Choosing project management software is not always easy. Many options on the market seem perfect at first, but sometimes the modern, attractive look can cover up the absence of some vital features for successful management.
One of the main concerns of project managers is whether employees will actually use the tool or leave it alone. The only way to ensure that the team will not abandon you is to choose one that has useful features, easy to understand and that make a difference.
To help you with this task, we have gathered in this post all the functionalities that a project management software must have so that the projects are managed efficiently and the whole team is involved in the execution.
Ready? So let’s go to the first item on the list:
1) Project and task reports
The more projects that happen at the same time, the greater the need to organize them visually and objectively. A project management software must have panels that show the progress of the projects and allow a customized visualization.
That’s because, in a company, there are different people who have different work styles and goals. Thus, the chosen tool must allow the visualization of several angles of the same project , such as:
- Vision table: similar to a spreadsheet, the vision table is interesting because your organization is already known by most people.
- Vision Gantt chart: for those who need a more guided vision in time, the Gantt chart is a good solution. The main function of this graph is to point out how the project activities are connected and dependent on each other. With it, it is possible to have a more precise notion about the deadlines that need to be met and the importance of obeying them.
- View by list: lists offer a chronological view, similar to-do lists (to-do lists). This visualization summarizes the tasks that need to be done in one place, giving a real sense of what is missing for the project to be completed.
- Vision by Kanban: this vision represents the project’s activities on cards, organizing them in personalized columns such as “to do”, “doing” and “done”. It usually works in software development teams and in the management of agile projects .
2) Project templates
The second feature of our list involves ready-made project templates. It is very important that you look for project management software that allows you to edit ready-made templates or take advantage of old project templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.
You can reuse elements like dependencies between tasks, duration, workflows, managers and reports. After all, why complicate it if you can simplify?
In addition to saving time and effort, reusing project templates can make your planning more complete. You can rescue models of projects that worked and use them as a guide to predict results and gains, reduce risks and also to have a basis for comparison between similar projects.
3) Custom workflow status
Customization is the word when it comes to organizing a team’s workflow, as each team has unique processes. Imagine that a project management tool only offers these three options:
- In progress
- In revision
- In correction
At what stage would you rate a task that is in the test period? In progress or under review? What if you wanted to separate the “design” and “production” steps, but only had the option “in progress”?
Certainly these restrictions would generate communication failures between employees and a lack of understanding about what is really happening in the project. Important progress can be hidden behind the generic categories and give the impression that the project is not progressing. That is why it is important that the project management tool allows the customization of the workflow steps, so that it reflects the reality of the team.
In addition, the project management tool should provide insight into the status of all workflows that make up the project. In this way, it is possible to identify whether projects are stalling at any stage, whether stages are being skipped and even if there are any recurring problems in the processes. By correcting these flaws, you can avoid bottlenecks, optimize workflows and increase the quality of project deliverables!
4) Automatic task assignment
Finding out who to ask for help on a project can take some time. Especially in larger organizations or companies with high turnover, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for what.
Thus, tasks may be left without an owner or not be delivered to the person in charge, being stopped at some point in the project. If they are not monitored and managed closely, they can wait for weeks to run, due to the lack of clarity about who should take charge of them.
To solve this problem, it is possible to program in advance who will be responsible for each task: thus, tasks are moved to the right people as soon as they are available.
It is much safer and more efficient to entrust project management software with the responsibility of “knowing” who is responsible for each task. For example, imagine that José is the Senior Reviewer and always reviews his activities. The software you use must enable assignments such as:
- Option 1: As soon as a task is marked as “under review”, it is automatically assigned to José, who is notified.
- Option 2: As soon as a task is marked as “under review”, it is automatically assigned to all Senior Reviewers, who are notified.
When considering which option is best, you should be aware that they have pros and cons. For example, if José is disconnected, is ill or goes on vacation, option 1 can cause the task to get stuck in the review step, unless José self-directs his tasks to someone else. In this scenario, option 2 reduces the risk that some task will be stopped by someone who cannot complete it.
On the other hand, if there are many Senior Reviewers in the company, option 2 can make the same task go to more than one person, resulting in wasted work or even confusing employees about who is actually responsible.
As a result, you need to be aware when it comes to automating task assignments, thinking about your company’s scenario and the individualities of each process.
It may seem obvious, but it is essential: viewing the project schedule makes a difference in time management.
In addition to promoting the organization, the presence of the schedule can increase the productivity of the team, since it indicates when a task should be started and when it should be completed. When aware of the deadlines, the team tends to focus more on the work and deliver the expected results on time.
Although it is possible to make a project schedule in tables or spreadsheets, when it is done in the project management software it can be integrated with other resources, such as the team’s workflow, for example. Thus, when a task is completed, the schedule is already updated automatically, avoiding unnecessary work. Above all, it is more organized to keep all tools in the same box, that is, all the tools used in management in one place, software that does everything.
) Efficient support
Finally, it is important to highlight the importance of support that helps users of the software quickly and efficiently. After all, many doubts may arise in the use of a new work tool, especially during the adaptation period. Thus, the team needs to have at your disposal a competent support, who speak the same language and who is trained to resolve any doubts and problems that arise.
Bugs and system instabilities can arise, but if the support team is competent, this need not be a big problem. The problem is a fact when the project manager is unable to contact support or when support takes too long to resolve their orders. In these cases, the health of the projects can be put at risk and the productivity of the team can be threatened.
For this reason, we recommend that you research customer reviews of the project management software you are considering and ask if the support offered is of quality.
And these are the 6 characteristics that every project management software must have. Keep them in mind when choosing the best option for your organization!