A large portion of the work done in the professional services industry is project-based, making project management a critical skill in this industry. Effective project management is a necessity for professional services, but even with the heavy emphasis on this skillset, there is a critical gap that’s continuing to have detrimental consequences to businesses. Based on a research study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania:
If these stats aren’t alarming enough, the report also found that out of every $1 billion invested in projects, $122 million is wasted due to poor execution.
The best way to fill the project management gap is to implement a system that can help track projects to ensure work is getting done on time. That’s one of Accelo’s core strengths - it gives teams the tools they need to be a project manager regardless of their experience. Accelo’s Project Management features are unique because they stack with our CRM and align all billable client communication, making it easier to time-track and keep all of your work logs organized in the right place.
Within Accelo, the Project module specifically represents a robust tool, capable of handling the different moving parts of a project, along with complex time and value budgets, all while showcasing data on various dashboards that are updated in real-time. In this blog post, we're going to break down how Accelo's Projects module can help manage your work for you.
By utilizing the full power of the Projects module, you can expect the following:
The Project Management Institute identifies five process groups as key for any projects workflow: Initiate > Plan > Execute > Monitor & Control > Close. Accelo follows the same logic by allowing businesses to create their own Project workflows for these process groups. You will have full control over mapping out how your projects will flow. Here are visuals of what you can expect to see in Accelo after setting up your customized workflow:
(Image: List of possible progression actions that can be added into your Project Type workflow)
(Image: On top is a sequence of progressions and below is a new progression being built: connecting a status to the next one)
When it comes to actually building out the ideal project schedule, the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide recommends developing a detailed Work Breakdown Structure, which is where Accelo’s Tasks lists come in handy. The Work Breakdown Structure focuses on defining the total scope of the project by identifying the different components it will entail. In Accelo, this helps us create a sequence of tasks and identifies the project team and all key stakeholders, so everyone is aligned on their roles and responsibilities.
(Image: Adding in a new contributor to the project and defining their role in the project)
While Accelo helps you plan your ideal workflow, it’s likely that during the project there will be issues that arise which will inevitably challenge the project team to ensure everything progresses according to plan. According to Project Management For The Unofficial Project Manager by Kogon, Blakemore and Wood, there are six common constraints that may negatively impact a project: Scope, Quality, Resources, Budget, Risk, and Time.
Accelo’s Project module arms teams with an array of gadgets to counter these constraints while mitigating scope creep. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, scope creep is defined as the tendency of a project to change and grow into an uncontrollable monster. The customized workflow clearly lays out what work needs to be completed, which keeps the team on track and ensures everyone is aware of the project scope. Accelo assists with keeping resources and budgets in check - both FTE hours (full-time equivalent) and financial budgets are integral to creating a project template in Accelo, as well as Triggers, which flag any missteps that may arise. Another helpful feature is the Approval tool, which comes in handy when managing time entries and resource allocation by allowing project administrators to quickly access and even edit user work logs. The flexibility of editing the Project Plan and our adaptive scheduling also allows users to make changes to any live project as the scope or schedule changes due to external factors.
Gantt charts are a great way to plan and schedule projects. It’s an easy method to visualize the timeline and show what work needs to be done on a specific day. Accelo’s Project Plan screen also doubles as an interactive Gantt Chart, which tracks progress on deadlines and enables you to complete your deliverables.
In Accelo, you can actually access a preliminary templated Project Plan as early as the Quote creation, which is a proposal of work for your client. Once approved by the client, this Quote’s preliminary Gantt chart can be directly converted into a live Project Plan, complete with calendar dates, so you can compare the proposed schedule and budgets. Once a user compares their initial plan to real-life dates, the Project Manager can finally identify the Critical Path.
The critical path: the longest sequence of scheduled activities that must start and end, as scheduled, that determine the duration of the project. If any activity on the critical path is late, the entire project will be late.
Here’s an example of what you can expect from a Gantt chart in Accelo:
(Image: The edit plan page with the project plan on the left and the interactive Gantt chart on the right)
It’s a Project Management proverb that a cadence of visibility and accountability produces not only reliable and repeatable results, but also a high-performance team! Accelo’s Projects Module can get your team closer to achieving that, whether you have a formal background check in project management or not! From our customized workflows to our flexible Gantt charts, you will be well-equipped to manage any multi-dimensional project!
Try out our Projects module today with an Accelo Free Trial to become your own Project Manager!