Is it time to become more efficient and to increase the visibility of your workflow? Discover how you can streamline your business projects with this introduction to Project Management Software.
What is Project Management Software?
According to Techopedia, a project management software is defined as a software used for “project planning, scheduling, resource allocation and change management”. In other words, it’s a tool that can help you get full visibility into the various workflows and tasks that goes into every client campaign or in-house project you run. The best project management software can give insights related to:
- Budgeting and invoicing
- Allocation of resources
- Campaign planning and scheduling
- Task management
- Document sharing
If you’re managing projects daily, then this tool will be a valuable addition to your team. Essentially, it can increase efficiency and collaboration, report individual progress, identify problems before they arise, and remove any potential communication issues. A Project Management solution will enable you to run complex and cross-department projects as smoothly as possible.
A recent study reveals that 87% of high-performing companies utilise a project management tools daily.
Well-known project management providers include Atlassian’s Jira, Asana, Zoho Projects and Microsoft Project.
Why Do You Need A Project Management Tool?
Firstly, that’s a good question. But before we get any further, let me first share a personal observation. You might find it highly controversial, but I swear that this is the cold, hard truth of project management: you see, working in teams can sometimes be really difficult.
There. I said it. And I stand by it.
Some projects can obviously be the best, most enlightening experience available in the corporate world. You know what I’m talking about – ideas are flowing across departments, angles are being discussed passionately (and politely), and client briefs are filled to the brim with the fresh scent of good, old collaborative spirit.
But, more often than not, project management is hard and stressful work. It can often mean long days where you chase people repeatedly, answer questions that have already been answered, and desperately try to keep frustration at bay. Let’s see if you find any of these situations familiar:
- Mark, the eminent data analyst, has sent you an excel document containing an abundance of numbers – but with absolutely no explanation of what they mean and how they might prove useful to the rest of the team. Chasing him down and waiting for a detailed explanation causes a hold-up to the entire project.
- Nina, the project manager, does not perform well under pressure. She has completely forgotten to notify the team that the client actually changed its mind late last night – they now want Brief Z instead of Brief A.
- As a result of not being notified in time, Amy, the copywriter, and Paul, the graphic designer, has spent time finishing their work for the wrong brief. This causes a hold-up to the entire project.
On paper, project management sounds easy. But, when not executed correctly, it can lead to frustration, friction amongst the team, loss of productivity and a waste of costs.
Is it time for you to do project management better? As the modern workplace continues to evolve, so too must your project management skills. If you’re still moving post-it notes around your desk, or planning the next steps of a campaign by clicking “Reply all” in Outlook, then it’s about time you start looking at implementing a project management tool.
Key Features of Project Management Tools
- Multi-user logins
- File sharing and file repository
- Project categorisation
- Cross-project visibility
- Live work streams and discussion forums
- Project ownership and ability to delegate tasks
- Automatic E-mail notifications
- Ability to set deadlines and targets
- Hierarchical project tasks
- Calendar and timelines
- Contact list
- Analytics for effective reporting
How can project management software make your business better?
Sometimes you will run a project which overlaps departmental boundaries. How can you ensure that everyone is kept in the loop? Most project management solutions provide live activity streams, which can show the various project members what other colleagues are currently working on.
By increasing visibility of the various workflows, your team can avoid any potential communication issues and collaborate more seamlessly. Benefit from:
- Real-time updates and workstreams: With a newsfeed or an activity channel, everyone will get full visibility into which tasks are to be completed at what time.
- Document sharing: Instantly send, receive and edit files and documents in the tool.
- Project portal: Rather than wasting precious time on client calls and meeting, you can allow them to log in and view relevant tasks, provide feedback or sign off on new activities.
Meet deadlines with better scheduling
When many people are involved, it can be incredibly challenging to keep track of all individual deadlines.
Project Management software can provide you with easy timelines that can be updated by each individual – this way everyone will instantly know what the focus is and if resources need to be shifted. Poor management will never be reason to miss a client deadline ever again:
- Charts: With a dynamic, live timeline you can update your tasks or sign them off as completed. It will also show you how close you are to specific deadlines, so that you can allocate your resources better if necessary.
- Online scheduling: With complete visibility into everyone’s schedules, you can easily re-allocate resources or delegate tasks to members with available time slots. Time tracking is essential these days.
Communicate with clients
Are you tired of having your clients breathing down your neck all the time, constantly checking what has been done and who is doing what? You’re not alone.
It’s time to implement a project management tool that can give your clients access to your campaign dashboard. From here, they can easily get an overview of the project and the current progress. If they are required to sign-off on certain tasks, they can easily log in and view the specific task in the software. No more wasted time:
- Multi-user logins: Increase customer satisfaction by offering them full visibility into the progress of their projects. With their own logins, they can easily provide approval, edits and feedback on the various tasks.
- Document sharing: If you’re anything like me, chances are that you have an inbox you can never get to the bottom of. Don’t let important contracts or documents get lost in the depths of Outlook – let the client access everything in your project management tool instead.