Project Management Software Essentials

Project managers take on more responsibility than anyone else on the team. On any given day, you’re scheduling meetings, analyzing reports, planning, delegating tasks, etc. On an extra busy day this is overwhelming. With so much on your plate, it’s important to work smarter, not harder. Great project management software makes large scale management a possibility.

There are hundreds of software options in the market; choosing the right one is critical to your team’s success. Create a checklist of requirements and goals and match potential solutions against those needs. For example, as a software company, integration with JIRA might be essential, while time tracking might not be as important. A great place to compare tools is available on our site!

While you’re on the hunt for a solution that fits your management style, check out the following project management software essentials:

Functionality

Your project management software needs all of the functionality and features without cluttering the program to manage your project. Consider the features that are most important to you, such as third-party integration and time tracking. The more features available to you, the more versatile your management methods can be. Notable project management features include:

Custom Task Statuses: Task statuses let the team know what level of completion a particular task is at. Many tools come with default statuses like “New,” “In Progress,” and “Complete.” Custom task statuses allow the project manager to create statuses that are unique to the project or company, allowing better organization.

Agile Board View: More and more companies are using agile methods to increase productivity within projects. Board view lets you to focus on the entire project process and progress via a single, simple view that displays a series of stacked project columns.

Simple task Management: Easily create tasks for yourself or other team members. Each task remains outlined and visible for the rest of the team, and users should be notified when a task is assigned to them. Subtasks are equally as important to the task management process because they allow team members achieve personal tasks through a breakdown of smaller, related tasks.

Collaboration Tools: Collaboration tools allow for more free-flowing communication between team members. This includes file sharing, team dashboards, and enabled comments.

Time Tracking: Time tracking allows managers to better understand how long tasks and projects are taking to complete. The data from time tracking can also be a game-changer for future projects. Additionally, team members can use it as a reference to see where potential lags exist and how they can improve.

Intuitive Interface

A major turnoff for managers and employees are programs that involve a steep learning curve. This is the number one reason many project managers take a while to transition from simple-to-use ad-hoc tools like Google Sheets. Easy project management onboarding is crucial: the longer it takes for you to learn a program, the longer it will take to achieve your goals. Understanding your project management software shouldn’t be a project in itself. An intuitive user interface should:

  • Have visual cues that indicate how to do something
  • Deliver expected results with no surprises
  • Enable the user to perform an action with minimal effort or as little steps as possible
  • Give the user clear indication that an action is happening, and whether that action was successful or unsuccessful
  • Allow the users to explore and navigate the program freely without getting lost
  • Leaves the user satisfied with the interaction

Mobile App

Business is on the go, and so are your projects. You need to be updated and ready to respond no matter where you are. Don’t be confined to a computer because your project management software doesn’t have a mobile counterpart. As a project manager, you should seek the best mobile project management app available.

Your app needs to behave as an extension of your web program and should help you and your team members stay in the loop no matter where you are in the world. This is particularly helpful for remote workers. With your mobile app, you should be able to add and update task statuses, share and download documents for offline reading, and collaborate with other team members.

Versatile Views & Methodologies

There are several different ways project management software can handle task flow. How you take a project from conception to execution is entirely up to you, and based off what historically has worked well for your business. There are two primary methodologies for project management: the waterfall and agile approaches.

“Waterfall” is a sequential management process that handles project flow from its beginning stage, straight down to the bottom finishing stage. Agile methodology is less rigid, with no defined Point A to Point B. Instead, it focuses on a series of milestones happening simultaneously that all contribute to the final result. The later method relies heavily on cross-functional teams and collaboration.  

Project management software programs like ClickUp allow the project manager to customize the project to the methodology of their choosing. Different project views allow users to see their projects laid out in a manner that’s most coherent to them. These views include Board view (agile methodology), Table view, and Box view (for a high-level overview all projects).

Active Company

Does it look like the company who built your tool is still updating and responding to customer support? Don’t end up in a ghost town! Choosing an active company not only speaks volumes for the quality of the product, but of the service behind the product.

With hundreds of options on the market, a large number allow users to purchase the program, but provide no ongoing support or updates. This means that as technology evolves, their software will always lag behind. Active companies stay up-to-date on the latest trends, allowing integration with trending third-party management tools and software to provide users with the best experience possible.

Clean Design

Does your project management software of choice have a dashboard? Timeline? Do your eyes enjoy viewing your virtual workspace? No one wants to stare at project management UI that isn’t aesthetically pleasing throughout the day. A clean design contributes to the intuitive aspects of the program, and helps you understand how to navigate it quickly. Before you commit to any software, check for trial and free versions to get hands-on experience with the look and feel of the program.
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