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Types of Project Management Software

Desktop project management software gives individual users the most responsive and highly-graphical interface. Desktop applications normally store their data in a local file, although some allow collaboration between users or store their data in a central database. A simple file-based project plan can be shared between users if it is stored on a networked drive, and only one user accesses it at any given time.

Web-based project management software can be accessed through an intranet or extranet using a web browser and has all the usual advantages and disadvantages of web applications:

  • Can be accessed from any type of computer without installing software
  • Ease of access-control
  • Provides multi-user facilities
  • Only one software version and installation needs to be maintained
  • Typically slower to respond than desktop applications
  • Limited graphical capability compared to desktop applications
  • Project information is not available offline.

Single-user project management systems work on the basis that only one person will need to edit the project plan at any time. This may be used in small organisations, or only a few people are involved in project planning. Desktop applications usually come into this category.

Collaborative project management systems are designed to support multiple users modifying different sections of the plan at once, eg updating the areas they are personally responsible for so that those estimates get integrated into the overall plan. Web-based tools often fall into this category, but they can only be used when the user is online. Some client-server-based software tools replicate project and task information through a central server when users connect to the network.

Integrated systems combine project management or project planning, with many other aspects of company operations, eg bug tracking issues can be assigned to each project, the list of project customers becomes a customer relationship management module, and each person on the project plan has their own task lists, calendars, messaging etc associated with their projects.

Wikipedia provides a comprehensive list of project management applications.

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