Category Archives: Project Management

  • What are the most useful cloud based tools used in agile based project management?

    What are the most useful cloud based tools used in agile based project management?

    A project is an attempt to achieve a unique goal by temporarily focusing people and resources on creating a result. That result can be a product, service, organizational change, software application or any other result that brings value to the project’s sponsor.

    Project managers apply skills, tools, knowledge, and methods to the activities performed on behalf of the project in order to meet its requirements. Only by effectively applying all of this can a project succeed. It starts with a strategy on how best to bring into reality the project manager’s vision, ideas, and goals. The decision on method and tools is critical to the project’s success. The increasing availability and lower cost of digital solutions allow powerful tools and methods to be used in even the smaller projects. There is no longer a need to manage a project exclusively with tools such as sticky notes, paper, and whiteboards. The increasing understanding of collaboration to achieve results and the use of virtual teams demand new tools and methods for managing projects.

    Today, if your project result is a software application, the methodology of choice is agile. Agile is a widely adopted method used for many years now. It applies incremental iterations in a flexible and interactive manner with the end customer to deliver over several releases a solution or application that meets customer requirements. Agile development emphasizes collaboration and a non-hierarchical management structure between developers, product managers, and customers.

    Until a few years ago small businesses and organizations would not have the budget or inclination to purchase information technology systems and tools for exclusive use in managing projects. The capital costs, investment in training and maintenance costs were factors that prevented their widespread use.

    But things began to change when cloud-based solutions and tools for project management lowered the entry costs and training requirements, providing anywhere, anytime access with zero maintenance costs. You don’t have to develop and purchase IT infrastructure. The user interface and procedures are designed to be easy to learn and intuitive for any individual with a basic understanding of personal computers. Those are the prime reasons why more and more businesses and organizations are opting for solutions based in the cloud.

    If you are tasked with developing and managing software application projects here are four examples of cloud-based tools for managing projects.

    1. Jira

    Developed by Atlassian, it was initially created and marketed as an issue tracking tool. Today it goes beyond that and it’s one of the most popular tools for managing agile software development projects and encouraging collaboration between teams and individuals. It can be customized to a particular project or work culture and has over 25,000 customers around the world including some of the largest corporations such as Walmart. It provides functions for managing projects and tracking bugs, issues, and tasks throughout the full agile development life-cycle.

    2. Asana

    Asana is advertised as a work tracking tool with agile project management features. Used mostly for web and mobile applications development, it started as an internal tool developed at Facebook for improving the productivity of its employees. It has functions that allow users to manage tasks and projects online without the need of external communications such as e-mail. Teams create workspaces and those workspaces can have projects and projects can have tasks. To each task, users can add comments, notes, and tags that allow all team members and managers to instantly know task status and issues. Followers of a task can get updates on their workspace inbox.

    3. Basecamp

    This is the calmer, saner and better-organized way to communicate and manage projects enterprise-wide according to Basecamp marketing. It has a reputation as a user-friendly tool requiring little training on how to use most of its features such as sharing ideas, getting status reports on your e-mail account, finding and recovering files easily and managing user access. It’s lacking in time management and analytical tools.

    4. Trello

    By now you have realized that collaboration is at the heart of the agile way of doing things. Trello is for many the tool of choice in this regard. Managers can organize projects into boards and in a glance know what’s being worked on who is doing it. It also shows where a task is in the process workflow. It has a beautiful graphical interface for creating and organizing the boards, lists, and cards that are at the heart of Trello’s organizational capabilities.

    5. Pivotal

    Pivotal Tracker breaks your project into manageable chunks that you can prioritize, organize, and collaborate. Agile tools such as backlogs and user stories are explicitly supported. Project managers and team members can quickly find out on status, task responsibilities and what’s next.

    6. Wrike

    Another online tool for enabling users to manage workflows and schedules while collaborating with one another. Multilingual project teams will be pleased to know that it supports Japanese, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Russian and Italian. A free version with limited features is available with task creation, task assignment and task status markings for a basic but still powerful workflow management tool.

  • Methodology for Project Management

    How to choose the right methodology for project management?

    Choosing the right methodology for project management

    In the world of project management, the methodology for project management you use to develop the product is an extremely important decision. It will affect the entire process and can make or break the success of a project, which is why knowing the specifics about the these methods is necessary.


    The waterfall methodology for project management is a more traditional route and is very common across the software industry. It consists of a linear sequence of stages during which one aspect of the project is completed before moving on to the next, which has both advantages and disadvantages. These stages are Requirements, Design, Implementation, Test, Installation and Maintenance.

    Waterfall is useful when all of the requirements and deliverable for the project are known upfront. This methods linear nature makes it structured and inflexible. Structure is provided, making milestones easily understood. Quality is emphasized over costs and time. If you know for a fact that specifications are not going to change, or the technology being used is well understood, then using this methodology for project management may be a good choice. Example situations could be creating new versions of existing products or porting a product to a new platform. In addition, if your team is more familiar with Waterfall than Agile methodologies it is possible that training the team in something such as Scrum is not worth it.

    On the other hand, uncertainties in the project are a sign that Agile is a better fit. Due to the fact that the project development is done in stages, going back to a previous stage once finished is impossible. This gives little opportunity for the client to preview the system and makes deliverable pretty much set in stone for each phase. Also practically speaking, since implementation is done all at once, integration of modules or components is also done as one big bang at the end.


    In direct contrast with the Waterfall methodology, Agile is a much more dynamic project management style which takes into account the iterative nature of software. It emphasizes communication, collaboration, flexibility and a working product over documentation. This makes Agile a good fit for projects with co-located teams, less rigid constraints and a schedule that is not finalized.


    Scrum is a very well-known and common Agile methodology for project management with a high focus on communication and accountability. It uses a technique called Sprints which are two to six week periods during which a specific set of high priority tasks are completed. Tools such as burn down charts and scrum boards are used to track progress, and meetings are an integral part of the process. These meetings and tools are meant to increase collaboration and ensure that necessary functionality is being implemented. Additionally, a retrospective meeting is also held after every Sprint so that issues in the process can be addressed and improved upon for the next sprint.

    If quick iteration and responding to changes is important for your project, then Scrum is a good project development methodology to use. There should be a stable product at the end of each Sprint, with business needs always prioritized. In addition, Scrum team members often work on many tasks without specializing in one role. It is good to take your teams skill sets into consideration when deciding on a management methodology.

    Scrum is not all sunshine and rainbows however. Customer interaction is a valuable part of Scrum, so a customer that is unclear about what is needed will make implementing this methodology difficult. Also, as mentioned earlier, documentation is difficult due to the ever changing state of the project. It quickly becomes obsolete, along with some of the work that has already been completed in previous sprints.

    In conclusion, two common methodologies for project management are Waterfall and Agile. They each take very different approaches. Waterfall is a linear sequence that is structured and relatively easy to understand. It defines a strict set of requirements up front at the cost of flexibility. Agile is a more iterative approach that prioritizes communication and embraces the changing quality of most projects.

    Select right methodology for project management