological choices.

It is hence from the choice of tool that project managers can let their skills shine: the right path must be found, taking into account team size, sector, use cases and project style.

We hope this short guide will help you choose the best workload management software for your company.

If you like, share your opinion with us and start planning your load now: with Twproject you can do it for free for the first 15 days.

How to create an effective project backlog

A project backlog is the heart of planning and execution in an agile project management framework.

It’s more than just a list of tasks – it’s a strategic map that guides the team through project complexities and challenges.

This article will explore how to create an effective backlog, a crucial piece of any successful agile project.

What is a project backlog?

A project backlog is an ordered list of all needed to complete the project, including features, functions, technical requirements, improvements, and fixes to be undertaken.

In an agile framework, the backlog is dynamic and subject to change, reflecting evolving project and stakeholder needs.

A well-structured backlog is vital in providing clarity and efficiency. It helps teams quickly understand priorities and organize work more productively.

A clear and detailed backlog helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures all team members are aligned on project goals.

Core elements of a well-defined project backlog

Defining roles in the team

In the agile project scenario, role clarity is paramount to success. Team members are the drivers that turn ideas into reality.

In an agile environment, they work collaboratively, often in cross-functional teams, to complete backlog elements. Team members, specifically the Scrum Master and the Product Owner, have separate yet complementary responsibilities that directly influence the effectiveness of the project backlog.

The Scrum Master acts as a facilitator and coach for the team. Their role is to ensure that the team sticks to the agile methodology principles and uses the most effective practices.

This includes helping teams clear any hurdles that might hinder progress and ensuring that sprint planning meetings are productive.

The Product Owner is the project backlog keeper. This individual is responsible for defining the product vision and ensuring that the backlog reflects this vision.

The Product Owner prioritizes the backlog elements, ensuring that the most critical activities are addressed first. They also work closely with team members to clarify requirements and ensure user stories are well-defined and understandable.

Key elements of a project backlog

A well-defined backlog is more than just a task list; it is a comprehensive roadmap that walks the team through the project.

The backlog must be clear, organized, and strategically structured

 to be effective.

The key elements make it an indispensable tool in agile project management.

  • Clarity and specificity: Every element of the backlog must be described clearly and precisely. This means that each task, user story, or requirement must come with well-defined goals and specific criteria for approval. A vague or generic description can lead to misinterpretations, causing delays and inefficiencies. Clarity helps the team understand exactly what needs to be done and what the expectations are.
  • Strategic prioritization: Prioritization is crucial in a project backlog. Elements should be ordered according to their relevance and urgency. This helps the team focus on the most critical activities, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently. Differentiating between what is essential and what can wait is crucial to project success.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: The backlog must be flexible in an agile framework. It must be able to quickly adapt to changes, which may stem from user feedback, new findings during development, or changes in business priorities. A strict backlog can hinder progress; therefore, it must be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the current reality of the project.
  • Collaboration and team involvement: An effective backlog results from a collaborative process. Getting the team involved in creating and reviewing the backlog increases the accuracy and relevance of elements and improves team engagement and accountability. Each member should have the opportunity to contribute their insight and expertise.
  • Visibility and accessibility: The backlog should be easily accessible to all team members. A clear understanding of the backlog elements ensures that everyone is aligned and aware of current priorities.

Agile methodology and project backlog

The agile methodology is a groundbreaking project management approach, emphasizing flexibility, collaboration, and swift response to change.

Here, the project backlog is crucial, serving as the backbone for the entire development process. Let’s take a look at how the backlog complements and supports the agile methodology.

In the agile methodology, projects are developed iteratively and incrementally – this means that work is broken down into small, manageable parts, often called “sprints.”  

The project backlog supports this approach by providing an ordered list of tasks and requirements that can be addressed in each sprint. This breakdown allows the team to focus on small, short-term goals, making faster and more flexible deliveries easier.

One of the core principles of agile is the ability to adapt quickly to changes.  

Indeed, the project backlog is dynamic; it is not a set plan but rather a list that evolves with the project. This means it can be tweaked and reprioritized based on stakeholder feedback, market changes, or discoveries made by the team during development.

An agile backlog allows the team to stay agile and responsive, ensuring that the final product is as relevant and high quality as possible.

The agile methodology puts heavy emphasis on collaboration among team members and stakeholders. The project backlog becomes a reference point for this collaboration.

Stakeholders, including clients and end users, can contribute to the backlog by providing feedback and suggestions. This ensures that the final product aligns with their needs and expectations. Likewise, the team can discuss and review backlog elements, ensuring they are realistic and feasible.

The prioritization of backlog elements is often based on the value each task brings to the customer or end user. This value-driven approach ensures that resources are focused on the most critical aspects of the project, maximizing the return on investment and impact of the final product.

User Story: the backlog heart

User stories are critical to the project backlog, particularly in an agile context. These short, user-focused descriptions describe what needs to be done and the value that each task brings to the end users.

A user story is typically worded using a simple but powerful structure: “As [user], I want [goal] so that [benefit].”

This format helps focus on the users’ needs and wants rather than detailed technical specifications. Each user story should be clear enough to provide a straightforward understanding of what the user needs and why it is important.

The focus of user stories is the value they bring to the user. This user-oriented approach ensures that the development team remains focused on creating functionality that improves the end-user experience.

Instead of getting lost in technical details, the team can ask, “Are we meeting the user’s needs with this feature?”.

User stories foster collaboration and open discussion within the team and with stakeholders.

They are excellent tools for facilitating mutual understanding and ensuring everyone is on the same page. They also help break work into smaller, more manageable parts, thus making it easier for the team to estimate effort and plan development.

Each user story should include clear criteria for acceptance, which define the specific conditions that must be met for the story to be considered complete.

These standards help ensure that the work accomplished meets expectations and provide clear testing and quality assurance guidelines.

User stories in backlogs should be prioritized according to their value and urgency. This prioritization process helps the team focus on the most important features to users, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and that the project makes meaningful progress.

Sprint planning and backlog management

Sprint planning and effective backlog management are critical elements in agile methodology, particularly in frameworks such as Scrum. These steps help teams organize work efficiently and ensure project goals are met systematically.

Let’s take a closer look at these aspects.

Sprint planning meeting

The sprint planning meeting is key when the team, jointly with the Product Owner and Scrum Master, establishes which backlog elements will be addressed in the next sprint.

During this meeting, the team assesses the complexity and time required for each backlog element, laying out a realistic plan for the work that can be completed during the sprint. This process requires a clear understanding of the team’s capabilities and project priorities.

 

Backlog elements selection

Choosing which backlog items to include in a sprint is a strategic process.

The team, headed by the Product Owner, must take into consideration various factors, such as the urgency of the user stories, their importance to the overall project, and their feasibility within that project’s time and resource constraints. The selected elements become part of the Sprint Backlog, a subset of the larger project backlog.

Project backlog management

As we have already discussed, the project backlog is not static; it is a living document that must be constantly updated and refined.

During a sprint, new information may come to light that requires adding new elements to the backlog or re-evaluating existing priorities. The Product Owner is responsible for keeping the backlog up-to-date, always reflecting current project and stakeholder needs.

A crucial aspect of backlog management is the active involvement of the team. Team members should be able to express their thoughts and feedback on backlog items, contributing to their definition and prioritization.

This collaborative approach increases the backlog’s effectiveness and improves team morale and commitment.

At the end of each sprint, the team should revise the completed work and get ready for the following one. This includes analyzing backlog elements that have not been completed and their possible inclusion in the next sprint.

This ongoing review and planning process ensures that the team remains focused and aligned with the project’s long-term goals.

Preparing for the next sprint

After a sprint is completed, allocating time to preparing for the next one is fundamental. This step is critical to maintain momentum and ensure that the project continues to progress efficiently and in a focused manner.

Let’s take a look at some key steps to effectively prepare for the next sprint.

1. Review of the ended sprint

It begins with an extensive review of the recently concluded sprint. This includes an analysis of what was completed, what was not accomplished, and the reasons for delays or obstacles. This analysis helps identify areas for improvement and lessons learned that can be applied in future sprints.

2. Project backlog update

Based on the review, update your project backlog. Remove or edit items that are no longer relevant and add new tasks or requirements that have come to light. Make sure the backlog reflects the current priorities and needs of your project.

backlog project management

3. Next sprint planning

With your updated backlog, the planning for your next sprint begins.  

This process should involve your entire team, ensuring the sprint goals are clear, realistic, and aligned with stakeholder expectations. Determine which backlog elements will be covered and define clear, measurable goals for the following sprint.

Ensure each team member understands the expectations and their role in achieving these goals.

4. Foster communication and collaboration

Emphasize the importance of open communication and collaboration within your team. Promote sharing of ideas, concerns, and feedback to improve the work process and team effectiveness constantly.

Twproject: the ultimate solution for your project backlog

Within the agile project management scenario, choosing the right tool to manage the backlog is crucial. 

Thanks to its dedicated functionality, Twproject stands out as an essential tool for agile backlog management.

It features a user-friendly UI streamlining backlog management, allowing users to easily add, edit and prioritize elements.

The platform fosters collaboration and effective communication within the team, which is critical to keeping everyone aligned on backlog priorities. It also supports progress tracking and provides detailed reports, helping project managers monitor project status and team efficiency.

Its integration with agile methodologies makes it especially suitable for backlog management in dynamic environments, while its support and security features ensure data protection and reliable support. 

Twproject excels not only in project backlog management but also in product backlog support. This helps project managers and teams get a holistic picture of product needs and priorities, making it easier for long-term strategic planning and agile adaptation to evolving market and user needs.

Ultimately, creating and managing an effective project backlog is essential to success in agile project management.

A well-maintained backlog and careful sprint planning empower project managers and their teams to successfully navigate the complexities of projects, maintaining a clear focus on objectives and ensuring that each step is aligned with the overall project vision.

Project managers can lead their projects to remarkable results with the right combination of tools, strategies, and team collaboration.

Plan your projects with Twproject

The project monitoring plan

Project monitoring plays a vital role in the decision-making processes of a project manager.

However, despite being an often overlooked method, if put into practice, project monitoring can help the project manager and his team to foresee potential risks and obstacles that if not treated could bring the project in the wrong direction.

What is a project monitoring plan?

 The monitoring plan of a project consists of keeping track and monitoring of all the data related to the project.

Thanks to this activity the Project Manager can always have control of the situation, identify potential problems, and put the corrective actions into practice. The monitoring plan assures that the project is within the field of application and respects the specified deadlines and budget.

In simple terms,

Project monitoring serves to supervise all project activities in order to make sure everything is as planned.

Monitoring is the fourth phase of the five phases of project management according to the PMBOK: starting, planning, execution, monitoring – precisely – and closure.

The monitoring phase should be performed together with the execution of the project, so that to have useful information on the project.

Project monitoring helps to keep track of project performance and progress using key performance indicators (KPIs) given during project planning.

The most important part of this phase is to identify when a change is needed, what the change entails and how to implement it by impacting the minimum possible on the project.

Why is the project monitoring plan important?

 When project managers make important decisions without verified data, it is like they move into a dark room they don’t know with their eyes closed.

Decisions will be based on very little or no evidence. The action could therefore not be very efficient and could only be a waste of time and resources.

This is why it is important to monitor projects diligently and use the data collected to reach rational and logical decisions.

ere are some basic questions to ask during the project monitoring phase:

  • Are the activities performed as planned?
  • Are there unintended consequences that arise as a result of these activities?
  • Are there any elements of the project that need to be modified and if so which ones?
  • What is the impact of these changes?
  • Will these corrective actions lead to the expected results?

Automation in project monitoring

Automated tools and technologies can simplify the project monitoring process.

Most project managers have already adopted project management tools to delegate tasks and monitor their projects.

monitoring plan

However, project monitoring is a complex process and here the project manager must always be actively involved.

The six advantages of project monitoring

Project monitoring offers six advantages:

1. Align progress with the plan

Monitoring project progress will help assess whether the project is in line with the original plan. Moreover, it will help to understand, if the project is going wrong, what corrective actions to apply.

2. Involvement of interested parties

Monitoring improves stakeholder engagement. If a problem or risk is detected too late, the project sponsor is often powerless. With regular monitoring and clear communication, it will be easier to deal with risks and contingencies.

3. Customer satisfaction

Open communication and feedback increase the likelihood that the final result will meet expectations, thus considering the project a success.

4. Team motivation and responsibility.

Team motivation will have fluctuations during the execution of the project. By monitoring progress and completing the milestones, the team will have clear goals for the project.

5. Management of external suppliers.

Communication is essential for any project, especially when working with external suppliers. Monitoring the performance of these resources will help meet key deadlines, manage the given budget, and take into account unexpected project planning delays. Similarly, it is necessary to share project changes with suppliers, so that they can update their internal plans and be available accordingly.

6. Continuous learning and improvement.

Monitoring represents an ideal opportunity for continuous learning and improvement, as well as planning and project execution. Once the project is finished, it is essential to document the lessons learned, a task that is easier if the project was monitored during the execution.

Methods and techniques for monitoring the project

Project monitoring starts already during the project planning phase.

During this phase, the project manager must decide which are the factors that will define the success of the project. He will also determine how to measure the target using key performance indicators (KPIs).

In this phase, it is also necessary to consult the team and the sponsor of the project.

The KPIs used to track and measure success can be, for example:

  • Cycle time: the time required to complete an activity.
  • Number of program adjustments: how often project planning has been changed.
  • Budget variance: how much the actual budget varies from the project budget
  • Number of errors: the number of times the job needs to be repeated.

Moreover, it is possible to keep track of customer satisfaction, planned working hours compared to the actual ones, etc.

Choosing KPIs is therefore the first piece of the puzzle.

 The 6 phases of project monitoring

1. Identify the goals of the project

The definition of the program goals begins with the answer to three questions:

  • What problem is the project trying to solve?
  • What steps are taken to solve this problem?
  • How will the project team know when the project was successful in solving the problem?

Answering these questions will help identify what the project should do and how the team, and especially the project manager, will know if it was a success or not.

2. Define the indicators

Once the project goals have been defined, it is time to define the indicators to track progress towards achieving them. The indicators trace the progress of the project and help to answer the question “Are the activities implemented as planned?”

3. Define data collection methods and timing

Now it is time to decide the methods for data collection and how often the data will be collected. The method chosen will have important implications for project monitoring. In fact, a wrong method could lead to a wrong perception.

4. Identify roles and responsibilities during monitoring

It is important to decide who is responsible for collecting data for each indicator from the early stages of planning. Data management roles must be clearly decided so that everyone is on the same page.

5. Create an analysis plan and report templates

Once all the data has been collected, someone will have to draw up a table of results for internal review and external reporting. The project monitoring plan should therefore include details on what data will be analyzed and how the results will be presented.

6. Plan data disclosure

The last element of the monitoring plan describes how and to whom the data will be given. For example, a project team might want to review data on a monthly basis in order to make policy decisions and develop future work plans, while other stakeholders may want to review the data every quarter. These options should therefore be discussed with stakeholders in order to determine reasonable expectations for data review and to develop dissemination plans at the beginning of the project.

These six steps are all you need to set up a good quality project monitoring plan.

By consistently applying these steps, each project manager will be able to see how his project is going. Above all, he will be able to intervene promptly to correct the course when necessary, avoiding inappropriate failures.

For us, Twproject represents an efficient solution for monitoring the progress of projects and recording the hours worked, allowing us to save both in terms of costs and energy.

The advantages of using a smart tool like Twproject

If setting all these parameters may seem an hard task, the effort of the project manager can be considerably simplified by using an advanced technological tool such as Twproject, which automatically sets the summary of these data and helps to monitor the progress of all the ongoing projects with simple graphs.

Twproject in fact provides constantly updated and customizable statistics on the progress of projects and, thanks to alerts, warns of critical situations.

Moreover, it ensures that you can keep track of the evolution of your project and go back to previous stages at any time, thanks to its very useful Project Timeline.

Based on the data entered through a guided procedure, Twproject will generate for each project progress diagrams which evaluate several parameters. Thus the project manager will always be aware of any delays in the planned phases, overruns of the established times and the planned budget, exceeding deadlines, overloading resources.

twproject monitoring diagrams

Among project management software, it is the only one to have such a detailed project view and this is definitively its main strength.

But that’s not all: Twproject offers such detailed analysis at each level of the project tree, therefore also for all the sub-phases inserted during the drafting of the WBS.

In short, at all levels of project management and for the various areas involved, it helps to have a complete view of the progress of ongoing projects.

Make a free trial and see how quick and simple it is monitoring projects in all their various aspects with Twproject.

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