Different projects may require different types of project management software. Nowadays, you can find a large number of basic PM tools that combine the most important aspects, as well as those that specifically focus on time, knowledge, or collaborative management.
For instance, at IBM, just 40% of projects meet the company’s criteria when it comes to the budget, quality, and schedule, which shows the importance of constant project monitoring. For this purpose, organizations tend to use different types of project management software that allow them to keep track of everything going when it comes to a specific project.
Apart from being simple and reliable, there are some critical views that a quality PM tool should provide. In this article, we will be:
- Defining the characteristics of a reliable project management software
- List some of the substantial elements that you should look for when deciding on getting adequate project management software.
Read on and find out how to choose the best software for your business and what criteria you should have in mind while doing that.
What Are the Most Important Views Your Project Management Software Should Cover?
#1 Organizational View
No matter how impressive a project management software seems to be, if it cannot provide you with a clear structure of your project and efficient task management, it definitely isn’t the right choice. A powerful PM tool should let you visually present the flow of your project and individual tasks, and emphasize their connection. Some of the necessary features that you should look for when it comes to project organization are:
- The creation of to-do lists
- The estimation of time required for every task on your list
- The identification of task carriers (people in charge of specific parts of the project)
How does the organizational view of project management software improve your business?
- It organizes your tasks efficiently.
Defining and keeping track of the project tasks can be painstaking. Good PM software will improve the way you work by making it easier for you to deal with these problems.
In accordance with this, some of the most important features when it comes to your project organization is task labeling. If your task labeling is clear and concise, the effort you should make to figure out the task status will be radically reduced. Practically, good software will make you more efficient by precisely dividing your tasks into unequivocal groups. If you’re wondering what a good division should look like, here is an example of the groups it can include.
- A group of the tasks that are not being performed, labeled with „new,“ „inactive,“ „waiting“;
- A group of the tasks that are being performed, can also show the progress bar and can be labeled as „in progress“;
- A group of the tasks that are finished, marked with „completed“ or „pending“ if they require additional reviews before being listed as „completed“;
- It lets you monitor processes from two perspectives.
Another important benefit of the organizational view for your business is the fact that it keeps the management aware both of the project in general and its smallest segments as well. This way, it lets the management:
- keep track of the critical path,
- make the right decisions when it comes to defining schedules and allocating resources.
By defining precise schedules and allocating resources properly, every unit of the organizational structure of your business will be able to identify and perform the necessary activities efficiently, which will lead to an increase in productivity on the operational level, and therefore, deliver better results.
#2 Collaborative View
No matter whether your team is organized as a remote group or a department team in your offices, you will certainly need simple project management software that will let you share the essential information and documents. In other words, you should pay attention to these features and choose the software that will provide you with at least elementary collaboration options. Some of the popular options that you should consider when it comes to this aspect are:
- Storing and uploading (large) files
- Creating document libraries
- Collaborative real-time document revision
- Sharing Calendars and contact lists
How does the collaborative view of project management software affect your business?
By having all of the collaborative features in a single tool, you will reduce the frustration and the chaos of dealing with confusing edits, endless mailing lists, and attachments that are too large to be sent. There is a large number of benefits it brings, and some of the most important ones are listed below.
- It simplifies collaboration by introducing an intuitive interface.
The setup of good project management software represents a stimulative environment. Your employees won’t need a lot of training to go through the features these tools offer – and they offer a lot. Apart from minimizing the effort needed to access and edit the information, software of this kind is also great means of improving the interaction and communication between both team members and different teams.
- It saves the time needed for the information transfers.
By providing the perfect conditions for collaboration, project management software will save your employees the time needed to find the necessary information. Instead of searching through the piles of documents and complex or outdated documentation repositories (which is both time-consuming and painstaking), they will be able to get the information from the other people working on the specific project. Also, they have the possibility of collaborating on the creation and organization of a documentation base within the software, which makes the team even more efficient.
- It improves communication effectiveness.
Instead of dealing with the endless circulating emails, and constant mailing list classifications and updates, you can use your project management software as a practical means of communication. It is an especially efficient alternative to emails when it comes to group discussions and information exchange. Apart from being a faster communication solution than email, communication using this software can be performed in various ways, including direct messages, comments, and personalized notifications, depending on the software you choose.
#3 Technical View
Even though managers normally consider PM software as the means that has a preventive role in the project management process, sometimes, it can actually be a convenient way out of problematic situations, as well.
When it comes to technical issues, PM software may be a great asset if it offers the possibility of creating a database that can include:
- subscriptions to specific issues,
- the screenshots of bugs,
- the rates of difficulties,
- the priority determination in case of crisis.
Additionally, a simple project management software can also be a perfect tool for management staff to collect the current questions and feedback on burning topics.
Why is the technical view so important?
When dealing with complex projects and issues that cannot be solved as soon as they appear, the technical potential of your project management software becomes an incredibly valuable asset.
An adequately designed PM software will let you keep track of the issues that are being solved as you work on other tasks. The technical potential also lies in your software’s effectiveness when it comes to:
- standardizing all processes and activities that are related to a specific project,
- creating an easily manageable base that can be assessed by a large number of people without any bugs or breakdowns.
The technical aspect of project management software and security
In addition to the listed technical advantages, there is another aspect that should be considered, and it is related to your security and software reliability. If the software you use doesn’t have a solid technical base, chances are that your project information may be jeopardized. This is why it is extremely important for you and your business to consider the technical view as one of the crucial elements when it comes to choosing the ideal software.
Before deciding to start using specific software, do not hesitate to let your IT sector test it thoroughly, to avoid any complications that may appear later. Moreover, pay attention to the other customers’ reviews, as well, since they can be a helpful resource of information.
Technical questions that you should answer before investing in certain project management software to make sure you’re getting the right software for your business are:
- If the software you are interested in is a cloud operated platform or one that’s self-hosted.
If you are dealing with a cloud system, you should definitely get to know more about the measures provided for keeping the back of your data safe.
- If data backup can affect the tasks that users are performing at the moment of backup.
If the answer to this question is „yes“, you should try to find a better solution since you probably don’t need your business or your project influenced by an inadequate backup system.
#4 Time View
When looking for an ideal project management software, you should pay attention to its possibilities when it comes to time management and tracking. We don’t say this without a reason – the truth is, many types of powerful project management software actually don’t come with a time tracking feature.
This is not something you should worry about because you can always integrate your software with a reliable external tool. However, if you can get everything in a single software solution, why would you complicate things?
Either way, the time view is something that your project management software definitely must cover. It won’t only keep you aware of the project’s progress but it will also notify the employees about the deadlines and make them stick to the planned tasks.
It is important to emphasize that the time view that every good project management software provides is essential for projects that have a repetitive nature in terms of time-saving. What do we mean by that? It’s simple – once you get a tool that lets you design your activities so that they can meet your time criteria, you will be able to keep the produced sheet for your next ventures, as well.
In other words, you won’t have to spend a lot of energy on-time tracking when you get to deal with the same aspect of the project again; you will have an already saved previous timesheet template. All you may have to do is adapt it a bit if you make slight changes to the new project.
Finally, using the time tracking feature of your project management software, you will be able to monitor parallelly the planned timeline with real-time progress.
Why should you pay attention to the time view of your project management software?
When it comes to time tracking, good project management software will let you set the planned finished date of your project and keep track of your project in different ways. Some software solutions offer you the possibility of presenting your project timing and schedules using Gantt charts, while the others may be based on different types of tables, sheets, and graphics. No matter what the form is, the most important thing about them is that they all allow you to effortlessly monitor and manage every single hour of your project activities.
The most significant advantage of the use of PM software for time tracking is that it:
- successfully provides the management with the number of working hours,
- lets every team member collect the time management information effortlessly,
- lets you create the project milestone in a time context, directly connecting it with your calendar.
If you have defined the processes in your project properly, every member of the management staff will be able to understand the data presented in the timesheets with no frustrations, and therefore, understand what they should do at what stage of the project in progress.
What Project Management Tool Should You Choose?
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to this question. The project management software that will suit your needs best is the one that will keep you focused on your needs. Some organizations look for functional solutions that cover a number of different project management areas, while others may need it to work in a critical area, which then excludes the usage of multitasking apps.
When choosing the ideal tool, you should also consider if you need it:
- to help your staff organize their activities better, or
- to communicate with external stakeholders and provide the external stakeholders with easy insight into the project.
Whatever your preference is, make sure to choose simple project management software that you’ll be able to use effortlessly.