In this post, we share some of the key findings from Mr Gantt's Big Project Management survey.
From task lists and boards to scheduling and time tracking, you're somewhat spoilt for choice for tools that help you run your project. Have a cursory glance around the internet at project management software, and the common theme is that they all tend to focus on project delivery, not planning.
Not all of those who manage projects are project managers
In our recent survey, an overwhelming majority who took part (78%) had received some project management training, with close to 50% having at least one formal project management qualification.
While good, it has to be said that a sizable percentage of those who participated held roles as professional project managers. Therefore, the results may not indicate the broader level of training among those who run projects.
Project managers are typically professionally trained and undoubtedly understand the importance of proper planning. People who run projects, which is most of us, who aren't formally trained, would be forgiven for thinking that a project starts with listing out hundreds of tasks, assigning them to people and scheduling them, but that's not how it should be, and that's what Mr Gantt aims to solve.
The importance of planning projects
Investing time into project planning directly correlates with the outcome and whether it's a success or failure. As concluded by the Project Management Institute in this article which looked at numerous studies on the importance of project planning:
"Planning is associated with project success; both project efficiency and overall project success."
So, how much time should you spend on project planning?
There is no perfect amount of time to spend on project planning. Spend too little, and your project has a higher chance of failure, but spend too much, and you'll also run into problems trying to manage so many moving parts. So how do you know how much time to invest? Mr Gantt suggests following tried and tested project management methodologies and best practices.
Humans have managed projects since the first people made rudimentary hand tools, and as you might hope, we've learnt a thing or two along the way. Today there exists a wealth of information built on hundreds of years of studies, research and experience, so you needn't re-invent the wheel. You can quickly learn how to give yourself the best chance of success.
I don't have time for methodologies and theory. I've got deadlines to meet!
For those of you who are fully loaded with projects and are focused on getting things done, investing time in planning is one thing, but finding the time to learn about methodologies and best practices is another thing altogether. This is precisely why Mr Gantt helps you learn while you work.
Learn while doing with Mr Gantt
We've designed Mr Gantt so that you can learn all about project management best practices and processes while you work. We know that time is at a premium for many of you, so in Mr Gantt, you'll find bite-sized video tutorials that simplify project management best practices, minimising the time you spend on planning, while still ensuring it's done well.
How will I plan projects in Mr Gantt?
In Mr Gantt, you'll follow a tried and tested process for planning the perfect project. Here's a quick summary of how it works:
- Define your project - hold a kickoff meeting with stakeholders to agree on the project's desired outcomes (features) and agree on budgets and deadlines.
- Identify tasks and dependencies - without getting into the fine detail of everything that needs to happen, you'll identify 30-50 high-level tasks that are required to deliver the features of the project. You'll then put them in a sequence, mapping out any dependencies.
- Predict durations and costs before allocating resources - next, working with the people delivering the project, you'll predict timescales and costs associated with each task. Mr Gantt will find the critical path, and you can then assign tasks to individuals (resources).
- Build-in contingency and crash the project - an often overlooked part of project management is building in contingency time and budget. Mr Gantt will be on hand to explain how to calculate the perfect amount that protects you, while not being excessive. Finally, you can edit the project (crashing) to ensure it meets the original targets if you need to.
- Run and monitor your project - now you're ready to start the project! Report back to Mr Gantt with actual time used, money spent and progress made, and you'll get visualisations of project performance, both historical and forecast. If things look like they're going off-track, Mr Gantt will pop up to offer advice on how you can turn things around.
Plan projects perfectly with Mr Gantt
As all projects start with good planning, that's where we've focused our efforts on the first version of Mr Gantt. We've designed it for busy business people that need a hand getting things done without becoming bogged down in training and theory. While we've built in some excellent project monitoring tools, allowing you to track progress and get help if things go badly, Mr Gantt v1 isn't another task management app. In time, we will be expanding the software to include more functionality, but our initial aim is to plug the gap we see with project planning.