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Planning software exercise

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 6th February 2014



Hi Paul,


Can you critique the below please?



Describe 5 major examples of how software tool can help in planning a project and give examples of where three of them might be helpful in solving common planning problems. 


1.       Helps producing iterations – Project planning is an iterative process and software tools allow for the project plan to be easily changed without the need for re-producing the whole plan, saving time.

2.       Supports work groups – Software tools help as they allow for virtual collaboration when producing the plan. For example, the project plan file can be saved on a global server and teams from different countries can duly access the plan.

3.       Excellent reporting – They help by producing a wide range of reports without the need for the PM to spend time formulating the reports. For example, the software tool could produce a resource histogram report to show where there is under utilisation of resources.

4.       Supports what if modelling – This helps the planners to factor in contingency time into the plan to allow for adverse risks that may arise. The software tool can manipulate task dependencies during the modelling, and then quickly reverse the changes with ease, to predict the effect of risks on the project objectives.  

5.       Ease of use – Software tools are good at undoing any planning errors and allow for corrections to be implemented without high effort input. They are globally used and a wide audience will be familiar with the popular software packages, allowing for quick planning.

Planning problems

1.       Lack of team involvement – By having the project file on a global server, globally disperse teams can all have involvement in the planning which will produce a more realistic schedule

2.     Project plan changes or errors – Any changes or errors in the original project plan iterations can be quickly amended without having to physically rewrite the project plan on paper.  

3.     Resource under utilisation – Gantt charts and resource histograms help optimise the use of resources by giving a holistic view of the projects resource allocation and allowing for peaks/troughs to be smoothed out.