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Staying on track

What project management tools help you stay focused on results? Staying on track What organizational strategies and tools do you use to keep your business focused on results? By Maggie Biggs

Most small businesses are tightly focused on goals and results, given their size and desire to grow. However, there are many different approaches to managing tasks and projects, and small-business leaders will need to determine what works best for their particular company.

If your business has fewer than 10 people, you likely might track your efforts using a simple database or one or more spreadsheets. But, as your company grows, it may become difficult to keep everything on track as the number of tasks and staffers increases.

The other challenge small businesses face is managing tasks and projects when team members are in different locations. Small-business leaders are smart enough to leverage the constructs of the virtual organization to gain a competitive advantage. But how do you keep staffers that are physically dispersed on time and on track?

The folks at Performance Solutions Technology LLC think they have the answer. The company has just released ManagePro 4.5–a software solution that helps managers and staffers stay focused on the tasks at hand no matter where they might be located.

The newest version of ManagePro helps small-business leaders devise simple goal-based action plans via “included wizards.” The product also includes industry-specific templates to speed up the process, and you can link project tasks with documents, action items, or meeting schedules.

The type of integration supported in ManagePro will keep all your efforts linked and allow you to better focus on specific goals. But this release of the solution also focuses on connectivity. You can access the ManagePro tools via your LAN or via the Web. And, you can synchronize ManagePro data with your Palm or the Microsoft Outlook e-mail program.

The only real drawback to ManagePro is its limited platform and application support. If you don’t use Outlook as your calendaring and scheduling application, for example, the functionality will not be as integrated. Moreover, ManagePro requires either a host Windows 2000 or Windows NT server with Terminal Services or a Citrix server. This does not bode well for companies that leverage Linux or other platforms to run their businesses.

Client accessibility is also limited. You’ll need to run Internet Explorer 5.0 or later (other browsers, such as Netscape and Opera, are not supported). And, you’ll need to be using Windows 2000, Windows 95/98, or Windows NT Workstation to support end-user access to ManagePro.

If your company is running strictly Windows-based technology, ManagePro is a good measure to consider for keeping your company tightly focused on results.

Do you use other tools for project management? What works and what does not? Write to me.

Contributing Editor Maggie Biggs has more than 15 years of business and IT experience in the financial sector.

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