Project management is key to keeping control of your project. That’s important. Project management software is good for doing just that, managing your project. It’s a good tool. Most project management software is geared for corporate teams. It’s also pricey. Which is why I don’t have one. Instead, I use several tools, such as Microsoft’s OneNote, Word, Excel, and Scrivener. All these tools help me organize the project.
OneNote is a binder. I use it for background work on my blogs. It holds everything in one place and I don’t have to worry about it. It’s part of Microsoft Office 365, which is around a hundred dollars a year. If that’s too rich for you, Scrivener is around fifty dollars up front. Both are good solutions. Although if you need to share your work with anyone, you might need word processor software. Office includes one, but Scrivener does not. Scrivener will export to one, though.
OneNote is a software interface for a folder which organizes it as a binder. You can have what OneNote calls sections which are sub folders in a folder. You can see where I’m going here, you don’t need OneNote, it’s just a convenience. You can use an electronic file or even a paper file to do the same thing. A paper folder or binder will work too, but I try to conserve trees.
I use spreadsheets to list my tasks by due date and for making checklists I can use to mark off where I’m at in each project. I also use project sheets, which are documents I use to control my projects. I talked about those last month. I keep them all in one folder along with the scrivener file in which I do the actual writing. On the whole, I use my word processing software to shape my novels for publication as well as the project sheets. Once I complete a project sheet for a novel, I put it in the notes section of Scrivener where I can refer to it as needed.
The spreadsheet checklists don’t come into play until I am revising. I use it so I know where I am in the process, how much more I need to so, and whether I’m on track with regard to the project deadline. Deadlines are tools to spur you on. Use them.
Of course, all these project management tools and tricks are useless if you don’t follow through with them. Use them. Set them up and use them to achieve the goals of your project. They will help you to stay organized and on track. The twin keys to success are organization and determination. These tools will help you to complete your project and keep from going either insane or just round in circles. Project management is not difficult with the right set of tools. Use those tools to your advantage and you will do well. Remember, the exact set up that works for me may not work for you. That said, the tools and tricks I mentioned here will help you no mater how you work.