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Project Management Tool Must-Haves: The Ninja Turtles Checklist

Michele Rotini,

Ninja Turtles and Splinter - who is actually an expert Project Manager

From conceptualization to planning, from the performance to the monitoring and closure of a project, the project manager is faced with a variety of skill requirements, tasks and objectives that sometimes makes completion seem like an impossible mission. But nothing is impossible if you have the right team's support. It's not just about having a working group which responds to diverse needs. You also need a number of tools to assist you in every step of project management.

No project manager can do it alone. But to address each project as a success, you have to rely on the resources and the right means. One example is Master Splinter. Yes, I know, it's a hard sell for a huge anthropomorphic rat to be a brilliant project manager. But just think about the many things Ninja Turtles achieved under his management. Being a versatile and effective project manager is like being a good sensei - successfully coordinate a team with members that have their own specialty. It's also to know the right moment to unleash their best weapon.

Raffaello: Do you have a project quotation template?

Speeding things up can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can optimize time for tasks that are being carried out. But on the other hand, you risk lowering the quality of your output. This is particularly true when it comes to preparing a quotation

Take advice from our beefy Ninja Turtle Raffaello. You can prepare an estimate in a short time to be able to quickly meet your customer's request by doing this: have pre-written templates that will allow you to allocate generic resources to quickly determine the costs to be charged to your client. If, for example, a project request will involve a functional analyst, then through the template, you can quickly predict how this resource (which is not linked to a specific person moment) will cost in that project.

Donatello: Can you quickly find the right team members?

Once the customer has accepted the quotation, the next step is to plan the mission (or project) and to have in mind what human resources are available and what skills they can offer to the activities you will undetake. This is where the geeky Donatello come's in. He's well organized and can act as an inventory of skills and abilities of the human resources that will perform our work on a daily basis. This makes the perfect foundation for any project management tool.

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A good project and resource management system makes it possible to put together an information database on the available workers, each with their own characteristics, expertise, assessments of their activities along with the projects that they are already assigned to.

Leonardo: Can you plan projects easily?

After identifying the most appropriate resources among those available we need to clearly define each stage of the project. Scheduling tasks will be a fundamental part in the project planning phase where you assign each objectivealong with its specific due date and the best suited resource person.

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The Gantt chart is one of the fundamentals of project management because it graphically represents the incremental steps in a project. Each project task and activity necessary to complete the project is represented. Having a platform that supports this display optimally is a key requirement in project management. Just think about how to plan your project step-by-step, whether through allocation of resources and assessment of their workloads or restructuring tasks as they are being performed; all these must be planned with tactical precision worthy of the strategist, Leonardo.

Michelangelo: Can you keep track of deadlines?

Not everyone is as fast as the agile turtle Michelangelo! Every resource has their own speed and every task has a deadline. The most important thing is that those deadlines are met.

Therefore, it's essential to have tools such as track time spend to allow each resource to report the hours spent in undertaking each activity and to report the successful closing of an assigned task. In this way, the project manager can have a glance of the situation where the project is located, assess any delays, make deliveries in advance or reschedule some deadlines realistically.

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Splinter: Are your tools really "integrated"?

A skills database, a quotation optimization model, a task planning graphic scheme, being able to clock-in project work time: all these tools are essential for a truly smart project manager. But are they enough?
As a true sensei like Splinter teaches you that having a team of experts at the ready is a big plus. But all efforts will be wasted if you don't know how to make them work together. Tools such as Microsoft Project or Basecamp provide the ability to perform all of these tasks, but what happens when you want them to interact with your CRM or your billing systems? There are other similarly comprehensive tools, such as NetSuite, that complement each phase of the project, both before and after the actual execution, managing the customer from the time they were marked as a lead up to issuing the final invoice and the payments are processed.

If you answered yes to all the above questions then you are a real project management ninja master, but if you still have some doubts on project management, Extra can help you improve by giving you a project management template to optimize your project proposals for your customers. Download it for free here: Project Quotation Generator

Project Management Proposal and Quotation Template

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