As projects become more complex, electrical contractors need high-tech management methods to ensure more efficient results. Here are just a few examples to help you get headed in the right direction.
This web-based project and task management software enables project managers to share files and notes and facilitate collaboration. Users can access 5pm through the Internet from iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices. According to Reviews.com, its design is clean, with a user-friendly layout.
Reviewers say adding tasks and making adjustments to existing data is easy. In addition, users can import comma-separated values (CSV) files, enabling managers to adjust dates and assign tasks. However, tasks cannot be edited directly within the detail view, and there is no simple way to edit a large volume of tasks quick and efficiently. In addition, 5pm does not have a central file management location.
This project-management app for Android is designed to improve project planning and team collaboration by enabling users to create, assign and schedule tasks; adjust project timelines; attach images and files to the project plan; receive push notifications; and access files remotely. According to Reviews.com, email integration enables users to comment on and discuss folders and tasks within the app, and it has powerful file-management features.
However, there is a considerable learning curve when initially structuring projects. In addition, the app falls short in providing a high-level view into everything that’s going on, and navigating between the primary list, table, timeline and workload views can be slow and choppy.
This business plan software runs on an iPad and is designed to enable users to visualize, maintain and simplify projects on Gantt charts; lay out tasks; arrange project calendars and resources; and track task status. The app uses gestures to update task time, sequence, link and other task properties; to change start time of the entire project; to zoom; to centralize tasks or days; to select and scroll tasks; or to collapse or expand task groups. Users can create multiple projects, organize tasks into groups and add milestones. In addition, users can copy and paste tasks and divide and repeat them with either partial or full project duplication. Project information can be shared in a variety of ways, and the app supports importing and exporting files. The amount of functionality, however, means the learning curve is steeper.
Project Planning Pro
This project-management tool for iOS, Android and Windows tablets features the ability to create and import project plans and schedules; import plans from Microsoft Project using Dropbox, BOX, email and iTunes; export plans as XML files and share them as PDF or CSV files; create custom calendars; use multiple views; filter tasks; get task status notifications; and view project level and resource level summary reports in PDF.
According to appPicker.com, two of Project Planning Pro’s best features are its ability to help users build teams and allocate resources and to carry out cost calculations of total resource and task expenditures. In addition, the app enables users to back up and restore plans at any time and to reorder tasks to create the perfect project plan.
This iPhone and iPad app is a mobile companion to the online work-collaboration tools. It combines a familiar spreadsheet interface with file sharing, automated workflows and interactive Gantt charts. It is designed to flexibly manage simple tasks and complex processes; attach files; set alerts; automate workflows; and deliver security, integration and controls. Templates include project plan, Gantt chart, event task planning, project schedule and budget, task management, event planning, and contact management.
According to Reviews.com, benefits include fast and efficient workflow, unlimited flexibility and customization, affordability and scalability, easy sharing, learning tools, and powerful reporting features that can bring together data from dozens of different sheets into a central location. However, sharing can be difficult if the user creates many sheets, and users report the app does not integrate well with email.
AP4 Project Manager’s Task
With AP4 Project Manager’s Task module, users can schedule and manage project plans and assign project tasks to team members or groups. The app is designed to track deadlines and milestones; filter to-do lists by team or individual and by status and due date; provide quick views of to-do lists, deadlines and tasks; schedule meetings; generate print versions of project tasks; and receive customized project update notifications.
The app is configured for use with Android smartphones and enables users to update, share and comment on blueprints and files remotely. It also enables users to upload on-site photos to share with the project team. It requires Internet connectivity to use.
About The Author
Darlene Bremer, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributed frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR until the end of 2015.