Essential Features of Project Management Software
To find the best software for your team, consider which features you need to manage your projects efficiently. Ensure that you don’t leave some important aspects uncovered when searching for new software. Take a look at the must-have features of project management software.
Project management is the act of completing activities.! If you are building a house, a bridge, or a software program, you are essentially working on a project.
The process of managing the team, tools, and resources to get your project completed i.e. achieve your goal is called Project Management.
A small business owner has to wear many hats at any given time.
If one is not a super rock star, project management, managing marketing, sales, accounting, human resource functions.
And other activities on a busy day can be extremely overwhelming.
Unquestionably, every entrepreneur wants to find a magical tool.
A tool that can make a project and office management easier and more efficient. Therefore entrepreneurs and small business owners actively examine project management software applications as a perfect solution to meet their operational needs that can make their day-to-day lives simpler and more productive.
Fortunately for curious and productivity hungry entrepreneurs, there are if not thousands at least a few hundred software applications. These applications appear to potentially solve the project management process requirements and ensure better team collaboration.
But the question here lies is how to select the best tool to meet your specific needs. As fellow entrepreneurs, we have had the same challenges and ended up experimenting with various software applications. Through this article, we endeavor to share with you what we think are important features of project management.
The features of project management you should keep in mind are:
In today’s world, software should not only be hosted on the cloud but people should have the freedom to access their data irrespective of where they are.
Frequently, project team members are required to access each other’s work in order to complement their own. Meaning that it’s highly important to establish an organized and quick communication through multiple channels.
The right project management tool must have a feature of file sharing, shared calendars, and contact lists. Every team member can insert information into the system and others will have quick access whenever and wherever they need it.
Some Project management tools also offer the option of an inbuilt messenger app for real-time and contextual communication.
SaaS applications have matured enough to offer very good data storage solutions but not all applications work as well on mobile platforms. Make sure your project management tool works well for remote and distributed teams.
An important component of project management software is task management. You should make sure that your software provides the functionality to assign and track tasks on the go so that staff away from the office is always updated.
Mobile access is especially important for managers so that they can keep control of their business operations.
Flexibility and Customizability
Flexibility in any project management application is very important. Your project management application should be flexible enough to keep up with the changes your business goes through.
As a project management you need to not only think about the projects you’re managing currently but also all the different types of project that you may get to work on the in the future. But this is difficult in all circumstances.
Hence, it becomes important for your project management tool to be flexible enough to allow you to make changes to adapt to your different types of projects and the specific workflow requirements they may need.
It is common to have many different types of projects in hand at the same time. One should be able to use the same project management software for all projects rather than using spreadsheets for smaller ones and some project management software for larger ones.
We were constantly in this trap; we used spreadsheets for the medium projects, Trello for the simple one.
And something like MS Projects for the more complicated ones.
The result was that we mostly ended up using none of the tools efficiently or effectively. After moving all our projects to a single platform, we noticed a significant increase in the actual use of the project management tool by the teams primarily because we were not required to switch focus from one application to another.
Further, we were also able to maintain a higher degree of professional structure and consistency across all the projects. Hence, we recommend you to evaluate project management tools based on the flexibility and customizability of the application.
Easy Analysis & Reporting
We have already talked about how as a small business owner there are countless things that demand your attention which makes it hard to do anything well.
Further, we all seem to be talking about the importance of understanding our data but few of us practice it and only a fragment of us are any good at it.
Despite many advances in technology and cloud-based software solutions available, the findings of research reported by SAS (Bloomberg Business Week Research Services). The current state of business analytics, appear to still be very valid. The research had identified that the most popular tools used for business analytics are spreadsheets.
That we all know is mired with data inconsistency and errors.
From our experience, while we value our time above anything else, we seldom relied on analytics to help us prioritize projects or tasks. Running business intelligence tools is time-consuming and be cumbersome especially due to data asymmetry. Hence, we encourage you to seek tools where data analytics features are in-built.
And readily available for your team at all times to help them make informed decisions.
Automate your processes
Taking a cue from Tim Ferriss’ – The 4 Hour Workweek, we started automating simple mundane processes.
Processes such as writing an email to assign a task to a co-worker on a new project deliverable or sending a request to a colleague for peer review of a new marketing article prior to publication.
Using simple automation rules we managed to save at least 20 to 30 minutes of each employee-workday. It leads to an impressive resource-saving of about 1.5 full man-days in our small, growing engineering firm. We recommend you to look out for workflow automation features in the team and project management tools that you evaluate.
There are market leaders for best-of-breed SaaS applications that have elegantly solved specific problems. However, when companies need to manage cross-functional teams, and business processes one can easily end up using 4 or 5 different applications. This can get really challenging for anyone, let also small business owners and entrepreneurs primarily because the experience of using multiple apps leads to lower data and user experience consistency which results in not only lower efficiency but also higher costs.
We believe that productivity tools for small businesses should offer a seamless software environment.
And a well-integrated software environment so that business processes can be streamlined and made more efficient. One such business management tool Orgzit provides a unified software platform for businesses to easily map their data and processes. Orgzit offers an affordable solution powered by an extremely customizable and user-friendly platform that can help you run your business efficiently.
There is no perfect tool. Pick the project management software that works for your team.
Find project management software that covers all the features important to you, and complement it with specific tools such as a time tracker or accounting solutions. There is no perfect tool, but you can come pretty close to it if you do your research properly.
My suggestion would be – Never choose one with more feature than you require, as usually project management software come with a high price tag. In addition, having more than the required features could make confusion when using the software in practice.
I hope this article was helpful enough, do tell me which software you chose!! I would suggest you try out Orgzit as your tasks and project management software. It is simple to use, agile to customized and scalable to grow with your business. You can start a free trial from here.