Do start-ups really need project management apps? Do these apps simply act as a tax on a fast moving team?
Posts like this one show that some people do feel this way. Let’s acknowledge that no software, however cool, can make up for poor vision or broken culture in a team. Software can enable us to work better, but software, by itself cannot make us better human beings. So if you have issues with team chemistry, don’t look to software for a miraculous cure.
With that out of the way, we are convinced that these apps can bring in significant advantages to any team when used aptly. Allow us to walk you through some of these.
Firstly, a good project management app frees you to look at the big picture. What is the purpose of our product? What are the goals of our team? What is our position in the market place? Leadership should have clear answers to these questions or the team is going to be confused.
This clarity comes from focus on the big picture. Instead, if leadership spends time micro-managing trivial details – requests for status updates ten times a week, launches endless streams of email threads, maintains a perplexing maze of spreadsheets to allocate resources, juggles with several versions of documents – there is no time for clarity. The team will end up getting sent in eight different directions. Everyone will be running very hard but getting nowhere. This is where a good project management app helps. With descriptive graphs and charts, social style feeds, Kanban cards and automatic notifications on task statuses, it quickly lets you know where your attention is needed. Thus, it helps you keep the ‘micro’ prefix away from management. It lets leadership focus on, well, leadership. Collaboration happens seamlessly.
This ability to collaborate has not just made our work more efficient, it has changed its very nature; there is more nuance and subtlety to our work. There are simply many more dimensions. For example, ten years ago, to make a release announcement, you just passed on the news to your PR team and were done. Today, you also want to write about this on your blog, add updates to your website, make posts on Facebook and Twitter, upload videos to your Youtube channel and so on. A lot of these tasks require collaboration with people external to the organization; web designers, video producers, content writers and so on. Online tools enable this collaboration to take place with a lot less friction. In that process, they enable new styles of work that were simply not possible before.
When distributed collaboration becomes possible, it alters the very structure of our teams. We no longer need everyone under “one roof.” At Zoho we have liberally taken advantage of this. Our company of more than two thousand is dispersed across America, Europe and Asia. Coordinating across geographies and time zones has become vastly easier, and this is transforming the very nature of work.
Could we work without a really good cloud-based project management tool? We cannot envision it. And we see on a daily basis that more than a million of our users who depend on these apps cannot either. The way we play this game has changed. Regardless of size, businesses must embrace this new reality and along with it comes new possibilities.
PS: To get more detailed insights on how our apps can help you work better, join us at Zoholics Productivity and Collaboration on August 25 and 26, Pleasanton.