Developing a project plan can be a tedious and challenging task than completing the project itself. This is because proper project management requires adequate planning, project status tracking, aspects of minimizing costs, duration, and managing other resources. As a result, project management application is inevitable. Project management applications are available on various formats like stand-alone programs or online based applications. This paper will look at the concept of project management and review an online project management application.
Falguni (2007) describes project management as an ordered series of actions and activities that involves initiating, planning, monitoring, and controlling resources from project conception to project launch, as well as conducting follow-ups after project implementation. Project management is usually constrained by time, financial resources or deliverables. Furthermore, James et al., (2012) believes project management is an art as well as a science, that requires continuous practice to perfect and development of distinct technical skills and management strategies, that borrows heavily from areas of communication, human resources, risk management, quality assurance, procurement, time management, change management just to mention a few. Lynette and Barbara(2007) are of the opinion that, project management software/applications are tools that typically provides individuals or project managerswith a single point of access to wealth information regarding resource scheduling, documentation, bug and issue reporting, assigning of tasks, budget and expense management, time management , collaborative tools not forgetting quality control.
In the world today, there exists numerous and robust solutions that cut across different organization needs and setting depending on their ease of use, scope of features, size of the project, free applications, commercial off the shelf to customizable applications, stand-alone programs to online applications, complex applications to simple applications with basic features among others. In this the Project manager has the prerogative of selecting the software that best suits their business or organization (Falguni, 2007). Falguni (2007) further adds that, different projects differ in terms of size, budget and therefore different project managers have the privilege of choosing the software/application that best suits them and the project needs ranging from; free to expensive management tools, stand-alone programs to online applications and from specific feature project management tool to an all-in-one solution package with essential features.
In this paper, the writer reviews a project management application called Clarizen. Clarizen is a powerful application that uniquely combines social collaboration with project management features, which is fast to deploy and easy to use. As a social collaboration tool, Clarizen provides newsfeed that displays all discussion posts relevant to the project solely to each and every team member, providing a fast and easy way to get real-time updates, instant insights, and other useful information relevant to the project (Brandy, Naftali, and Omgwell,2006). Lynette and Barbra (2007) further indicates thatClarizen harnesses the power of social media to organize the team in the work place and provide real-time updates rather relying on conference calls, long meetings and missed emails. In addition, according to James et al., (2012) Clarizen is a cloud-based application, accessible via the internet thus very cost effective in that, it relieves the business IT resources as it only requires an internet connection and the complex hardware and software installations is nothing to worry about. Clarizen has an awesome feature that includes ability to manage resources, reports, time tracking, scheduling, issues and bugs, budgets, requests, clear visibility by the project manager to monitor project status, manage budgets, resources, documents, free email-only accounts for clients as well as multiple customizable reports. Lynette and Barbara(2007) figures out that, Clarizen works perfectly on two platforms namely; online platform-where the application is accessed via a PC and mobile platform -where the service sis accessed via tablets,smartphones and other hand-held devices. Clarizen has an intuitive interface that is user friendly, easy to learn, therefore minimizing the need for training. (Falguni, 2007)attests another key feature that can’t be ignored is the expense and revenue monitoringfeature which helps in estimating the financial impact of a project before commencing the project and tracking the actual expenses and revenues after project commencement. Revenue and expense reports can be generated at any time. Furthermore, Lynette and Barbara (2007) affirm that Clarizen can manage multiple projects using a well-elaborated roadmap and cross-project dependencies. Roadmaps provide a clear visibility of all projects at a glance and it only requires, dragging and dropping milestones in to place. Finally, Clarizen has an awesome customer service support ranging from the webinars, excellent wiki-based documentations and technical support.
Preimesberg (2008) contrasts by highlighting that Clarizen is an expensive application that comes with a premium monthly subscription fee, though it still offers a 30 days trial version to its client. On reporting, Clarizen has a little more to do on generating reports, as it is now a bit of struggle generating customizable reports above the standard offering. Another drawback to this application is the inability to view recent activity, although not a crucial feature it helps in tracking progress of individual projects and tasks.
In conclusion, Clarizen is a one stop shop for project managers as it allows project managers or individuals, ability to manage all of their schedules, time, documents, projects and resources in a single, simple way to use environment. Clarizen requires no complex hardware or software installations, as it is a cloud based application, only requiring an internet connection, thus making the application cost effective and time conscious as teams and projects get up running instantly. This is appropriate for students and small –to – medium enterprises that do not have to invest in expensive software and hardware. The application’s interface is intuitive nature, making it easy to learn and use, and the innovative email integration capacity guarantees smooth and quick adoption by new users as well keeping the project team on track with updated project data and status. The application can be accessed via tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices making the customer experience awesome. Clarizen remains the project management application of choice not only for the writer but also for many other project managers outside there, in particular, first time project managers in small and medium enterprises.
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