Project management tools aren’t all the same, nor do they stay the same. PM software is constantly being refined and improved to support teams and the ever-changing nature of our work.
You or your team may already be using project management tools. That’s a good start. But how do you know if you’re using the right tools to help you and your team manage your work?
If you’re still not convinced that staying up-to-date on project management software isn’t part of your job, that you can do with what you already have, then take a moment now at these 10 reasons to upgrade your existing tools and see if that changes your mind.
1. You’re still using Excel
Microsoft Excel is a great product. There’s much you can do with their spreadsheets. It’s a great resource to collect data, analyze data and create basic task lists. But Excel has its limitations.
Admit it, there have been times when you have had to take extra-steps to get a team member to sign off on a task or share the document or any number of procedures that were hindered by the fact that your Excel sheet is a standalone document.
Project management software has gone online giving not only you, but your team and stakeholders, access to powerful spreadsheet tools the whole team can share. It also means that when team members update their status, those changes are immediately updated throughout the system. Excel can’t do that.
2. You’re still managing projects on your desktop
If no man is an island, the same adage can be said about a project. Projects that are team-based are not helped by making components of the project inaccessible.
Sure, there are some pieces of the project that belong solely to the domain of the project manager or stakeholder, but when you’re working off your desktop everything is isolated and it takes time and effort to get that information to the parties who need it.
With online project management software, however, there is no time required to sharing data, or effort required to remind a team member that they’ve been assigned tasks. The system automatically sends alerts, allowing everyone on the team to check in, add status updates and get a bird’s-eye view of the project’s progress through the dashboard. You’re connected to the project at every level and through each phase.
3. Your team is always behind schedule
Teams ebb and flow. It’s your job to turn the tide, so there’s more flow than ebb. But how can you do that using a traditional project management tool? You need to first be able to know where there team members are being blocked and then quickly reallocate resources.
With scheduling software it’s easy to see at a glance what everyone on the team is doing. And since your project management software is online, and team members are updating their statuses in real-time, you can see where a task is taking longer than it should and address it.
Online Gantt charts are a great way to schedule tasks and teams, as they give you a visual view of tasks and their durations, and alert the team when their tasks have changed. Look for a tool that can also support task dependencies, which helps you make sure that one task isn’t holding up the entire project.
4. You always overrun your budget
You’ve estimated the costs of the project and have a budget approved, now what? You can’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best, holding your breath until you’ve finally reached the finish line and all’s well and done.
Better to have your expenses tracked in real-time. You can see the planned budget against the actual cost, which allows you to know how accurate your estimates were and adjust accordingly before you burn through all your funds.
Another way to keep track of expenditures is with the resource management feature on your project management software. This can help not only track, but reallocate resources and move things were they’re most needed.
5. You personally have to remind your team to stay on task
The project lives or dies by its tasks. These small jobs are what makes up the whole project, and if they’re not being completed in a timely manner you get off-track fast.
If you’re asking each individual on your team to stay on task, you’re wasting time that can be better spent elsewhere. There’s a easier way, of course.
Task lists can be simply generated and shared, so that you can see if a team member on, behind or ahead of schedule. If they’re falling behind, you can nudge them with reminders.
6. You spend too much time creating reports
Reporting is part of the job. It can take up a lot of time. But it doesn’t have to. There are ways to streamline the process to make generating and delivering reports as easy as hitting the send button.
The reporting tool on your project management software has access to any number of metrics of your project. From the dashboard view you can see a variety of different aspects of the project, from the budget and progress to issues and risks.
The dashboard allows you to easily print and share electronically all the reports collected there or one or more of your choosing. You can also customize from the dashboard, so the report you create has just the data you need to convey.
7. Your team complains about the current tools
You aren’t the only one who benefits from upgrading your project management software. There are other people who use it, and your team may have already started expressing their disapproval.
Likely there are young people who are on your team, people who grew up with a device in their hand and for whom working an online platform is natural for them. If you’re not giving them access to tools that they’re proficient with or, worse, setting draconian rules against use of such devices, then you’re preventing your team from being as productive as they can be.
A project isn’t done by one person. It takes teamwork. For that collaborative environment to flourish you need to adapt a project management software that is cloud-based so it can be accessed anywhere. Don’t rely on outdated methods.
8. You can’t manage tasks across multiple projects
Sometimes one project is but a part of a larger program of projects. Is your current project management software capable of giving you a one-stop shop to access all of these?
With the right project management software you can manage teams and tasks across numerous projects, including adding task dependencies from one project to another.
Even more helpful, a PM tool with a real-time dashboard view should give you a broad view of not one, but all the projects you’re currently managing.
9. You have no idea what the remote teams are working on
More teams are working remotely, and you’re likely managing a few of them. When they’re out of the office and you can’t go down the hall to have a quick meet, how do you keep up with their progress and make sure they’re not going off-track?
But when you’re project management software is online and team members are about to access it wherever they’re working, you are never out of contact. Not that you’re micromanaging, instead you’re taking advantage of task management tools to track their progress no matter where they are.
Look for online project management software that has tools for communicating one-on-one or in group chats. This creates a platform that facilitates collaboration and brings teams together in a virtual space where they can problem solve and bounce ideas off one another.
10. You don’t know when your team has completed their tasks
So much of your work can be automated. You have enough to do as it is, why wouldn’t you like to get some of that busy work off the table?
Project management software tools can give you notifications and email alerts. But that’s not merely busy work that it’s clearing off your desk. You can get an email or notification the moment a team member has signed off on a task.
The quicker you know something, the better you can control the outcome of your project. This is but one more of the many reasons why updating your project management software isn’t just paying more for bells and whistles, it’s making you more efficient and productive at your job.
Needless to add, all these features and more are part of ProjectManager.com, a project management software that doesn’t rest on its laurels. Ranked #1 in project management by Gartner’s GetApp, ProjectManager.com has great features you and your team need to manage any project, big or small. See for yourself by taking a free 30-day trial.