When managing a complex project (large enough for significant daily status updates), with a large team (in the 10's of team members), which tools would you recommend for use to draft the project schedule, update it with the progress of various members/components, and for reporting?
Personally, I love the One Page Project Manager. More importantly, my project stakeholders love it for being concise, easy to read, and comprehensive.
I personally love Assembla for it's project management capabilities. It's got a lot of tools, even for free projects.
Some tools include:
- Milestone Support
- Ticketing System
- SVN/Git/Mercurial/Other SCM's
- Wiki pages for documentation/frontpages
- Skype Support
- ...and more!
As stated above, they offer both paid and free services.
You can do all that with a spreadsheet. What matters is that progress is captured and the PM has the ability to extract relevant information from from the tool.
I work for a company that makes a tool that sounds like it could do the job for you. It also allows team members to update their own information relieving the pm of a lot of chasing down information.
I suggest checking out LiquidPlanner, it's perfect for that size of a team and if you setup the client portal it will report on progress on it's own! http://www.liquidplanner.com/
I usually create schedules manually, using a mix of queries, spreadsheets, and graphics programs. An automatic dashboard would be nice but it all depends on your methodology and your audience. Remember that the schedule is a tool to communicate, and ask yourself who you are communicating with, what you want them to know, and what you want them to do about it. That said, the best and most flexible way to communicate schedule is usually a graphical timeline that fits on one page and shows ten or less key dates. This can be maintained, manually, with MS Project, Visio, Dia, or any number of scheduling or drawing programs. You can supplement with one other piece of information: for Scrum, a burndown chart of the current sprint; for waterfall, a zoom of the current phase, etc. That's enough to fill one page, and that's enough to have a common reference for discussion.