Getting a job done on time (and on a budget) isn’t easy, especially when multiple teams, steps, or systems are involved. A lot of this difficulty starts from the planning stage, and initiating a project without a solid plan is like visiting a friend in a new city without a map. You may find their place, but only after a lot of effort and time.
Even if a project appears to be going well at first, without a clear strategy, employees might eventually lose sight of the big picture and waste time figuring out what to do when. This can result in missed deadlines, or worse, the entire project falling apart.
This is where project management software can be a game-changer.
What is project management software?
Project management software is a tool that helps you monitor and control various projects that your organisation aims to complete. It's a comprehensive solution for keeping all your projects organised right from planning to execution. And in this case, a ‘project’ doesn't necessarily have to be a hugely crucial task in a giant office setup. It can be anything from a goal, activity, or series of tasks to be done within a predefined time frame.
For example, let’s say you’re running a small advertising agency with a team of 20 people. You receive a project to develop a promotional video for a client. This requires your team to work in a specific order, where each team member will have an important role at different stages of the project. Your videographer may not have any work until the creative team prepares a script, for example. Similarly, the creative team cannot start working until the strategic team completes their research and instructs them on what to do.
The right thing to do in this scenario is to plan tasks and steps for each of those tasks. Outline each person's activities, set deadlines for each step, and define an overall timeline for the project. This will help your team collaborate and complete the work on schedule. If necessary, re-assign duties for those who have completed their part in the project so you can get more done as a team.
Project management software makes all of this simple. You will be able to break large tasks down into smaller subtasks and assign them to team members. With everything consolidated in one place, the software system effectively presents a clear roadmap for the team. Everyone can stay updated on their individual responsibilities and be informed on their teammates' progress, helping the project to move along quickly and efficiently.
Who uses project management software?
Using project management tools isn't limited to a specific industry or business size. Anyone who needs to manage a project effectively may benefit from using a project manager. While it can be tough to determine how large a project has to be to have a dedicated tool, here are some common reasons why you might need one.
You find yourself constantly juggling between projects and resources
You are clueless about what or who is causing a delay in the workflow
You wish to identify the areas of a project that are over your budget
You struggle to keep your entire team on the same page
You want to organise your workflows and easily see all your projects in one place
If this sounds like you, project management software is what your business has been missing.
Project management software features
Project management software isn't for mere monitoring. A good project manager will come with multiple features that are specifically designed to make collaboration and productivity easier. Here are some of the most important ones to look for before investing in a software solution for your business.
When multiple people are involved in a project, it's easy for mistakes to slip through the cracks and for tasks to progress to the next stage without approval. Good project management software will let you set up a blueprint and customise the entire workflow of the project from start to finish. This ensures that everyone in the team follows the right process and that authorised staff is notified when a task transitions from one stage to another.
Having a built in chat tool and forum board can be a valuable addition to your project management software. This makes it easy for team members to collaborate, provide real-time updates, post comments, and tag each other in important conversations. With all communication happening in one place, you won't have to waste time searching for key documents or files elsewhere.
Your project management software should make your work easier and save you time by automating recurring tasks. So whether it's the everyday task of creating data backups or scheduling project meetings every week, you must be able to set up automatic reminders for regular activities.
Any project's success hinges on our ability to manage time effectively. Your project management software should automatically activate time trackers to record the time it takes each employee to complete a task. This enables you to gauge your employees' momentum and assess individual contributions to a project.
Reports and dashboards
Your software must generate insightful reports to help you gain a deeper understanding of your project's overall progress. This can also assist you in keeping track of other crucial details like project budget expenditures, the status of completed and overdue activities, and the estimated completion times for tasks and the project as a whole.
These features are only a handful of the capabilities that project management software can offer your business. If you're still doubtful if a project management system is worth the hype, we recommend giving Zoho Projects a try. Our feature-rich software will help even your most complex projects run smoothly by centralising team collaboration and automating manual tasks—all without breaking your bank.