As a manager, you must be using Microsoft Excel to manage your projects, but the problem with Excel is that it lacks any automation and customization and doesn’t support collaborative teamwork. Project management software can help you in streamlining different functions to plan projects, allocate resources, and manage time.
You can use it for project road mapping, scheduling, allocating resources, and quality management. Let’s find out what all the software can do for project managers working across different types of business processes.
What is Project Management Software?
Project management software is used by managers and teams to plan, track, coordinate and achieve their project goals. This software is also used for communication and collaboration between different stakeholders.
It helps managers and project supervisors to meet their deadlines and control costs. Moreover, it helps track the team’s workflow and by using this information you can make appropriate changes or offer any useful inputs to your team.
Top Project Management Software Features to Check
In order to successfully manage a project, you need to manage all the information about different supporting activities. You have to collate, assimilate, and interpret the information for project stakeholders in real-time. When the stakeholders and project teams located in different areas, it becomes more difficult.
Therefore, a project management tool has become a critical aspect of any business that allows teams to manage all processes from the initial stage to the closing stage. Let’s look at some critical functionalities of project management tool.
Collaboration Between Team Members
The software allows collaboration between various teams and departments. They can easily update and share information with each other. Moreover, the access-sharing feature allows all stakeholders to have a unified view of the project.
Scheduling tasks for different people is one of the most crucial aspects of a project. Project management tool comes with scheduling functionalities that allow the manager to add a flow to all the tasks, assign them to specific people, give start & end dates to a project and create a detailed project schedule.
Managing Project-Related Documents
While working on a project, your team creates a wide range of project documents like scope documents, requirement documents, risk documents, estimation documents, and more. Project management solution empowers you to manage all these documents with perfection and modify them as per requirement.
Management of Resources
The next crucial function of project management software is the management of available resources. It helps in assigning the resource, tracking them, and utilizing them to the optimal level. Moreover, the software also maintains a detailed report of every asset.
It allows you to assign cost elements at the task level. You can also do a cost analysis as well as a value earned analysis in most software systems.
The main reason to use project management tool is to figure out what needs to be done. It is often decided in the form of a calendar or Gantt chart, this feature enables you to join the pieces of your project together and keep the work on the right track. The tool allows you to assign tasks to individuals, set goals, objectives and due dates for different projects.
Gone are those days when you used to keep a manual writing pad handy to note down who’s responsible for what. The software allows you to track your team’s progress and provide any additional inputs for successful completion. It also promotes team coordination and increased transparency among team members.
Like project planning and task management, the time tracking feature is also critical for highly efficient project management. Especially when your team is working on a tight budget. The time tracking feature allows you to carefully plan your tasks, ensuring that you deliver top-notch work with minimal effort and in a short span.
Communication and Collaboration
It is an essential feature to facilitate seamless communication between teams and other departments. It helps them in discussing the critical points of a project and getting any help or suggestions from colleagues when required. This feature enables them to get clarity about where their project stands in the current scenario and adjust deadlines as per requirement.
Types of Project Management Software
There are three different types of project management software:
- Individual Software: This software is a perfect fit for one person who needs a simple and lightweight application to manage projects. It comes with fewer features and provides only basic functionalities to its user.
- Integrated Software: Integrated software is mainly used by companies that work on multiple projects simultaneously. This PMS has a centralized database of information that can be easily accessed by all team members.
- Collaborative Software: Collaborative software is an ideal option for larger teams as it allows all team members to view, access, and collaborate on a project and resolve a specific business problem.
Use Cases of Project Management Software
Managing multiple projects and tasks is not as easy as it seems. It takes a lot of planning, hard work, and dedication to handle every aspect of the business. But intelligent managers only require the right project management tool to manage their projects with aplomb.
With the help of comprehensive software, you can easily find & resolve critical issues and prioritize important tasks. It allows you to get real-time updates about ongoing projects and share important updates with the team.
Moreover, the in-depth project summaries help you to analyze your progress and make changes as per requirements.
- Importance of PMS for Small Business with Examples
Project management is a scary phrase when you’re running a small business. You must be juggling multiple projects, people, and tasks.
However, software for project management can help you to plan everything in advance and run every project in a profitable manner. It will save a lot of time and ensure that you finish your projects in a short span without undue stress.
In the next few paragraphs, we will list five critical ways with examples of how project management software can make your life easier and take your business to the next level.
- Stay on Schedule and on Budget
You know that in a small business, there is no room for error, therefore it is important to meet your goals and stay on the projected budget. By using project management tools, you can create a road map and manage it with perfection until completion.
Example: During the project planning stage, Rahul realized that the cost of renting equipment will soon increase by 30% in the coming months. He’s in the middle of a new project and the forecasting allowed him to save money in other areas. Further, he also avoided an unexpected increase in the budget.
- Complete Control Over Your Projects
Projects that go haywire can negatively impact your organization’s structure and they can also cause a repercussion in other critical tasks. If you have a minimal workforce, you can ask them to scatter around to resolve the issues.
However, this would be difficult during constant interruptions. Hence to resolve continuous problems, you must implement project management software in your business.
Example: Jacob was handling multiple projects and working hard to meet the deadlines. Despite all his efforts, he learned that his team has gone over budget in the current project.
To add to his woes, he didn’t even have a plan B to tackle the issue. However, he managed to handle the situation somehow but got reprimanded by the higher management.
To avoid such problems in the future, he decided to use project management software which gave him clear indications of any upcoming problems, create a plan for every project, and create a meticulous roadmap.
In the next few months, he saw an inspiring improvement in efficiency, end results, costs, and the overall process.
- Boost Your Chances of Success
The key difference between the success and failure of a project lies in the management process of a project manager.
If they don’t spend time drafting a detailed project schedule and if they don’t closely follow the execution stage to ensure that all targets are met on time, then there is a high chance that they’ll fail to achieve the desired objectives.
Example: It was Esha’s 18th day as a sales manager in the new office, so she decided to do a performance analysis of her team. She found her sales team hasn’t done as many sales as they were supposed to do in a week.
After a careful analysis of every aspect, she came to know that her team didn’t have a clear roadmap and pre-defined goals in hand. She then used PMS tool to streamline the work, define their goals and improve productivity and overall quality of their work. After a few weeks she noticed a drastic improvement in the sales numbers and her team’s performance.
- Define Clear Roles
Even when you’re running a small business and if roles are not clearly defined, you will often face accountability issues. It will delay your projects and you won’t be able to complete important tasks on time. But when you use a project management tool, you’ll be able to assign your tasks to the right people and you can hold them accountable for completing the work within a specified duration.
Example: With the help of project management tool, David assigned multiple tasks to various individuals and clearly defined what he expected from them in terms of end goals. Everyone was aware of the job at hand and all the work was completed within the given timeline.
- Get Actionable Insights
Good project management comprises effective project planning, resource allocation, data accumulation, and communication. Once you’re done with the project, you can look back at your project, assess the performance and try to find out what worked best and what didn’t.
If you don’t have such a facility, you’re bound to repeat the same mistakes, and may also fail to give your best in the next project.
Example: Sanchit used project management software to examine the status report of his projects. He noticed that four tasks are pending, and the team has also spent more than the allocated budget.
With four upcoming projects and four pending tasks, he asked everyone on his team to pull up their socks and give their very best to complete the work on time. The project management software allowed him to allocate more resources for the pending work and get them ready for the new projects.
- Importance of PMS for Large Enterprises with Examples
Regardless of the size of an organization, managing a project is always a tricky task for everyone. Through project management tool, you can lessen the pressure of managing the projects from beginning to end and stay in control of your business objectives.
In the next few lines, you’ll learn about the three main reasons why your business needs project management software.
- Large enterprises have various departments and offices across the globe. With the help of a project management tool, you can ensure a consistent flow of information between all teams and avoid missing any deadline.
Example: Rakshay is a project lead in a multinational firm, he immediately wanted to share vital info about a project with his onshore & offshore team. He wasn’t sure if every staff member will check their inboxes, therefore he shared the information via project management software.
Within a few seconds, everyone got a pop-up notification on their software dashboard, and all of them paid utmost attention to the shared info.
- When there is a delay in the project, big organizations often spend more money than they planned. It causes a repercussion on other projects and their funds may get depleted. Large companies can use project management software for cost planning and keeping their budget under control.
Example: Rohan decided to use project management solution to uncover the financial health of the ongoing project. He was pleased to know that the software’s financial planning feature helped his team to avoid budget overrun. Moreover, he was able to set a financial target for the next project.
- Improves your team’s accountability for a particular assignment, and it also promotes team collaboration. The unanimous workflow of your team ensures the timely completion of projects and lowers the risks of losses.
Example: Daniel, was using Microsoft Excel and manual methods to assign work to his team members, but they used to miss deadlines on a regular basis. After a certain period, he decided to try project management solution for some time. To his surprise, the tool proved to be highly beneficial for his team, as he could set project deadlines, track progress and send notifications when the task was overdue.
It helped in instilling a sense of accountability into his team and make them more productive. Moreover, he was able to document everything and share it with everyone, so they could know where they stand now and what was expected from them.
Suggested Read: Business Use Cases of Project Management Software
Examples of Best Open Source and Free Project Management Tools
Here is the list of the five best open-source project management software to manage your business.
- RationalPlan: RationalPlan is a powerful project management solution designed to help project managers in organizing tasks, allocate resources, track progress, and manage workload as per requirements.
- OrangeScrum: OrangeScrum is a cloud-based platform that employs Scrum board and Kanban workflow for effective task execution, team collaboration, and report generation.
- Open Project: OpenProject is an open source project management solution that comes with customized features for project planning, issue tracking, cost reporting, and time management. It comes with Agile and Scrum management platforms to ensure a seamless workflow.
- Taiga: Taiga is an open source & free project planning that provides Scrum and Agile management platforms to its customers. It provides 300 mb of storage and up to 3 users can work on a private project.
- Odoo: Odoo software is known for its user-friendly interface, and some useful management features like pivot tables, Kanban boards, file management and more. Moreover, it also provides a wide range of tools for inventory management, HR, accounting, sales & manufacturing.
Which Industries are Using Project Management Software?
Software project management tools consists of various features and functionalities that can help all industries. It helps their leaders to spearhead the projects with ease and allows the team the ability to cope with difficult projects and tight deadlines. Below is a list of industries that use project management software to their advantage.
- Software Development: Project management system is used in software development to promote a clear understanding of goals and requirements. It keeps the teams on the same page and organized.
- Construction: In the construction industry, this software provides all the features that make the process faster, easy to handle, seamless and more efficient. Therefore, leading to more profitability and less time-consuming.
- Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry has to deal with several challenges related to the cost, raw material, and quality of products. Software project management tools helps in minimizing some of these challenges and empowers manufacturers to produce the best quality goods at a minimal cost.
- IT: In the IT sector, the goal is to increase efficiency by keeping everyone in the team on the same page. Kanban boards, Gantt charts and detailed reports provide critical features required for the successful completion of IT projects.
- Education: It is used by universities, institutes, colleges and universities to manage day-to-day activities and make every process organized. Moreover, it is used by both students and teachers alike to increase their productivity.
- Pharma: Pharma industries have a fair share of responsibilities towards their consumers, and they have to manage demand for medicinal products & keep the entire operation organized. Project management software for pharmaceuticals is designed to effectively manage projects, track resources, provide accurate reports, handle billing, and expedite the whole process.
- Real Estate: In the real estate sector helps in automating mundane tasks, tracking listings & prospective clients and analysing performance across different regions & properties.
- Creative Agency: Keeps the workflow up and running while tracking the team’s performance. It encourages collaboration between team members, and the reporting feature helps in identifying any roadblocks.
- Government: Supports government agencies in all project phases, from initializing to planning and implementation. Gantt charts in project management provide in-depth reports about the workflow and the money spent on a particular project.
How to Choose Best Project Management Software for Business?
Project management tool has become critical for all businesses. The software is specifically designed to make team handling and task performing simpler & more efficient.
It has proved to be a boon for project managers and automates basic operations like project planning, resource allocation, scheduling etc. The user-friendly interface improves inter team collaboration and keeps a tab on the workflow in real time.
Now, before zeroing in on any project management software, there are a few benchmarks that you should analyse. Here are the six important criteria to keep in mind during the selection process.
- It should be user-friendly: Should be easily used by everyone, and it must be simple to understand so that your team doesn’t waste their time on understanding its features and functionality.
- File sharing facility: Must have a wide range of options to share files, including cloud-based storage, shared hard drive, share point websites and media storage devices.
- Should be customizable: To ensure that the software performs in the exact same way you want, the software should allow customization facility and a customizable workflow.
- Seamless integration: Your project management tool should support the current software solutions and various other platforms for increased accessibility.
- Monitoring & reporting: The software must provide you the facility to monitor real time updates, and you should be able to share the information with external users & stakeholders.
- Security of stored data: Last but not the least, the software system should offer ample encryption and authentication measures to ensure the utmost security of data.
Suggested Read: Benefits of Project Management Software for Manufacturing Companies
Project management software is not an option but a necessary tool to have for your business. It helps in increasing the efficiency of your ongoing operations and minimizing & mitigating the risks involved.
Companies that don’t implement this tool in their business process will always struggle to manage their work, budget, workforce, and product quality.
Related Categories: Kanban Tools | Scrum Tools | Wireframe Tools | Gantt Chart Software