Knowledge and skill for project is important. However, the tools used for these processes are equally important since they interact with everyone involved in the project .They are therefore be very helpful to the manager and the staff. For this reason appropriate tools must be selected for the smooth running of the project. The team will also be assured of the completion of the project (Kendick, 2010).
Project management tools
Microsoft project software is a tool used in scheduling of a project. In using this tool, some ground work ought to be done like allocation of resources and indentifying dependencies. Dependency is where activities are correlated or interdependent so that one cannot proceed without the other. There are other software programs that can be used; Open workbench, dot project, net office and TUTOS
Spreadsheet software is one important tool in project management. Excel has features that enable in construction of gantt charts. These help in scheduling, budgeting and reporting. Plans and progress reporting is easily done through gantt charts. This is an appropriate tool in reducing project duration which is an aim in the new RAE billing project. Additionally, the team, particularly the manager is able to track the progress of the project. They are flexible in that changes can easily be done without much disruption.
Financial planning for a project like this that involves relatively detailed cash processes, gantt charts will be a necessity. By the use of gantt charts expenses can be estimated and reported easily since it shows the series of activities to be carried out. This is also important in establishing clear payment procedures thus avoiding possible conflicts and dissatisfaction among the team members.
Other tools include use of risk impact or probability charts. In every project, there are risks involved, however not all risks can be addressed since this can be time consuming and expensive. This chart helps in identifying the risks that will bring the largest impacts on the projects and therefore require more attention. This is done by using the chart to rate the probability of the risk occurring as well as evaluating the impact.
Brainstorming ,is another important technique, used at the initial stages of the project. It involves collection of ideas and views from the team. This can be helpful in developing teamwork spirit since the members ideas are involved. Fishbone diagrams can also be very useful in fault finding. This contributes to improvement of the project. It is a diagram drawn with a central line running to the left around which other contributing factors are attached. It is therefore important in identifying the unseen crucial aspects of the project. It can used in the brainstorming stage(Kerzner, 2009).
Project critical path analysis is another tool that helps in identifying interrelated activities within the project. It also helps establish the flow of activities. This is possible by use of a flow chart, a form of a time line. Overlapping activities are identified so that unnecessary delays are avoided. It is also important in the scheduling of activities and cash allocation. Contingency planning is very critical. It gives a provision for any uncertainty. It gives an outline of actions to be taken and extra resources set aside incase unforeseen delays of extra expenses incurred. Focusing on the objectives of project when the complexities of the project come in can be challenging to the manger, to enable him do this, logframes which consolidates top-down approaches, analyzing risks and assumptions and determining controls of monitoring and managing are used.
Communication is a simple but a vital tool. Giving the team a plan and constantly giving updates of the progress not only informs them of what is happening but also corperation and commitment among the team members is assured. Consultations are also important in the process of carrying out activities. Those in all the three departments should be fully involved in both planning and implementation process. Ideas from other department apart from customer service, billing and sales are encouraged. Changes and aims should be clearly communicated(Taylor et al, 2010).
Duties and responsibilities should be clearly outlined. This ensures accountability and responsibility among the members. Incase of conflicts, dialogues and agreements should be reached. In delegating duties, proper delegation methods like performing models should be used. Explanations should be clearly be done to those who are delegated members. Johari Window is model that used for reviewing and reminding members of the mutual agreements thus building a team mentality so that fragmentations do not occur.
Finally, human resource management techniques like encouraging, supporting, complementing loudly and rebuking softly, giving the necessary freedom are necessary. Tight inspection and checking procedures kills morale but are necessary for the inexperienced from the two departments. Identifying personalities helps in building relationships with the team members and also in helping others develop the same. Training to vendors who are to fill the gaps and also to those ion the billing and sales who are conversant with the system is necessary. Follow up to the trained staff on the adaptability and progress of the system. It will ensure maximum returns from the project.