If you're running a successful building or remodeling company, chances are you've developed a scheduling system that helps you keep your jobs on track. It may be as simple as a xeroxed calendar or a dry-erase board. But if it's working, why should you consider computer scheduling? Manual whiteboards and paper lists might show you where a project is now, but computer schedulers are like a crystal ball: They show you where you're going. You'll be able to see what will happen to your completion dates as job conditions change, and you'll know what to do to get back on track. Some of the systems described here also incorporate project management features — automatic notification by fax or e-mail, budget and job-cost tracking, and the ability for project managers to interact with the schedule using PDAs or wireless pagers.

It takes a little discipline to use computerized project scheduling, but the old excuse that "it takes a college degree in project management" isn't true. While some products have features that the typical home builder or remodeler will never need, none is more difficult to use than standard business software like Word and Excel....

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