Software Project Management: Going From Good to Great

Software project management refers to the active process of planning, organizing, and managing resources to successfully complete new product development. Skilled software project managers use all of the available resources to deliver the best end-product possible.

When it comes to software project management, there is a considerable amount of variation. Great project managers strategically apply their knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively plan, manage and complete a project. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your project management process, here are some suggestions.

Managing a Project? 7 Ways to Go from Good to Great

Although there is no set standard operating procedure for successful software project management, there are ways to improve overall effectiveness. Follow along to learn seven ways how to take a project from good to great:

1. Planning – Most deficiencies in a project are the result of poor or improper planning process at the beginning. During the planning phase, it’s vital to determine the project definition, the work plan, and basic management procedures. Having a clear understanding of the project helps facilitate a more fluid project management experience from start to finish.

2. Identify risks in advance – During the planning process, it’s important to identify possible risks that could occur at some point in the project. Once the risks are identified, it helps to assess the level of immediacy. Risk may be defined as high, medium, or low. Being aware of potential problems that may arise throughout the project can ultimately save valuable time and money, especially when these are evaluated early in the planning process.

3. Scheduling – Throughout the project, monitoring the work plan to identify what tasks have been completed and what tasks need to be done will help keep team members up-to-date on the process. Monitoring the work plan schedule helps determine whether tasks are completed on time, allowing any changes to be made quickly if necessary.

4. Budget – Similar to the work plan schedule, it’s important to keep track of the project budget on an ongoing basis. Keeping a project operating within budget is an important skill for any project manager. Careful and frequent monitoring is a key part of maintaining the established budget for a project.

5. Scope Management – During a project, stakeholders may request minor or major changes that were not part of the original project definition. Knowing how to effectively navigate change requests is imperative to the overall success of any project. Even the smallest scope changes in a project can accumulate over time, leading to so-called “scope creep.” This may negatively impact the resources, budget and deadlines.

6. Urgent Resolutions – Even when risks and issues are identified early in the planning stages of the project, a team may face unforeseen problems. Issues may become a big problem to the project if they are not resolved in a timely manner. It will do the team and the overall project a great service if everyone is focused on fixing issues with a sense of urgency. This keeps the flow of the project moving forward as smoothly as possible.

7. Communication – Communication breakdowns can lead to a number of problems throughout a project. Sometimes team members may have different expectations, or they may not fully know the status of a project. Open and honest communication between managers, team members, and stakeholders needs to be encouraged on a frequent basis. The most successful project managers ensure that everyone on the project is on the same page in all steps along the way.

Producing a great end product for a software development project should be the main objective of any software firm. Implementing effective project management may be the difference between delivering a good or great final product. For a company to remain competitive in the market, hiring a software outsourcing firm that uses best practices in project management will ultimately yield the best results.

What to Consider While Considering an Apparel Management Software for Your Business

An Enterprise Resource Planning system is a tool that gives businesses the freedom to automate processes and manage all functions from one point via an integrated application. The management solution utilised explicitly by the apparel industry is called Apparel ERP software. It is designed (or customised) for:

  1. Wholesalers
  2. Retailers
  3. Manufacturers

It can be implemented in fashion, apparel or consumer lifestyle sector. Some of the applications that an apparel software can incorporate are:

  1. Sourcing of material
  2. Manufacturing of clothing
  3. Supply chain and logistics
  4. Product design and its development

Factors that influence the Selection of an Apparel Management Software

The current and future goals matter when choosing the right ERP for an apparel company. Here are the 5 criteria that need to be factored in the decision:

  • Analyse the cost and the investment

For most businesses, the cost of an ERP is the most substantial factor. While it is a significant consideration, one needs to comprehend the return on the strategic investment. Habitually, the long-term ROI offsets the purchase and implementation expense. When comparing software, bear in mind:

  1. A more economical solution might have more mediocre functionality, or it may offer less support and installation issues. Most often, the benefits accrued are in direct correlation to the price paid.
  2. Dive deep into the capabilities of the ERP and not just the price point. Search for its functionalities, modules and integration abilities

In general, an apparel software that fits the requirements of business while offering the flexibility to scale will cost a bit higher, but it will make the company thrive. For example, a cloud-based ERP is heavier on the pocket but more reliable and profitable investment.

  • Be aware of business needs

An ERP for an apparel business has to be custom-made to fit the unique needs. The specifications vary from shop to shop and business to business. While some may require just one application, others might need the implementation of more modules. Knowing the precise pre-requisites of the company is essential. A few criteria to ponder over while considering conditions are:

  1. Will the software be utilised to streamline operations?
  2. Is it needed to improve efficiencies in financial data such as accounting?
  3. Is the necessity primarily for inventory, logistics, and order?
  4. Will it help in production, design and project planning?
  5. Is there a need for it to better customer services and therefore experience?

The answer to these questions will aid in deciding which modules of the management software need to be installed. Thus, they assist in shortlisting solutions further.

  • Think about every user of the software

Once implemented a large number of workers employ the apparel enterprise system. While some will be end users, others will handle configuration, upgrades, and integrations. It makes it necessary to consider every stakeholder and user while deciding which ERP to buy.

A simple technique is to create a team with a representative of every department or function in the business. Involve this team in the selection process and take their feedback. Usually, they will tender valuable insights that connect to everyday tasks which might not register to a higher executive.

  • Is the solution scalable

For mid-sized businesses or apparel firms new to ERP, the initial decision is to implement a solution with only a few modules. The choice is made to reduce the overall cost while still improving business functions. But as a business grows and makes more profit, their operations become more complex. Thus, at some point, a need may arise for more comprehensive management software that offers automation of more processes.

Even the reverse is possible. If due to some unforeseen reason, the apparel business needs to scale down their operation fewer modules might be required from the software. In a gist, a scalable solution allows your software to grow or shrink as per the needs of the organisation. Ergo, it makes sense to opt for a system that has the ability to scale rather than one which doesn’t.

  • Choose a business partner, not a vendor

One last consideration while shopping for an apparel management software is to look for a vendor who becomes a genuine business partner. The qualities that should be in a vendor are:

  1. Do they provide support post-sale?
  2. What are the values of the vendor along with their vision, i.e., do they bring to the table benefits other than the solution?
  3. Do they just sell the software or also assist in implementation and deployment?
  4. Do they offer support when glitches or problems happen in the software?
  5. Do they have the expertise in your business, sector or industry?

A suitable method of selection is to conduct online research and read reviews of the vendor. Look for their current or previous clients and ask for feedback.

5 Uses Of Travel Expense Management Software

In today’s competitive era, a lot of organizations still manage their travel expenses in a very unorganized manner. The traditional way wastes employee time and productivity and increases the stress of Account payable and Finance team in managing the process manually. To gain competitive advantage, organizations need to move to travel expense management platform that integrates travelers, approvers, travel desks, travel agents, accounts payable and finance on one portal to reduce miscommunication and streamline the process. Unnecessary trips and wasteful cancellations are decreased, travel is only with authorized vendors and travelers function within the recommended procedures and systems. This saves both time and money. Below mentioned are few benefits of an efficient Travel Expense Management Software:

Structured Travel Policy

Earlier when accounting for travel expenses was done manually, it was difficult to keep track of all the expenses and cost incurred. With the travel expense management software, the travel policies will be very clear and erroneous payments can be highlighted. Common travel expenses including hotel and food ought to be written down clearly. This helps in preventing issues in the future.

Expense Visibility

The finance and accounts payable team can get a clear visibility on the spend made. They will have all the related information available in the system with details of the same. They can easily know which department is spending how much and can put budget control wherever needed.

Efficient Processes

Entering expenses manually into a spreadsheet can be really tedious and can tend to be inaccurate. It becomes difficult for the accounts payable and finance team as well if you have several hundred employees in an organization. This is where the travel expense management software comes into the picture. The software allows employees to report their expenses in the system which automatically follows the workflow and goes for approval. Post approval it goes to the relevant department for authenticating and processing the payment. The entire process is seamless, automated and quick for employees and internal departments.

On-Time Employee Reimbursement

If you take too much time to reimburse your employee, it will lead to growing resentment. It could also lead to employees hesitant to go on business trips and maybe even flat-out refuse, which would ultimately affect the business. The software allows the employees to report their expenses on the go and it immediately goes for approval and payment. The entire process is quick and automated which saves a lot of time and helps to reimburse employee expenses on or before time.

Employee Travel Expense Trends

With a spreadsheet, it is difficult to say if a particular employee’s expenditure is atypical to the normal pattern. The software helps to capture data and analyse the trend based on historical data. Management can run multiple reports and get analytics to help them make business decisions. For ex. It is easy to look up different trips and find out whether inflation is bringing up the expenses or if the employee is skirting along the edge of allowed expenses. Both the Travel Expense Management Software and the Procure to Pay Software helps bring financial control in the organization saving a lot of cost and time.