If you work at a services-based company, you are probably always managing projects. You have some kind of system to keep track of those projects, even if it is very basic, like email or Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet software. So, is there a better option?
But one disadvantage of using email for project management is that there isn’t one consolidated view of a project. Each team member knows what he or she should be doing, but doesn’t necessarily have an overall view of each project and can’t update the team without sending a lot of additional emails. Time is wasted with the team sending emails back and forth, attempting to stay up to date.
Another tool for tracking projects is Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software. With Excel software, you can track a project in a spreadsheet and the file can be shared when changes or updates are made. With everyone looking at the same spreadsheet, team members can stay up to date.
But one disadvantage of using Microsoft Excel software for project management is the risk of data corruption. When multiple people make updates to one file, data corruption becomes a real danger. Also, large Excel files can be unwieldy and prone to crashing.
As companies outgrow using email and Excel software for project management, they often turn to Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project will certainly do what its name implies – give you a robust platform to manage your projects.
But one disadvantage of using Microsoft Project for project management is that it may be too robust for your needs. It is a complex solution both in terms of IT knowledge requirements and user friendliness. All team members may not understand how to use this solution to keep up to date with their projects, which is the main purpose of having it in the first place.
So, what is the right tool for project management?
The best place to manage your project information is in your existing customer relationship management (CRM) system. That’s where all your important data resides. An integrated project management tool allows you to easily take advantage of the information that has already been entered in the CRM system. You can associate a project with an account in your Dynamics 365 software, and the project lead will be a contact in the system. Once a sales opportunity closes, you will have a services engagement that equates to a project. When the project is finished, you can continue to support that client and add new projects.
While there is a project service automation (PSA) app inside Microsoft Dynamics 365 software, it may offer more capabilities than you want. Many professional services companies want a simple, easy-to-use project management tool. The Crowe Project Management add-on designed for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) is a simple solution focused on managing the tasks, budgets, and milestones that define a project.
How does this compare to what you are using now for project management?
In Part 2 of this topic, we’ll discuss eight specific ways that the Crowe Project Management add-on can help you effectively manage your projects.
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