Project management software is the bedrock of high-performing organizations. Don’t believe us? Let’s get behind what the data tells us:
- Higher productivity: As per the numbers, around 77% of high-performing projects use project management software.
- All-round benefits: Research indicates that the top three benefits of agile project techniques include the ability to handle changing priorities (70%), project visibility (65%), and business/IT alignment (65%).
- Timely, cost-effective project delivery: According to PMI, a mature project management process makes an organization far more likely to deliver on time and under budget.
The learning: Think of a project management tool as the ‘fuel’ that drives teams and businesses forward.
In this handy guide, we will look at why organizations need project planning tools in the first place, the top 3 online project management software organizations can leverage to their advantage, and the best-kept secrets on how to improve productivity with these multi-functioning tools. Let’s get going.
But First, Why Do Organizations Need Project Management Tools?
It is an understood fact that with every project, the end-goals keep changing. Uncertain delays, changing stakeholder expectations, and other factors come into play.
Additionally, project managers need to multi-task their way to success—from managing tasks and dealing with resources that are constantly in a state of flux to understanding dynamic stakeholder priorities and delivering on customer expectations, there’s plenty of ground to cover.
This is where a robust project management tool can come in handy and literally take the load off, particularly when it comes to the grunt work.
Here are numerous ways in which project management software can double up as every project manager’s committed ‘sidekick’:
- Remote work + task priority: Project management tools allow teams to work remotely with greater ease while letting them focus on high-priority tasks.
- Project progress + goal management: They throw light on the project progress as well as status to ensure everyone stays in the loop and is aware of the big picture as well as the short- and long-term goals. This ensures that the project never goes off the beaten track.
- Real-time collaboration + data storing: The tools provide advanced features for real-time collaboration, self-paced workflows, and linear data sharing as well as capturing (think: projects goals, deadlines, resource roles, plans, and so on).
- Increased productivity + optimized team effort: As per data, around 11.4% of all resources are wasted due to inferior project management processes. Using a project management tool can help save on valuable time and energy and redirect resources correctly, thereby boosting team productivity.
- Better project delivery + success: These tools help managers deliver projects on time, well within the budget, and most importantly, to everyone’s satisfaction (be it the employees’ or the external stakeholders’).
The takeaway: Project management tools offer 360-degree benefits—from improved team productivity to enhanced project delivery. Needless to say, if the projects are completed successfully, on time, and within the stipulated budget, the organization’s bottom line will benefit as will the internal team’s morale.
Top 3 Project Management Tools Worth Considering
- GamePlan: The Best Visual Whiteboard User Experience There Is
GamePlan is one of the best tools for organizations looking to leverage the benefits of visual project planning. Here’s a quick run-through of the top features that makes GamePlan unique:
- Whiteboard: GamePlan’s ‘Whiteboard’ is a visual planning workspace and a powerful communication tool:
The Whiteboard allows you to plan, without requiring any training. The project schedule automatically updates and is displayed in the form of a Gantt chart. Moreover, you can communicate the plan to your investors and team, without letting the message get lost in translation.
Other important features of this tool include:
- Reliable project scheduling: You can leverage an automatically created resource-leveled schedule on the GamePlan Gantt chart. It literally demonstrates if the due dates are achievable.
- Accurate project costing: This tool enables you to forecast costs accurately and stay on budget. You can also create cost schedules to understand when expenses will be incurred.
- Clear project communication: Communication is the core of every business. And GamePlan’s business tool empowers you to drive seamless internal communication. It ensures that everyone understands each component of the plan. An improved understanding promotes project success. The plan demonstrated on the board encourages valuable stakeholder buy-in, encourages relevant questions regarding the project progress, and boosts investor confidence in the brand.
- Easy project tracking: GamePlan literally showcases if any delays will hamper your project deliverables. Accordingly, you can make changes to your plan and pivot with real-time information as needed.
- Algorithmic planning: The biggest benefit of using GamePlan is that it has a project management software Gantt chart that is developed by GamePlan’s proprietary algorithms, which creates a schedule that is optimized and achievable.
- Microsoft Project: The Most Powerful Project Management Tool Out There
Whether it’s project planning and distributing resources or monitoring progress and analyzing the work volume, the Microsoft Project tool comes in handy across a variety of business use-cases.
Here are some of the most useful features this tool offers:
- Thanks to the dynamic MS project scheduling feature, you can easily plan your projects based on key parameters such as effort required, project duration, and available team members.
- With Power Business Intelligence Visualization capabilities, you can create interactive dashboards to view overall status and drill down into the details of your projects.
- You can build automated workflows on Azure, the world’s trusted enterprise cloud.
Apart from these features, you can create highly customizable schedules based on your specific project needs, predict and prevent risks, and analyze summary reports as well as drive efficient management of records. If your organization requires constant interaction between different departments, this tool should be your go-to choice.
- Trello: The Kanban-based Project Management Tool
Trello is a project management tool that is based on the Japanese style of management called the Kanban principle. This tool empowers you to constantly monitor all phases of production.
Whether you wish to drive better collaboration or reach new productivity peaks, the Trello interface enables you to do everything with effortless ease:
You can leverage different ‘boards,’ which are representative of the various projects and processes within a company (look at the following example for reference):
Each board comprises of a list of tasks, comments, files, color tags, cards with descriptions, and deadlines while the menu is displayed as a calendar. A few other notable features include the ability to:
- Set customizable workflows
- Be more organized with Trello cards, where every single part of your task can be managed, tracked, and shared with teammates
- Open any card to uncover an ecosystem of checklists, due dates, attachments, conversations, and more
- Gain an in-depth understanding of the task assignments, timelines, productivity metrics, calendars, and so on via the Boards
- Leverage built-in automation, ‘Butler,’ to reduce the number of tedious tasks (and clicks) on your project board
- Integrate top work tools and easily connect the apps your team already uses
Top Tips on How to Boost Productivity with the Right Project Management Tools
- Start by looking for project management tools that provide team collaboration features. This will boost project visibility and ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Ensure that your project plan is of high quality—define your project plan in great detail and right at the beginning of the project. It is also important to include your team members and stakeholders in the process. You’ll need to make estimates about time, resources, and costs.
- Always document every development/change using the tool, whether the root cause is late approvals, additional tasks, or even internal reorganization. This will help create a simplified and accurate audit trail, which can then be used to develop best practices.
- Make sure to capture key details such as protocols, roles, goals, etc. and ensure that this information is updated and available in real time.
- Today, only 46% of organizations make project management a cultural priority—a big mistake. There’s a greater need to drive a culture of transparency, accountability, and efficiency. This can be done with proper planning at every stage of the project lifecycle. The end-goal is to keep the team motivated and increase productivity levels as organically as possible.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, project management can feel like you’re trying to play catch up with the wind. This is why project management tools become essential.
In fact, for 4 out of 5 project managers, they feel they cannot get by without project portfolio management. Furthermore, with just under 1 in 4 organizations using project management software, 54% of organizations lack the ability to track KPIs in real-time. This can translate into a crippling issue for organizations in the long run.
In other words, project management tools have emerged as a must-have to boost productivity, optimize processes, and streamline workflows. Working without a project management tool, which is customized to your needs, will only slow down the delivery and hamper the end-quality of the project.
The need of the hour? Project managers need to do their homework and think about investing in the right kind of project management tool if they want to get ahead of the game, reduce the lost hours due to distractions, and boost productivity through the roof.
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