Managing a project can be a daunting task, and it’s hard enough to do it without also using some software. To ease things up, Graceful Efforts has a special area on the project page. This is an area that is common to all your projects, whether you are a project owner, project manager or project team member.

Let’s look at each of these areas and see how they help the users better understand the workflow of managing projects in Graceful Efforts.

The Overview area

One of the promises of Graceful Efforts is to greatly reduce the overhead of communication between the project manager and the rest of the team or outside stakeholders. To achieve this, we need to make all the information available in an easy to understand format and in an area that is immediately accessible to any team member.

On the project page, there is a tab labeled “Overview”. This area is a simple list of easy to follow questions about the project, arranged in the order of most asked to least asked. Each of these questions is actually a link towards the Graceful Efforts feature that will answer it.

For instance, the most common source of confusion in a project is about what the project is supposed to deliver. This is known as the project scope. Because it’s so important, it is the first question in the list. When clicked, it redirects the user to the Work Breakdown Structure page, where they can see all the deliverables of the project.

The second most important source of confusion is about the order of doing things. Sometimes the team members get overwhelmed by the terms and techniques used by the project manager, and they’re not sure about the sequence of things happening in the project. The second question redirects towards the project time page, where all the Stages (or Sprints, or whatever is used in the project) are clearly shown in a way resembling a Gantt chart. The user can then click on all the time segments and see what is planned for each of them.

Enabling the Cost management setting for the project will allow users to find here questions about cost types, the budget, expense report and earned value. Since these are more advanced features, the people most interested in them should be the ones that are permitted by the project manager to view financial info.

The next few questions relate to what the user does in the project, such as what is their contribution to the project, who are they working with, what are their tasks, what the project is focused on right now (the current Stage) or what Milestones exist.

Finally, if the Collections setting is enabled, this list of questions will contain references to all the Collections used in the project. These could be Meetings, Risks, Bugs or QA activities, and they belong here because Collections are the way Graceful Efforts adapts to your team’s workflow - they should sound and be familiar to the project team.

The Management area

Now that we made sure the team is on the same page, let’s see how we can use Graceful Efforts to actually manage our projects. This area is split into three sections, based on general project management practices and the features of the software. This is where the project manager’s approach actually meets the Graceful Efforts features that support it.

Plan section

The very first thing we think about when we hear “project” is probably “planning”. We actually have projects just because we would like them to happen a certain way, even if it proves difficult. As such, perhaps the main part of project management is to go through the planning process, just to make sure we think about the various things that could happen. To that effect, the plan section is a list of actions that connect the project manager with the most useful Graceful Efforts features that help with planning.

Effort section

The second section is meant to help the project manager and the team to focus their efforts on the current things to deliver or manage. This section has a list of activities that have to do with tracking the team members’ work, their blockers and their progress. This is the most common process for the team members, as they attempt to deliver according to the project manager’s plan.

Control section

Finally, the control section closes the feedback loop by suggesting features that help in measuring and influencing the difference between what was planned and what was actually achieved. This is the mechanism used by the project manager to adapt the project to the ever-changing circumstances of the real world.