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5 Fatal Mistakes When Choosing Project Management Software

Forget written to-do lists and Trello. Choosing a real project management application will enable your company to successfully perfect projects from beginning to end. Investing in the wrong solution hinders progress to catastrophic ends.

Fortunately, there are many great project management tools that offer a variety of features suited for all types of businesses. Some even come equipped with the ability to integrate with other software and ad providers. The project management application that’s best suited for you will depend on the business you run and the development procedures required.

We suggest doing some research and trying the various tools for yourself. Talk to customer service representatives about your needs and how their application can address them. While every business is different, when it comes to choosing the right project management application, there are a few things you should avoid:

Mistake #1: Choosing an application without task statuses.

Task management is crucial for your projects and day-to-day operations. Most projects delegate a variety of rotating tasks for different projects.

Your task status is the current completion level of a particular task. It can be updated to communicate how a task is progressing with your team members. Many project management applications come equipped with a few default statuses, which may include “New” for tasks that haven’t been worked on, and “In Progress” for pending tasks, and “Complete” for tasks that have passed the final level of development.

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For projects that require task juggling across the entire team, it’s best to use a solution that features Custom Task Statuses. Custom statuses allow for free-flowing organization within the project. They are unique to your workflow and organization, and statuses are vital for task communication and filtering. These can include statuses such as “Approved,” “Rejected,” “Released,” “Pending Approval,” or anything unique to your process. As with standard statuses, these custom statuses can be filtered to give you a high-level overview of tasks that are “Pending Approval” or fit under the umbrella of a specific custom status.

Mistake #2: Choosing a project management application that doesn’t have a GREAT mobile app.

Workforces are becoming increasingly mobile. Realistically, you cannot stay chained to your desk day in and day out; your project management application should extend beyond the web portal for optimized use. A program with a great mobile app will act as an extension of the web feature, allowing you to update and add to your project on the fly. Great mobile apps allow you to:

  • Help team members quickly locate answers to questions when outside of the office
  • Add new or update task statuses on the go
  • Have remote access for team members who are out of office and need real-time updates
  • Simplify the process of managing projects
  • Share documents quickly and securely
  • Download documents for offline reading
  • Collaborate with other team members

There are many easy-to-use project management apps for mobile, see ClickUp and Asana, that aim to help businesses grow aggressively via a streamlined mobile project management process. When choosing your platform, make sure its mobile application is just as robust as its web counterpart.

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Mistake #3: Choosing an application without a Board view.

Today’s growing companies typically employ an agile movement in their process to increase productivity. The agile method is an alternative to the traditional “waterfall” project management method. It’s an iterative approach that promotes incremental development through collaboration and cross-functional teams. It also promotes leadership, encourages teamwork, accountability, and self-organization.

While it was originally developed to suit software programmers, more and more non-technical companies are using Agile to prioritize tasks and streamline progress. To organize an agile approach, you’ll need what’s called a “Board.” Trello helped popularize Boards, allowing users to do more than just check items off of a to-do list. With Boards, you can view and focus on the entire process, from planning to reflection.

Board view consists of several stacked, custom columns that show where you are with several aspects of a project at once. For example, your Board view might look light this:

Later > Today > This Week

Product Backlog > Sprint Backlog > Elaboration > Implementation > Implementation Done

The key here is customization. Each Board varies from person to person, allowing the user to see what’s most important and relevant for themselves. A user might want to see the “Done” column appear to the left as motivation to keep tackling pending tasks in “Current Sprint.” 

An interesting feature that boards allow is an “On Hold” board where bottlenecked projects can be quickly monitored and managed. This is a great area to reference when issues arise or when determining immediate priority with task progression.

Overall, the agile-board approach emphasizes collaboration. The board is utilized to keep your team members informed about project changes and up-to-date on the latest progress.

Mistake #4: Using a project management application without subtasks.

Subtasks are a huge part of the task management process. Subtasks help you break down large tasks into bite-sized pieces. They’re a simple, convenient way to organize tasks that involve several steps. For example:

Post-marketing coordinator job listing:

  • Write job description
  • Update AngelList profile
  • Make a list of potential job platforms to post
  • Get job description approved by CEO

Sub tasks are important because they help organize how tasks are completed, and they allow the user to see their accomplishments at each segment of a particular task. Big tasks involve many steps, and keeping the steps organized will not only help you through the process, but will provide team members with an overview of where you are.

Mistake #5: Choosing an ugly user interface.

Let’s face it, if you have to look at something all day, shouldn’t it look clean and attractive? Many task management solutions are FAR behind when it comes to UI, ehem, JIRA. The user-interface you choose NEEDS to be pleasing to the eyes and user-friendly.

Being user-friendly means the platform embodies many easy-to-use qualities: consist,  appealing, intuitive, etc. A clunky system not only comes with a steep learning curve but affects project progress and overall productivity. Design is about how the applications looks AND how it works. Bad designs require two or three steps to accomplish something that could be done in a single click. The best design we’ve ever seen in project management goes to ClickUp hands down. We suggest a platform with similar aesthetics and ease-of-use.

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