Trends in PM Software Tools

Business and communication apps are important in project management. What are some of the most popular tools and what are the unique ways that these tools are used to help you manage your project?

Strategic Workload Automation

Automation and AI are key disruptors to manual and repetitive tasks and can create greater efficiency and free up a project manager’s time to more important activities.  This could include,

• creating workflows across multiple platforms and applications
• orchestrating ITIL process inputs and outputs
• dynamic resource allocation, load balancing
• linking IT services to business requirements, business impact analysis
• dynamic thresholding, heuristic monitoring

Microsoft Office Suite

The standard MS Office Suite is probably the most commonly used PM software. Although not a new trend, this favored position is likely to change over time.

Outlook.  It can easily be argued that Outlook is the most commonly used project management software in existence today. Why? Because 90% of a project managers job is communication. And 2nd only to verbal communication, e-mail communication is the mode.

Excel.  Excel is the suites spreadsheet software that helps you easily organize, display and report on data as well as manage project costing and budgets.  It is also used as an alternative to gantt chart software either as a simple way to track task data or to simulate a gantt chart.

Visio. Often a tool for making gantt charts and network diagrams, Visio is a wonderful flow-charting application. Visio takes a little time to learn, and its primary purpose was not project management. Yet it is an absolutely great tool – and just as powerful as many of the software applications that were created specifically for project management.

Here is a direct quote from one of our students:

“I’ve been obsessively laying out my project plan for next year and updating my network diagram. I even created a Gantt chart. This is incredibly helpful! I saw that I need to crunch my network diagram in order to hit specific dates when I can and can’t do things. I really love Visio, although I am still a novice. One thing that really came to light for me this weekend was that all of these tools really help ensure buy in and success. If I post the Gantt chart for my team to see for next year, it will help build teamwork and buy in to ensure we are all focused on getting this project done. I know communication and teamwork are only part of PM but for me this is so critical. It was like a light bulb went off! I am very excited to share this with my supervisors as we begin working on some larger projects in our library this fall. I anticipate I will be working more with Visio.”

             – Certificate in Project Management student with Successful Projects

Word.  The common choice for developing project plans, use cases, requirements gathering, and other written plans.

PowerPoint.  The common choice for presenting information at stakeholder and team meetings.


Enterprise Tools

Primavera is an enterprise project portfolio management software. It includes project management, product management, collaboration, and control capabilities, and integrates with other enterprise software such as Oracle and SAP’s ERP systems.

class=”Head3″>MS Project has been and remains to be, the most well-used project management software – although probably not the most popular. It’s popular because it is intuitive for Microsoft users. It integrates well with Outlook and the other Office Suite products.  And it is a commonly used tool, so it is easy to find other users and good local training help and support.

MindView 3 Business Edition is a mind-mapping software that helps to brainstorm and visualize ideas quickly. It is supposed to integrate with timelines, Gantt charts, and MS Office software integration for help with project planning.


Software Tools

There is a vast selection of project management software tools available to you.
PC Magazine has a good list to get you started in finding the tool that is the right fit for your requirements. sorts through over 300 software apps for project management to provide you with an assesment of the best ones to explore.