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Using Asana to Manage Engineering Projects

Managing both small and large engineering projects can quickly get complicated. Coordinating the flow of people and resources needed to get the job done requires bringing a number of moving pieces together in the right way. Without the management system in place, it is inevitable that something will go wrong.

There are a number of project management solutions available today. Some of these are highly specialized while others are more versatile in nature. Asana is in the latter category, it is a lightweight project management solution that makes it easy to set project goals and monitor progress. It also facilitates essential communications between your managers and those that work under them.

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Management Challenges

Any student studying for a masters in engineering management online will understand the challenges that face engineering managers today. Not only do they need to have a firm grasp of the usual business principles that underpin the management of large projects, but they also need to understand the engineering side of things. The planning and execution of modern engineering projects are both increasingly technology-driven and engineering management software is just one of the many technologies that project managers need to familiarize themselves with.

Engineering management software needs to provide project managers with the ability to easily manage a number of tasks simultaneously. It also needs to enable both the ability to make long-term plans and the ability to provide real-time analysis and on-the-fly adjustment of projects that are underway. Asana achieves all of these objectives with an intuitive interface.

Asana is not specifically aimed at engineering managers, but it does offer a number of features that engineers will find particularly appealing. Its ability to integrate with other services and systems also makes it one of the most versatile pieces of management software out there. Coupling it with more specialized systems enables you to get the best of both worlds.

Let’s take a look at some of Asana’s key features for engineering managers.

Visualize Your Workflow

This is absolutely essential for managing larger projects. When you have numerous different components to juggle – including people and resources – it quickly becomes overwhelming, there’s only so much information you can hold in your head. Over the course of larger projects, you will become much more familiar with the workflow and procedures, as well as how the project proceeds on a day-to-day basis. But, at least initially, each project is a unique undertaking and it takes time to get into the groove.

Asana’s excellent UI makes it easy to build a timeline for your project and then break it down into smaller tasks. At each stage, Asana’s interface makes it easy to visualize exactly how you will achieve your goals. 

Meet Your Targets

Asana’s advanced scheduling management makes it easy to stay organized. You can set yourself deadlines and reminders to help you make sure you are on track throughout. You can also schedule tasks that still need to be integrated into your workflow when circumstances allow. This dynamic project management is something that has been seriously lacking in other project management software.

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Being able to easily monitor and update your roadmap enables your entire project to be more dynamic in nature. Relatively small issues can cause major issues sometimes purely due to the administrative effect they cause. If it takes a couple of days to reschedule and rearrange your planned workflow in response to an incident, you will always be vulnerable. With Asana, you will be far less susceptible to the administrative chaos that can occur when your schedule is thrown off unexpectedly.

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Easy Integration

Asana integrates with numerous other systems. It is ideally suited for managing large projects because of its communications integrations. Integrating with all of Google’s core services – calendar, email, Google’s office suite, etc. – Asana enables all your project managers to talk to one another and coordinate their individual roles.

It also integrates with a number of ticketing systems that are also well suited to use in the field of engineering management. Ticketing is a system used in tech support to streamline the reporting of bugs and other software issues as well as the troubleshooting and eventual fixing of those issues. It is also an ideal system to use with other large projects where it is important that issues are rapidly and appropriately prioritized.

How to Utilize Asana Properly

There are a number of things that can bring down an engineering project. Anecdotally, the most common cause of projects collapsing is due to poor management and oversight. In order for a project to proceed on schedule and on budget, it needs clear direction from the top. Whoever is leading the project needs to have a clear understanding of what’s going on at all times, communications need to flow effectively both ways, from top to bottom.

Clearly, having the right communications technologies in place is essential to achieving this. Asana’s integration with Google services means that every computer and smartphone on your project site can be part of a single, cohesive communications network. Gmail is a great choice for this as you can create free email accounts to use for each project. The advantage of doing this is giving these email accounts memorable names. You can also pre-load the accounts with a fleshed-out address book so that there’s no chance of a blockage in your system.

Asana’s scheduling capabilities are an excellent way of laying out a roadmap for your project, but you need to be able to communicate this roadmap to your workers. Workers don’t need to have the same familiarity with the roadmap as their managers do. What’s required is, once again, effective communications between management and workers. Make sure that the milestones you create are easily communicable and clearly defined. Vague objectives are a regular source of slowdowns and inefficiencies.

Good management is essential for carrying out large-scale engineering projects. Anyone hoping to work in the field of engineering management is eventually going to need to familiarize themselves with project management software. Asana is an excellent place to start.

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