Project management software can do wonders for your business's operations, but it's important to choose the right system.
- Project management software is used to track assignments and the number of hours your team works on projects.
- This software can also be used to create a budget for projects.
- Project management software is especially useful for businesses with remote teams and freelancers because it provides a digital space for collaboration.
- This article is for business owners who want to learn more about project management software and find the right solution for their business.
Project management software is used to organize your company's workflow. You can use this digital system to track, schedule, and map out your company's projects and assignments. Project management software allows your team to share a space where you can view your company's work, as well as follow up and track ongoing projects.
What is project management software?
For many businesses, a to-do list just isn't enough. Project management software is a much more sophisticated digital system that allows you to manage your team's assignments in an online space. Everyone on your team, with permission, can access the software. Within the software, team leaders can schedule assignments and collaborate with employees on projects.
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Project management software allows you to quickly and efficiently check on your company's workflow. As projects move along, the software allows users to make notes and suggestions on assignments within the system. It can also send reminders to your team about upcoming deadlines or incomplete tasks.
A project management system is used to track your team's workflow and keep the lines of communication clear, accessible and open. It also comes in handy for assessing your team's productivity. By tracking how much time users spend on a project or how many assignments they completed, you can determine who on your team is meeting or surpassing expectations and who is falling behind. In turn, this information will help you make the appropriate changes to your business.
Key takeaway: A project management system is a digital tool used to track a company's workflow. Team leaders can assign tasks, monitor the progress of ongoing assignments and assess how employees are managing projects.
Who uses project management software?
Project management software is a useful tool for any business owner who is looking to improve organization at their company. However, it's especially beneficial for businesses that employ remote and freelance workers. These kinds of teams are often connected and bombarded with shared files and spreadsheets, but task-management software streamlines communication by putting it in one place. If you have freelance workers or remote employees, a project management system can help everyone collaborate and stay connected.
Even if your company doesn't have remote employees or freelance workers, project management software can still help your business by streamlining workflow. The ability to see, in one place, which assignments are being worked on and how close each task is to completion gives business leaders better insight into how their team is performing.
Key takeaway: Project management software is a great tool for businesses that employ remote workers, but any business can benefit from the streamlined communication that project management software provides.
How do you select the best online project management tool?
When you're searching for the right project management system for your business, there are several factors to consider. Here are some features to look for:
Scheduling and task-management tools
Easy-to-use scheduling and task-management tools make it a breeze to tackle multiple projects at once. Project management software is supposed to streamline your operations, not make it more difficult, so these tools must be simple and direct.
Team collaboration tools
Team collaboration tools, which allow teammates to work on projects together or communicate directly with one another, are also essential. Examples of collaboration tools include instant-messaging features or message-board feeds. You and your employees must be able to connect with one another, which is key to project planning.
Receiving information about your team's assignments is a critical component of every project. Real-time reporting options let you easily track project activity. This project management software tool shows you what's done, stalled and completed, and what you need to do to keep your workflow moving.
Integrations are a big part of an easy-to-use system. Having software that seamlessly connects to the other critical programs you use helps to improve your operations. Look for a system with apps that will benefit your company specifically. This makes collaboration with other programs easier, faster and smoother for you and your team.
Look for a program that has an invoicing feature, which is useful for projects that require you to create a budget or financial plan. These invoicing options allow you to calculate costs, track hours, send quotes and bill clients.
Having a mobile app for your project management software gives you and your employees flexibility. Without being chained to your desktop, you can check on your team's progress from anywhere, and your team members can keep you updated while on the go.
Key takeaway: Before you purchase project management software, be sure to assess the system's reporting options, integrations and scheduling, as well as task management and team collaboration tools.
What are the advantages of project management software?
Managing a team isn't easy, especially if you're new to the small business world. Using a project management system creates a neater workflow and an efficient system of communication for your team. Here are some of the benefits of using project management software:
Task management systems not only keep you and your team up-to-date with assignments but also allow you to analyze workflow and project progress. Some systems provide a breakdown of exactly how long employees took to complete assignments. When you have this data, you can pinpoint the weak areas within your business and address those issues.
Emails are a big part of workplace communication, but project management software allows you to cut down on that inbox overflow. With project management software, there's no need to send follow-up or reminder emails, because you and your team can communicate and view each other's progress within the system. Multiple users can also collaborate on projects in real time.
Project management software can also help you save time, because you won't have to worry about an update or a suggestion getting lost in a flurry of Monday morning emails. Instead, reporting tools ping users immediately. You won't have to search for files or reach out to teammates individually, because communication happens in one space, thus eliminating confusion and moving assignments along. [If you think project management software is right for your business, check out our recommendations for the options we think are best.]
Key takeaway: Project management software can help you improve productivity, streamline communication and save time.
What are the disadvantages of project management software?
Although project management software is a great way to organize your team's assignments, it does come with a few potential drawbacks your business should consider:
Project management software can be expensive, depending on the size of your organization and the features you need. You could end up paying more than you expect based on the number of users, customizable features and storage space your business requires.
For some programs, the learning curve for employees is just too steep. When a system is overly complicated, it can be time-consuming. Your team needs to mesh well with the program and have a good understanding of how it works to minimize hiccups during use.
"Getting your entire team to use a project management software, understand its various nuances and, most importantly, integrate into their way of working can take time," Jimmy Kamboj, founder of Imenso Software, told Business News Daily.
While it's important for your project management software to have the tools you need, an overabundance of features can make the program overwhelming for users. In fact, one of the biggest disadvantages of project management software is that many of these programs have too many bells and whistles, said Ian Sells, CEO and founder of RebateKey.
"While automation features are nice and integrations can help make work easy, sometimes all of the 'extra' features in a project management tool make it overwhelming to use," Sells said. "Often, managing the project management tool becomes part of the job itself, which is the last thing any project manager wants."
Key takeaway: Some potential drawbacks of project management software include the added expense, the required training for employees and an overabundance of features.