Struggling to keep on top of all the projects you’re running? Maybe you just need a tool to keep you on track with your own daily tasks. Well, a project management tool could be just what you need.
What is a project management tool?
A project management tool is a type of software that allows you to track all the different tasks in a project. In the best ones, you can allocate tasks to users, collaborate easily, receive notifications on due dates, and monitor progress every step of the way. At its most fundamental level, a project management tool is software that help teams plan, manage, and optimize resources across an organization.
A good project management tool makes planning, executing, and monitoring project progress easy and efficient. They create a transparent record, so everyone knows who is doing what and what the respective deadlines are.
Determine the problem you need it to solve
The main thing to consider when choosing project management software is the problem you need it to solve. For example, if you’re managing complex projects that include lots of individual tasks, you may find that certain things fall through the cracks. Alternatively, you may be having issues with your team being able to collaborate effectively. Project management tools have several benefits, but knowing why you need one is crucial to choosing the right software.
Things to consider when purchasing
Not all project management tools are created equal, so here are some of the key things to look for when making your choice.
Ease of use
These tools are generally needed because you have multiple people working on a project. Therefore, it makes sense that you find something easy to use. If you’re bringing new people into a project, such as contractors or freelancers, you don’t want to spend too much time training them to use your software.
What extra features are important to you?
- Do you need a particular layout, such as cards or boards for those who like a visual representation of their work?
- Are regular notifications beneficial to the daily running of your business or team?
- Perhaps you need time-tracking capability?
The truth is, most project management tools perform a similar job, but they all also may have different features that may appeal to you.
Project management tools range in capabilities, but most have a few features in common.
- Task tracking and assigning – Most, if not all, project management tools have the ability to assign and track tasks across their lifecycle.
- Parent and child projects – These tasks and sub tasks get assigned to specific projects, so most project management tools have both parent projects (larger overarching tasks or milestones) and child projects (the smaller tasks that forms part of the larger project)
- Collaboration – All project management tools have collaboration functionalities in some way, whether that is collaborating on individual tasks, chatting, or sharing documents back and forth.
- Document sharing – In many instances, in order to complete tasks and projects successfully, you may need to be able to share and work together on materials and resources.
Tracking and reporting
Naturally, if you’re in charge of a project, you’ve got deadlines. Within that project, there are probably several milestones and deadlines to meet along the way. Without good tracking and reporting tools, it’s very difficult to stay on track. So, when choosing your program, look for ones with tracking and reporting features that are easy to understand. If you can instantly locate a project or task and check the status, you’ll save a lot of time otherwise spent chasing people for an update.
Integrations with current software
Another thing to consider is how well the system integrates with other software. For example, if you already use a CRM, can tasks or reminders be exported into the project management tool? Can you integrate it with your calendars to ensure you get appropriate reminders when tasks are due? For collaboration, you may need your project management tool to link up with Dropbox or other cloud storage devices. Usually, the more integrations you’ve got access to, the better flexibility you have in choosing how you work.
Being able to scale up your use of a tool is always important. If you’re a start-up or entrepreneur, for example, you may be the only one using the tool. But what happens when you bring in some contractors to perform certain tasks? Scalability usually refers to two different things. Firstly, the number of users, and secondly, the features included in your package.
So, it’s important to look at the pricing structure to see if the tool is viable not just now, but in the future. Does it cost a fortune to add new users or purchase additional features? If so, it may be worth looking at more cost-effective alternatives.
Finally, just like any system you use online, security is paramount. Most project management tools are cloud-based, which is great for allowing access. However, with that comes some risks. So, look for features that allow you to ‘lock’ certain parts of a project if there’s sensitive information you don’t want others to see.
Which tool reigns supreme?
There is no one single project management tool that reigns supreme as it will all depend on your industry, the size of your team and essentially what you/your business wants out of the particular software.
Here are just a few project management software suggestions to help kickstart your enquiry into finding the best project management solution for you.
ASANA is one of the best project management apps available. It facilitates the use of dashboards and conversations. The TEAM PAGES feature can be used to share messages with the entire team. There is also a smart box feature that shows the notifications only important to a particular team member. ASANA can easily be integrated with other data sources like Google Drive, Github, Dropbox, and many more.
If you’re already active in the Microsoft Suite of products, Microsoft Teams could be a great choice for you. This tool allows you to chat, collaborate, communicate and meet seamlessly, which is even more important now that we’re all working remotely.
JIRA is the most used project management software by various organizations that work on the Agile SDLC principle. The teams can create Kanban boards, custom scrum boards and can use the real-time reporting facilities. Bugs can easily be tracked and resolved.
Monday.com is a basic, intuitive project management tool that is easily accessible for both small and large teams. It’s a work operating system that can help teams in many different functions, including sales, project management, marketing, HR, and recruitment.
ClickUp is a project management platform that’s focused on efficient task management. Built for teams of all sizes and industries, ClickUp’s fully customizable features make it a must-have for agile teams that want to keep everything from design to development in one intuitive place.
Zoho Projects is an online project management application that helps its users to plan projects, collaborate with employees and clients, keep track of time, manage documents, and generate charts and reports. It is cloud-based and highly accessible, where user data is kept safe with stringent security systems.
Businessesand managers should carefully plan how they roll out a new project management software. The project manager responsible should get the support of major stakeholders to end-users of the project team.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the world of project management, a great resource is can be found at project-management.com