Bill sent me this email question:
My company and I are looking to purchase project management software that can be used for research projects or projects where education is the final product. I’ve looked at some of the larger programs, and they seem to be focused on IT or construction. Do you have any thoughts or ideas on this topic?
This got me thinking about industry-specific tools for project management. Are there any? Are they available?
Isn’t project managing a generic skill?
It was surprising to me that Bill claimed he had found so many software that were aimed at IT and construction. Project management software should be able to handle any type of deliverable. You should be able build a project plan for any type of project, whether it’s a new shopping mall, a mobile app, or launching a training course.
Every project has tasks, milestones and risks. You should be able use the tool for your project, regardless of whether it is a simple online To Do List or a more complex one.
But…why not make it easier?
Then I found BusiBI (search it on iTunes).
They make iPad project management apps and they are very affordable. The generic project management app was available for purchase at PS3.99. There is no ongoing subscription fee if you don’t share your data with other users.
You can add people to the team to collaborate and share projects via iTunes credits on a monthly/annual base. They also have apps that are tailored to different industries.
The app for film and television production project management includes templates for budgeting that are specific to the industry. The compliance and audit app allows you to track the results of project reviews.
I compared the screenshots of industry apps to the generic one I purchased and found that they have the same underlying product. However, the language is different. It’s industry terminology.
The project management app uses common terminology (projects sponsors, budgets), but the Legal Practice app talks more about Matters, Clients, and Billable Hours. The Film Production app discusses Shoot Days, Cast and Crew, and Release Dates.
BusiBI is a standalone application that doesn’t need wifi to work (although you can sync when it’s ready). This could be a huge advantage for project managers in film and TV industries where time is money. You don’t need to harass clients for access to their IT network, or rely on 3G to do any work.
You should consider using a product that provides a head start in managing projects in your industry. This could be through templates, language, styling, functionality, or both. It will take less time to set up and onboard your team, as well as the ongoing benefits of using something you feel truly understands the work you do.
BusiBIProject management tools and task list
BusiBI offers a product that allows mentors and coaches to manage their clients and projects. However, it does not offer a product that is suitable for academics. After I had told Bill that I didn’t think it mattered which project management software he used to manage his clients and projects, I did some research on my own to find out what tools were being used in his industry.
There is a lively discussion on StackExchange regarding tools for academics. Redmine is mentioned, which I love and have used. It mentions Basecamp (I was not a fan) as well as Eclipse PPM which I have heard great things about, but have not used.
Although I haven’t seen any PM tools specifically for researchers, I do know of many. If you spend more time looking into it than I did, there may be something.
This is true for other industries, too. My survey on the u