Project management software and planning software: what’s the difference?

Project management and software-based planning are becoming increasingly important with digitalization. Learn more here.




Project management software is an indispensable solution for the timely and efficient execution of a major project in many mechanical and plant engineering companies. From the moment the construction phase begins until the last nut and bolt is inspected, project management software is the most important tool for project managers and all employees or outside professionals involved in the construction.

Many people, who rarely come into contact with the different variations of software for planning and project management, have difficulty distinguishing the attributes of each solution. Therefore, in this article, we highlight the difference between a project management software and a planning software.

Planning software is not equal to project management software

First things first: the terms planning software and project management software are not congruent. Rather, they serve different phases of the project cycle: planning software makes subsequent implementation via a project management solution possible in the first place. This is where all the threads come together before the start of the construction project. Among other things, schedules, workflows, and priorities are defined. Figuratively speaking: With the help of planning software, all the pieces of the puzzle are pre-sorted so that a certain structure is already in place. With the help of the project management software and its tools, interfaces and functions, the pieces are then methodically put together according to the previously defined plan.

Project management software unites all aspects of execution

These days, good project management software is much more than just an eternally long Excel list. The key to successful project management lies in the best possible implementation of the previously planned steps. To achieve this, project management software unites all aspects of the construction process: for example, all relevant dates and parts lists from other programs are available via interfaces. Construction plans are stored and made available to all employees with the appropriate authorizations.

COMAN goes one step further here and visualizes the construction progress with the help of so-called Smart Objects. These are interactive individual parts or assemblies which are laid over the CAD plans, populated with information on deadlines and the parts required. Different colours indicate whether everything is going according to plan, the part has been completed and checked, or whether there is a problem. In the latter case, this becomes visible with just a few clicks directly in the project management software and allows a solution to be quickly implemented.

Since all data is centrally stored in the project management software, project managers and employees can rely on the information in their daily work – there is no need to switch back and forth between different software programs. Detailed access rights and sophisticated server synchronization regulate who has access to which data and when, as well as how this data is stored so that everything corresponds to reality.

Last but not least, defect management should also be mentioned in relation to project management software. If weaknesses or errors are identified during an inspection, employees can display these directly via the software thanks to integrated image and video transmission via a dedicated app and forward them to the responsible departments. The integrated defect management aspect in the software is thus both a relief for the users and a significantly faster method of troubleshooting.

Planning software and project management software: working together for success

Successful, timely completion of a project requires realistic planning and competent project management. The software solutions for these sub-steps are an indispensable part of this process: implementation via project management software builds in all its functions on what was previously already accomplished in planning. Smooth cooperation is therefore beneficial on both sides of the project.

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