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Tools to manage small project teams

All of life is one big To Do list. I personally spend most of my time managing project teams for the various projects that I am responsible for.

I have been looking for some time for a more efficient way to track the progress of my teammates. I have used Microsoft Project in the past, but it is elephantine overkill for the vast majority of projects. The folks at Project Kickstart were kind enough to send me a copy of their project management software ($129.95), which is specifically designed for smaller-scale projects.

Key Project Kickstart functionality (from their site):

+ It’s fast and easy. Your plan is ready in minutes.
+ Plan with confidence. Nothing overlooked. Nothing forgotten.
+ Schedule any way you want. Your choice. Use Project KickStart’s built-in Gantt chart for small to mid-size projects. Or “hot-link” to Microsoft Project or other software for added functionality.
+ Runs on Windows 95 / 98 / Me / NT / 2000 / XP and is networkable

Project Kickstart is a very basic project management tool, which is particularly appropriate for highly disorganized people. It will walk you through the basic steps you need to take to create a project plan, and will help you to track what happens when. It is particularly helpful for people who have a task to do, and are inexperienced in how to convert a task into a step-by-step action plan.

However, you can replicate most of the software’s functionality (without the Gantt charts) in Excel or another spreadsheet program. I played with Project Kickstart for a while, but now I use a project management tracking spreadsheet that I developed with counsel from my coauthor Scott Allen. I think this is more useful and flexible for many purposes. To download it, right-click here and save to your desktop.

Each week, my team members update the spreadsheet with their progress and send it back to me. It is useful for them and for me to track the progress of our various obligations.

I welcome any feedback you might have.

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