Project Management & Controlling

How digital solutions improve your projects

A project normally goes through five phases. During these five phases, certain tasks must be performed from within project management to achieve the project goals. However, there are constraints that must be taken into account, such as budget, time, and the resources required. When carrying out project management and controlling, project managers often encounter internal problems that need to be solved quickly so as not to endanger the project goal. However, external factors, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, can also lead to new problems that require an adjustment of the previous way of working.

Especially in today's world it is more important than ever to digitalize the work in project management and to make project management more effective and efficient in the cooperation with the team with the help of IT solutions.

But what can companies do to effectively support their project managers and project teams and minimize problems? Which digital solutions can help to eliminate problems that arise in the short term and over the long term? How can you contribute to efficient, cost-saving and future-oriented project management? 

We show the challenges and trends in project management and explain the advantages of using project management software.


of German companies manage their projects with the help of digital solutions.

Problems in project management 

According to the definition in DIN 69 901, project management is the entirety of leadership tasks, leadership organization, leadership techniques and leadership resources for the execution of a project. Project management should therefore ensure that the agreed objectives are achieved within the set technical, scheduling, personnel and financial framework.

However, during the implementation of a project, both the project manager and the project team often reach their limits. The reasons for this can be many and varied. For example, if an employee does not know what added value his or her work brings, if the actual costs exceed the initially estimated costs by far, or if there is no regular communication between the team members, this can develop into a high level of dissatisfaction among employees and customers in the long run.

However, you can often solve the most common problems in project management with simple, digital solutions.

Incorrect communication
Unrealistic cost estimation
Poor detailed planning

One of the most important factors for successful project management is team communication. Regular team meetings are therefore indispensable to keep everyone involved up to date. However, this is often at least not possible in person, as employees are increasingly working from their home office. This makes regular status updates and early planned meetings all the more important. Take into account the various media such as Skype conferences or team meetings. Check how you can best reach your employees and which tools can be used to communicate best between the team. Video chats, recording function and a directly integrated chat support your team in their collaboration. 

Money is often a scarce commodity. It is important to be able to give realistic cost estimates to potential customers as early as the sales activities. To improve cooperation between sales employees and project managers, you can use standard templates from IT solutions for joint processing of quotations. Another option is professional service automation, which gives you effective planning and management capabilities to build your projects efficiently and profitably. With online dashboards, you can develop scenarios at an early stage to help you stay within budget. Use digital automation to ensure that your project invoices are in line with contract terms and services rendered. You can also create automations for processing, approving and sending invoices and integrate the resulting billing directly with your accounting.

During project planning, the project plan for the entire project must be worked out. However, project teams often take far too little time for this important aspect of project management. As a result, the defined goals, milestones and resource planning are too imprecise, which leads to problems later on. With the help of digital planning tools and online dashboards, you can easily document all important information and make adjustments at any time. So take your time to define goals, plan the procurement of resources, create a detailed milestone plan including individual work packages described and assign responsible persons to them. Make a sound cost estimate and specify the project scope. You can use the digital planning module to manage your resource management, i.e. resource utilization, resource requirements calculation and identification of resource bottlenecks, particularly efficiently.

Successful project management cycle
Inadequate reporting
Bad collaboration
Lack of project controlling

Often the creation of status reports is very time-consuming for the employees. The required information is only sporadically documented and not analyzed. Keep the effort for reporting low and only request the really important data. Extract as much information as possible from existing IT systems or digital project plans. In digital online and offline tools, you as project manager have unlimited access to all customer information, the order history and all current data. Furthermore, you can use data analysis functions to evaluate resource utilization and project key figures. With the help of interactive real-time dashboards, you are provided with sound key figures, analyses and meaningful visualisation functions.

In today's world, cooperation across locations is particularly prone to errors. Not seeing the team members regularly and sitting together in one office makes work more difficult and leads to longer reaction and processing times. Here it is particularly advisable to fall back on an effective, digital collaboration tool, such as SharePoint or Confluence. With the online and offline functions, the employees have the possibility to work productively on the road and access the system from anywhere. They can record working hours and travel expenses, update schedules or participate in online meetings at any time.

Project controlling describes the activities that are necessary to control a project over its entire duration. Poor or even missing project controlling leads to intransparency towards stakeholders and to an increased risk of not achieving the project goals. With the help of online controlling boards, which the project team can access remotely at any time, the key performance indicators of a project can be viewed and analyzed. The objectives can be viewed, planned work packages can be entered and the necessary data for a target-performance comparison can be recorded. In order to analyse deviations of the forecast data, IT solutions for graphic processing can be included, which, after the input of the measures introduced, show the effects of the deviations in the course of a success control.

Controlling control loop

Advantages of integrated IT solutions in project management

Digital solutions are a helpful tool for companies to plan and control projects in such a way that project goals can be achieved on time, in high quality and within budget.
Companies working without a suitable software need more effort to get the job done and make less profit because more time has to be invested in organizational tasks. This results in communication gaps, loss of time and human error, which can be avoided by using IT solutions.

By using software, you quickly gain a better overview and transparency of your projects, project risks are identified and displayed in real time and the entire project process is made more efficient. Thus, project implementation can be carried out faster and more effectively. Digital solutions lead to better project communication and successful teamwork.

Cloud-based software offers further advantages: it is scalable, dynamic and flexible according to requirements. They can thus be adapted to the needs of the company. Project data can be accessed from anywhere, thus supporting mobile teamwork. Changes to processes are visible in real time, documents can be added and made visible to all employees and time recording of your employees is simplified and is even possible with a smartphone.

A software in the project management area thus supports in all areas of project planning, control and tracking, task and budget management, team communication and collaboration and time management and scheduling.

Trends in project management

Companies that want to keep up with the competition in the future should digitalize their processes.
Optimizing the utilization of existing employees is one of the biggest goals of many companies. In addition, there are new requirements for projects and fields of knowledge that need to be considered even more flexibly in strategic capacity planning. It is therefore essential to make the unplannable plannable. PMO and portfolio management needs better support in the variable planning of scenarios. With the help of IT solutions, such as forward-looking analyses of new requirements or various environmental influences, this plannability could soon be significantly simplified.

The "make or buy" issue will become even more prominent in the future. Especially in areas of ubiquitous digitalization, it is necessary to build up knowledge within the company and to share it. Cross-company development is becoming increasingly self-evident. In the future, therefore, the use of project and portfolio management software in the cloud will be increasingly intensified, and digital solutions such as holography boards will support this.

The fusion of classic and agile functions in software tools is another trend in the coming years. In classic systems, agile functions such as sprint boards or burn-down charts will be integrated. In the agile world, bar charts will be added for higher-level sprint planning and portfolio and resource management will be included. For the future, it makes sense to use integrated tools and software for project management and work management in parallel. On the one hand, projects can be presented in the classic way with phases and milestones, but on the other hand, they can be worked internally in sprints. This enables efficient data exchange between the IT worlds.
Project Management Procedure

Microsoft Project Operations Solution

  • With the help of resource scheduling and Microsoft Project Integration you can plan your projects and the right staffing of your employees
  • With Microsoft Project Operations, you empower your employees to record project times quickly and easily.
  • You can assign the right projects to your employees and promote employee utilization and data quality.
  • Measure and analyse the workload of your employees.
  • Create seamless sales collaboration and support your sales force in bringing profitable projects to light.
  • You can visualize your project costs and compare them with your income.
  • Keep track of the right information and key figures about project profitability in the bidding process or the project budget with Microsoft Project Operations via dashboards and reports. 
  • You don't create additional data silos with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations because Microsoft Project Operations uses the same platform as other applications of Microsoft's business application solutions. This allows you to seamlessly integrate with communication and collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365.
  • Use the integration capability with Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) via Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Outlook and collect audio, video and document information in one place.
Learn more about our cloud-based Microsoft Project Operations solution