Project Management Tools: What Should You Be Looking For?
The root of project management is primarily based on applying different methodologies and strategies.
However, to ensure objectives and established deadlines are always met, it is now vital to also consider a project management tool to facilitate the process further.
These types of software are typically hosted in the cloud, and allow for the creation of collaborative work environments that help to organize and control task assignments, as well as easily oversee their status.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), when leveraging the strategies and techniques applied to project management, 80% of set objectives are met in the established timeframe and budget.
Aligning, structuring, and distributing the internal work process via an effective business dashboard is one of the key objectives behind any project management methodology.
The goal is to direct all projects in the same direction, in an effort to learn from potential mistakes and, in turn, implement improvements to increase the success rate. In short, it is about efficiently optimizing both work and resources.
What are the benefits of introducing a project management tool?
NAE lists the following advantages:
- Organize project timelines
- Obtain information to estimate time and cost accurately
- Help manage and minimize project risks
- Minimize expenses
- Develop team skills
Additionally, you could also consider these additional benefits:
- Mobile project management
- Improve communication between team members
- File documents and share them online
- Improve overall productivity
- Evaluate individual team member participation
- See in a glance the real-time progress of a given task
What’s the right project management tool for your company?
It is challenging to find a project management tool that adapts to all our needs. However, the digital market offers a wide variety of platforms that provide a multitude of capabilities.
The hard part is choosing the one that is best suited to our business needs.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting a tool:
- Number of projects to be managed
- Number of people who will be involved in the project
- Accessibility needs
The key characteristics to look for in a project management tool
Keep in mind the following criteria when selecting your project management tool:
Ensure that the tool is housed in the cloud and is accessible on different mobile devices.
It should provide access to both the internal team and customer, in an effort to speed up processes and encourage client participation. Functions such as project sharing or merely providing the space to have real-time conversations can strengthen team collaboration.
The interface of the tool must help facilitate navigation between different projects, which requires that they be well structured.
The tool should easily allow for time management and review, resource allocation, and should establish dependencies between tasks.
The tool must allow you to plan and straightforwardly track project execution. In this particular case, the most commonly used methods are Kanban, Scrum, and Gantt.
It must have the capability to issue real-time reports that show the evolution of the project and can help you make quick decisions in anticipation of any problems or complications.
If the project management platform has an API, we can connect our projects with other tools (ERP, CRM, etc.) Sharing data between different platforms greatly facilitates project management in other areas, such as customer service, operations, or administration.
Of course, the platform must be secure, comply with all data privacy requirements, and have security and web trust certificates (SSL, TLS, etc.)
What is the best project management tool?
As mentioned above, the best project management tool is the one that adapts to the specific needs of your company and team.
At WAM, for example, we use TaskRay, compatible with Salesforce. Within this platform, we create a project for each client and organize the tasks according to their status: Backlog, Planning, Work in Progress, To Approve, and Completed.
We assign a specific person to each task, and that person is given deadlines to complete the task. This system allows us to organize our work in an orderly and controlled manner.
We also use this tool to exchange documents or ideas, channeling communications via the platform to reduce the volume of emails or meetings.
In addition, through TaskRay, we can keep track of the time spent on each task, allowing us to control expenses, and realistically estimate how long it will take us to complete a given project.
Leveraging a methodology in your company can help reduce a team's learning curve and improve work processes. Plus, having a tool that can manage complex projects and adapt to potential changes and needs is imperative for companies looking for an organized, structured path to growth.