It's not unusual for engineering project managers to end up spending their days fighting fires.
Placating stakeholders, defusing tension in the team - toeing the line between people who are concerned they've been overcommitted, and people who wish the work could have been done "yesterday". All while managing the risks associated with large budgets and complex chains of dependencies.
In the middle of all this, your greatest ally is the right project management software. Without the right tools to do your job, you'll forever be wasting valuable time chasing people for status reports and dealing with the fallout from missed communications.
Luckily, there are many different project management tools out there designed to help take some of the strain off engineering project managers. And in this article, we've rounded up some of the best.
No matter your industry, having a reliable project management system is a significant move to help free up your time so you can do other important things, and engineering is no exception.
In other words, project management software is designed to make your life easier. It supports the overall progress of a project and gives its users a bird's eye view of everything that is going on with the tasks, the teams doing it, and even individual team members.
It can also help you manage the risk of delays by helping you spot bottlenecks and understand where critical tasks are being impacted before it becomes a problem.
Additionally, it can be enormously helpful for your relationship with clients and other interested parties. If you're holding a meeting with stakeholders, the chances are they are going to ask you a lot of questions that your software platform is going to be able to answer.
With easy access to the metrics and a clear overview of how each phase of the project is progressing, your conversations with stakeholders are going to be a lot more productive and grounded in the facts.
Project management software is a diverse field - you may be surprised, but many of the platforms you'll come across operate very differently and offer varying features. Some tools are built with the goal of nailing one specific function, and doing it well (like a ticketing or bug-tracking software). Others are a "one stop shop".
We've compiled a list of ten of the absolute best platforms out there, so take a look. Most come with a free trial, so you can give it a try to see if it fits your needs.
And not only that: as many of them also vary in price range, we've included the price tag, so you can see whether or not it's a solution that suits your budget.
When it comes to big-picture planning, especially for long-term engineering projects, Runn is the perfect tool for your engineering team.
This project management software can also provide resource management and forecast your personnel needs for projects in your pipeline. Runn lets you know if you're going over the project budget and if you have enough staffing for your upcoming engineering projects.
Capacity planning for the entire team is available and can be checked with just one click. Managers and directors in the engineering sector can quickly assess their teams' utilization rates, which might reveal mismatched resources and other issues that threaten project efficiency. Runn gives you access to everyone's timesheets, so you can view their billable hours and time spent on each engineering task.
Transparency helps deliver projects successfully, and with Runn, engineering teams are supplied with corresponding charts, graphs, and tables for a range of metrics. These show whether you have met your target dates, easily monitor costs, and are your guide for analyzing future engineering project plans and strategies.
Price: You can use Runn for $10 per user/per month, or $8 per user/per month if you pay annually. Small engineering teams can also use Runn free of charge, and various discounts are available depending on where your company is located.
Jira is a leading project management software for engineering teams who want to maximize output. The Jira boards can be personalized to match your engineering processes and customizable dashboards align with your agile, scrum, or Kanban workflows.
Jira also provides engineering projects an opportunity to work with ease by tracking both dependencies and individual functions.
Manage risks as the project progresses with Jira's tracking tool that updates changes and keeps everyone in sync. Task management will be a breeze and can help prioritize and reduce engineering backlogs using Jira Align and roadmap views. This allows you and your teams to communicate even for intricately detailed and multi-layered engineering projects easily.
Price: Jira's free version is available for up to 10 users, its paid version standard plan is $7.75 per user per month, and its premium plan is $15.25 per user per month.
Wrike is an engineering project management software that lets you monitor quality assurance, budget planning, and real-time collaboration under one roof. Its key features help you save time by conveniently checking on project statuses anytime, anywhere.
This software supports agile project management teams and all engineering projects. Wrike has a workload and timesheet view for appropriately delegating tasks, schedules, and functions. As a result, users can use Wrike to help them achieve deadlines, increase employee accomplishments with the assignment of suitable roles, and identify the right engineering resource solutions for long-term projects.
Price: Wrike offers a free version for one user and various paid options depending on the number of users and access to features. $9.80 per user per month for growing engineering teams, $24.80 per user per month for more than 25 users, and enterprise plans for big teams.
If you are looking for engineering project management software that keeps all stakeholders informed and updated, Teamwork is suitable for your needs. It lets you collaborate with your clients, contractors, freelancers, dealers, and team leaders all in one place for maximum transparency.
Gain control over your budget by setting estimates, and tracking time and costs, while taking advantage of the custom view no matter the format of your project. Communicate easily using Teamwork's Kanban boards, Gantt chart, or table workflow to ensure the engineering project plan is on the same page as the clients'.
You can also use Teamwork to analyze the engineering firm's finances with its real-time performance versus profit reports.
Price: Teamwork is free for a maximum of 5 users and 2 projects. The basic paid plan is $9.99 per user per month, while the plan with full features is available at $17.99 per month.
Engineers choose Asana for its project management tools that help you manage calendars, create programs and sprints, and track bugs during significant deploys.
Monitor project performance with Gantt charts or match your Scrum processes easily with Asana. Keep an eye on several ongoing engineering projects when you track progress using product roadmaps to let you stay ahead even before product offerings begin.
It also allows you to categorize tasks according to their completion status, volume and size, and who it is assigned to. Finally, centralize feedback with Asana's product assessment to better provide for your customers while improving your decision-making system and processes.
Price: Up to 15 team members can join Asana's free account, while the premium plan is $10.99 per user per month, and the business plan at $24.99 per user per month.
With Forecast, engineers can enjoy more accurate estimates and project plans, and place the best suitable people for the job based on available resources using its Auto-Schedule feature.
Forecast makes it simple to track timelines and efficiently deliver client solutions. Its innovative AI features also help you identify trends in project progress, before you find yourself irreparably off-track.
Manage projects while keeping the organization involved with Forecast's collaboration and overview of the entire account. From start to finish, you will be able to get a grasp of your team's capacity and availability for future projects.
Price: You can enjoy Forecast for your engineering projects at $29 per user per month for the Lite plan and $48 per user per month for the Pro plan.
Billing or invoicing tools can be hard to deal with, especially if you are not well-versed in accounting. As engineering specialists, it's a struggle for some to juggle project and financial management, so having software that handles your invoices effectively is a non-negotiable solution.
Paymo offers online invoicing and estimates for your current engineering project. This way, you can share accurate estimates with clients for approval and instantly turn them into professional invoices with just a few clicks. You are also provided an automated process to track time, timelines with corresponding expenses, and a profitability tracker for client and employee performance.
Price: Enjoy its free trial for 15 days, after which, Paymo is free for personal use, $4.95 per month for freelancers, $9.95 per user per month for small teams, and $20.79 for medium and large organizations.
Linear is suitable for you if you are looking for management software for engineering that needs to streamline communication. It lets you collaborate with your employees, stakeholders, and contractors regarding issues, sprint plans, and even product roadmaps. With Linear, you can check your workflow and update changes depending on your customization and filters.
This project management tool also offers Cycles, an automatic tracker that monitors your routines, predicts risks, and reduces scope creep, so you are prepared for any upcoming engineer challenges. Personalize your engineering plans by encoding the project duration, start and end date, and people involved. You can also do the same for your roadmaps, notifications, and progress insights to focus and identify other project needs efficiently.
Price: Linear's standard plan is $8 per user/per month for the unlimited creation of issues. The plus plan is $14 per user/per month, including audit log and app management services. For teams with fewer than 250 engineering issues, Linear is free.
Engineering tasks are often based on the team's availability, and being overbooked is a no-no. With Hive's help, engineering groups can control their workflows, and actionable cards are constantly updated, visible, and prioritized according to the job required.
The Hive Notes feature is also especially useful to ensure all changes are documented, team members are accountable, and clear communication is fostered, even in cross-department collaborations. Metrics reporting is also essential to help assess present project implementation, policies, and strategies.
Price: For teams of up to 10 users free, Hive is free. For larger teams, you can use Hive for $12 per user/per month. You can also contact their sales for enterprise plans with flexible feature inclusions.
If client management is your biggest pain point as an engineering firm, Accelo may be a good solution. Accelo helps you keep track of timelines, costs, employees, processes, and clients in one platform, integrating with a wide range of CRM, comms, and invoicing tools.
At all stages of the project journey, from sales to delivery, Accelo links up tools that you may already be using. As a result, it helps you maximize the efficiency of existing workflows.
Price: For minimum of five team members, Accelo is $24 per user/per month for the Plus plan, or $39 per user/per month for the Premium plan.
Whether you operate a small, specialized firm, or work within a company that tackles an impressive number of diverse projects every year, the software you choose to help management your projects is going to make a big difference.
Clunky and labyrinthine software isn't going to make your day any better. You want a tool that takes the complexity of your projects and parses that information with ease.
Runn makes resource and capacity management simple for engineering firms that run hundreds of projects. Runn is simple to learn and intuitive to navigate, while giving you all the insights you need to make the best decisions for now and for the future. Make the most of the resources you have, understand your capacity, and keep track of your project finances all with Runn.
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