18 Ways Project Management Software Can Help You
So…do you really need project management or team collaboration software?
Think about this:
Have you ever messaged a colleague with, “Is this done yet?”
Have you gone into your boss’ office and said, “What is that blank-blank project supposed to look again?”
We’ve all been there, right?
If you nodded your head to either of those, believe it or not, those are pieces of project or job or work management.
The good news: good project management and team collaboration software can do some of that for you.
However, here’s the hard part: for good project management software to work really well, you have to be committed. You have to figure out if your team will actually use it and if you want to push them in that direction.
Dedication goes along way.
The worst is when you introduce something to your whole team, only to realize no one likes it or is committed to it.
In this post, you’ll see exactly how project management software could help you do some of those check-ins and updates while also receiving immense value from a new workflow and project management solution.
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There are multiple benefits to project management software, but you can really divide them into three main categories:
Note: Communication is also immensely valuable. You’ll see how it actually encompasses and runs through all three of these things.
So let’s begin:
Ever let a balloon go and watch it float away in the sky?
What happens eventually?
You can’t see it anymore. Even though you know it’s there. And someone maybe a few miles away can see it.
Sadly, that’s how many of us treat our projects.
And *shocker* that’s not a good strategy for managing your work. Your projects shouldn’t be like that. You don’t want them to pop without knowing about it.
The simple truth is that’s what you’re doing if you have no way to get visibility into your work. Project management software can help you track that project’s journey even if you can’t immediately see it anymore.
Now, let’s say I hand you 10 balloons and you let them go. A few will rise high. A few will get caught in the wind. Then one or two or three will invariably hit a branch, and *pop* your balloon has popped before its barely left the ground.
No good. That brings us to the first reason why you need project management software…
1. View progress across all projects
Project management software is very valuable when you’re juggling multiple projects at once. You can see the status of all projects in your organization in one place. The value of this is once a project moves from your team into the department as a whole or across to another business unit or a client, you can still easily know what is going on. You’ll save more time. You won’t have to track down the information and consolidate it all for senior management or for team reporting.
The key benefit: Know what’s happening
2. Identify projects at risk
Which projects are in danger of popping or going up in smoke? With project management software, you’ll see warnings about which projects are falling behind or in danger of falling behind, along with which ones are progressing along nicely. That way you’ll see what could be a problem long before it becomes ones. And then you’ll quickly identify and address these projects before they become big problems.
Key Benefit: Miss fewer deadlines by identifying projects at risk before they become problems. Quickly identify the projects needing attention now.
3. Set Priorities
How does your organization determine what’s important?
Through OKRs? KPIs? Osmosis?
Well, whatever your company’s priority is, you can set up your projects to correspond to those.
That’s another benefit to the visibility aspect. That way you’re in tune to what’s happening in your company and how your projects match that. And if they don’t, well you can adjust that as well.
Key Benefit: Focus on the things that make a difference
4. Move resources to where they matter
With more visibility, you’ll not only be able to see how your projects are moving, but also check out how your team is using their time and what they’re working on. Many team members are working on several projects at once, and chances are, you won’t remember them all. Projects management software clues you into where and how they’re working, You’ll know if work is evenly distributed–or if some have too much on their plate or can take on more.
Key benefit: Balance team efficiency
5. Share project statuses in real time
Ever got the sinking feeling that something wasn’t quite right or on time?
Ever needed to tell your boss about an issue but then they were in a meeting?
With real-time project statuses in project management software, you can check in without having to ask directly. Or better yet, you can ask them to update the software and then you’ll have your answer. This limits redundant communication because everyone knows what’s going on. You’ll also identify key issues earlier, reduce team meetings and free up valuable time.
Key Benefit: Keep everyone informed for quick fixes
6. Monitor timelines
Consider this for a moment:
What does it cost your organization when you miss deadlines? What does it cost your team? How about you?
It probably costs you a lot. Your VPs will only put it up with that for so long. What if you cut down some of those delays and deliver projects on time? If everyone is updating their statuses in project management software, you’ll be able to see timelines, identify delays and make adjustments before it’s too late. Or at least you can be upfront about new deadlines because now you know when and how the delays are actually happening. Now you’ll eliminate fire drills at the end of a project because you are consistently updated on project status.
Key benefit: Finish projects on time
7. Keep track of budgets
As you can tell, projects are intertwined and connected. When one thing falls or stumbles, it has the potential to affect the whole campaign or project. With project management software, you can track your budget and your spending. Projects come in on budget when you pay more attention to them. Project management software helps you that. You can compare your estimates versus your actual spending to make sure you stay on track.
Key Benefit: Avoid extra costs
Good projects aren’t only about the team; they’re about to deliverables to the wider organization. To that end, the whole company (or at least the senior management) needs to know what’s going on. Project management software can help!
In addition to visibility, it gives you and your team accountability (for better or for worse).
Let’s dive into why accountability matters and how project software can help you with it.
8. Provide senior management with timely project updates
Just as you’re trying to stay out of your team’s way, I’m sure you want the same leeway from your superiors as well. Project management software will make both groups happy. You can even use a “set and forget it” mindset on the details. Many project management tools create reports automatically and send status updates. That way the key players will always stay involved.
Key Benefit: No extra work on updates
9. Provide a summary view of all projects to decision makers
Here’s a chance to show everyone how well your work is progressing. To show off your confidence. This is a fun reason for project management software, because it can also show how good you are at your job. Those auto-notifications and emails? They serve more than one purpose. They can also show how awesome you are, because you’ll let everyone know that you’re in control of the work and the process. You can help senior management know where projects stand across the organization.
Key Benefit: Feel good about your work
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10. Notify team members about overdue tasks
This reason for project management software will help your relationships tremendously. Why? It takes out the in-person nagging. And the passive aggressive email that you rewrote a few times. With email notifications, you can ask team members to get their work done and hold them accountable for the late work. You can quickly find the holdup in Workzone and adjust accordingly. This will also help you detect early warning signs before they turn into something bigger.
Key Benefit: See warning signs before they become problems
11. Avoid missing or incorrect deliverables
Make no mistake, better communication on your team can happen. With unique dashboard views, automatic email reminders and your tasks all in one place, project management software can be the centralized communication hub for your organization. Your team will be on the same page, with one source of truth for project details, specifics, files and even approvals. With better insight and accountability comes better quality in the work that’s being created
Key Benefit: One place for information
12. Track review and approval of documents or deliverables
Who is next in line?
With project management software, it’s easy to pass work along to the next stakeholder or send it back for changes. Review processes will go much faster and easier. The right people are notified and everyone can automatically see how a problem is affecting the project or what the next steps need to be. Then they can be identified quickly. Nice!
Key Benefit: Fast approvals and change requests
13. Track file revisions
This situation is probably familiar: You’ll see the tasks in one tools, get the documents from the other and then re-upload them. But which one is the right version? Do you have to search your inbox again?
That problem will be solved with great project management software. You’ll be able upload your files, check the dates and versions and know what is the most up-to-date. And if you have to go back and grab an older version to compare, you’ll have that too. All your versions will be together, in one location.
Key Benefit: No more version confusion
More efficient, more productive, better communication and organization. Project management and team collaboration software helps you do that.
But here’s something really interesting–better work doesn’t just appear with the software.
You’ve got to be organized. And set up defined processes. That way the whole team can make a plan, work the plan and see it happen in real time.
But how? Glad you asked:
14. Processes and templates help you stay consistent
By having a more established process, your team will start new habits, consolidate their conversations and track their work. Your team will be more efficient and productive. Plus, new team members can get up to speed quickly, as they jump on board with what’s expected. Those defined processes will help your consistency, and the amount of work accomplished will increase.
Key Benefit: Consistency breeds results
15. Combine workflow tools into one place
If you combine more of your tools under one system, then you won’t have to manage or flip between a bunch of tools. There is no debate about where to put things. In document storage? In your to-do list? With all project management under one roof you can spend time on your projects, not managing the connection of multiple tools.
Key Benefit: Less friction and frustration
16. Look to a central location for details & updates
Project management software keeps not only you informed, but everyone on the team. It’s one place to see every update. You can comment and make notes right inside the project management software. Stop managing your projects via email.
Instead, you can use your email inbox for more broad communications, not task details or files. Don’t you hate searching through your inbox for big documents? What about for task details and next steps? Email can’t keep up with it. There’s no way to keep them organized. With project management software, you’ll have less clutter and less confusion.
Key Benefit: Stop managing projects via email
17. Store work and project files in a secure, shared location
Yes, there are lots of freebies out there doing this, but see #16. The benefits of having this capability in line with all of your other project details can’t be overstated. Even if it’s created elsewhere, you can link it back and upload the originals in your project management solution. That way you can protect confidential information and let each team member, client or vendor only see what’s appropriate them.
Key Benefit: Create connections between your documents and tasks
18. Take in new project requests
In a lot of ways, new projects are actually the beginning of how your work gets done. Instead of getting new projects from departments or clients on napkins or post-it notes, your project management system can organize those for you. Take in new jobs, tasks and projects and set up projects by using the info filled out the project request forms.
- Keep your organized
- Keep up with details
- Ensure all of your project questions are answered
- Limit follow-ups
You can be notified of when new project information comes in and have everything ready to go for new tasks.
Key Benefit: Get the right details before you begin
Okay, now you’re equipped with some big picture benefits and reasons to implement project management software. Because what you’re really looking for aren’t more features for doing this or that–yes, that’s important–but you’ve got to know your why before your what. And the why of project management is this:
What you’re looking for in project management system isn’t just about comparing features, so don’t get trapped in that game. Remember your why!
Project management software can definitely help you get your projects back under control and moving in the right direction.
But it’s not just about the software. It’s about how you use it and how committed your team is to making it work.