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Project Management Software that Doesn’t Manage You

Project management software is a powerful tool that can help individuals and teams efficiently manage projects from start to finish. Whether you are working on a small project or a complex project with multiple stakeholders, project management software can streamline your workflow and improve collaboration. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using project management software, important features to look for when choosing a tool, and how it can benefit different types of businesses and industries. 

Project management software aims to help teams collaborate and stay organized. But some rigid tools end up feeling like they manage you more than you manage them. The best solutions adapt to your team’s needs rather than forcing set ways of working. Here are features to look for in flexible software that empowers your unique workflow.

What is project management software and why do you need it?

Project management software is a digital solution that helps individuals and teams plan, execute, and track projects. It provides a centralized platform where project managers can assign tasks, set deadlines, allocate resources, and monitor progress. It eliminates the need for manual tracking and coordination, making it easier to stay organized and on track.

Benefits of using project management software

There are several benefits of using project management software:

  • Improved collaboration: Project management software enables team members to collaborate seamlessly. They can share files, communicate in real-time, and receive notifications on task updates.
  • Efficient task management: With project management software, you can create and assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, and track progress. This ensures that everyone knows what they need to do and when.
  • Effective resource management: The software allows you to allocate resources efficiently and monitor their availability. This prevents overloading certain team members and ensures optimal resource utilization.
  • Track project progress: Project management software provides real-time insights into project progress. You can easily track milestones, identify bottlenecks, and make adjustments to keep the project on schedule.

Features to look for in project management software

When choosing project management software, it is important to consider the following key features:

  • Task management: Look for software that allows you to create tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, and track their progress. This ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities and deadlines.
  • Collaboration tools: Choose a tool that offers seamless communication and file sharing features. This enables team members to collaborate effectively, share information, and receive updates in real-time.
  • Resource management: Look for software that enables you to allocate and manage resources efficiently. This includes tracking resource availability, assigning resources to specific tasks, and monitoring their workload.
  • Project tracking and reporting: Choose a tool that provides robust project tracking and reporting capabilities. This allows you to monitor project progress, identify bottlenecks, and generate reports for stakeholders.

How project management software can streamline your workflow

Project management software streamlines your workflow by centralizing all project-related information and activities. It eliminates the need for manual coordination and tracking, saving time and reducing errors. With a project management tool, you can easily assign tasks, track progress, and communicate with team members in one place. This improves collaboration, increases productivity, and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

How to choose the best project management software?

Choosing the best project management software depends on various factors, including your specific needs and requirements. Here are some factors to consider when selecting project management software:

Factors to consider when selecting project management software

  • Scalability: Consider the scalability of the software. Can it accommodate your growing team and projects?
  • Integrations: Check if the software integrates with other tools you use, such as communication and file sharing platforms.
  • Usability: Evaluate the user-friendliness of the software. Is it intuitive and easy to navigate?
  • Cost: Consider your budget and compare the pricing plans of different software options.

Comparison of top project management software solutions

There are several project management software solutions available in the market. Here are some popular options:

  • Tool A: This software offers a comprehensive set of features for project management and collaboration. It is known for its user-friendly interface and scalability.
  • Tool B: This software focuses on simplicity and ease of use. It is suitable for small teams and projects with basic requirements.
  • Tool C: This software is designed specifically for software development projects. It offers powerful features for agile project management and tracking.

Key features to look for in project management software

When selecting project management software, these are some key features to consider:

  • Task management and collaboration features.
  • Tracking and monitoring project progress.
  • Resource management and allocation.

Which project management software is best for small businesses?

Small businesses have unique needs when it comes to project management software. They require a solution that is affordable, scalable, and offers essential features for managing projects effectively. Here are some top project management software options for small businesses:

Top project management software options for small businesses

  • Tool X: This software offers a free forever plan for small teams. It provides essential project management features and allows for collaboration among team members.
  • Tool Y: This software is specifically designed for small businesses. It offers a user-friendly interface, task management features, and customizable project templates.
  • Tool Z: This software offers a free trial period and affordable pricing plans for small businesses. It includes features like task management, resource allocation, and project tracking.

How project management software can benefit small businesses

Project management software can benefit small businesses in several ways:

  • Improved organization and efficiency: With project management software, small businesses can stay organized and track project progress more effectively. This leads to improved efficiency and timely delivery of projects.
  • Enhanced collaboration: The software enables team members to collaborate seamlessly, even if they are working remotely. It promotes effective communication, file sharing, and coordination among team members.
  • Better resource allocation: Small businesses often have limited resources. Project management software helps in allocating resources effectively, ensuring that they are used optimally.
  • Improved client communication: With project management software, small businesses can provide their clients with real-time updates on project progress and milestones. This improves transparency and strengthens client relationships.

Choosing the right project management software for your small business

When choosing project management software for your small business, consider the following factors:

  • Cost: Look for software that fits within your budget. Consider the pricing plans and features offered by different software options.
  • Scalability: Choose a tool that can grow with your business. It should be able to accommodate increasing team size and project complexity.
  • User-friendliness: Evaluate the ease of use of the software. It should be intuitive and require minimal training.
  • Customization: Check if the software allows for customization to suit your specific business needs.

How can project management software help in software development?

Project management software plays a crucial role in software development projects. It helps in planning, executing, and tracking the various stages of software development. Here are some ways project management software can benefit software development teams:

The role of project management software in software development

Project management software provides software development teams with a centralized platform to plan and execute projects. It allows teams to break down the project into tasks, assign them to team members, and set deadlines. It also facilitates communication and collaboration among team members, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Features to consider in project management software for software development

When choosing project management software for software development projects, consider the following features:

  • Agile project management: Look for software that supports agile project management methodologies. This includes features like Kanban boards, sprint planning, and burndown charts.
  • Integration with software development tools: Check if the software can integrate with popular software development tools, such as version control systems and bug tracking software.
  • Collaboration features for remote teams: If your development team is distributed, choose software that offers robust collaboration features, such as real-time chat and video conferencing.
  • Code repository and documentation: Some project management software solutions offer integrated code repositories and documentation features, making

Customizable Workflows

Look for tools that accommodate your processes rather than dictating strict steps. You should be able to design workflows aligning to how your team wants to operate.

Customizable Features

  • Build fully customizable templates for different project types
  • Create tailored stages that match your process
  • Flexible board views by project, department, individual
  • Add custom fields for data your team tracks
  • Set automated rules and triggers based on actions
  • Display only relevant information for each role
  • Integrate other tools your team relies on
  • Mobile apps tailored to field teams and remote workers

Rigid systems with set sequences of steps and approvals will just hamper teams. Choose platforms enabling you to model workflows around your needs.

Boards That Promote Transparency

Well-designed boards provide open visibility into status without micromanaging tasks. They surface key details while keeping noise low.

Effective Board Features

  • At-a-glance overview of project health
  • Interactive cards to edit content quickly
  • Intuitive indicators of status and priority
  • Ability to organize by project, milestone, person
  • Attach files and data to cards
  • Filter and sort to focus on what’s relevant
  • Group common tasks into checklist templates
  • Tag colleagues to loop them in
  • Comment streams for efficient discussions
  • Display summaries with key metrics

Good boards balance summarized project views and task flexibility. They unite teams with clarity, not more clutter.

Time Tracking That Doesn’t Feel Like Timesheets

Some time tracking tools feel like inefficient timesheets. Simplify monitoring work time without hassle or friction.

Improved Time Tracking Options

  • Mobile ability to start timer from anywhere
  • Integrated with tasks so time logs automatically
  • Options to manually enter time against projects
  • Automatic reminders if you forget to log hours
  • Easy way to allocate time to various clients and projects
  • At-a-glance view of time breakdowns by project
  • Charts showing time utilization trends
  • Insights into efficiency and capacity without nitpicking

The goal is agile understanding of where time gets spent, not onerous top-down monitoring of hourly work.

Notifications That Enlighten Rather Than Overwhelm

Many project tools bombard users with so many notifications they tune them out. Only surface the most meaningful alerts.

Smart Notification Settings

  • Control frequency and timing of email notifications
  • Configure what actions trigger notifications
  • Filter by project, assignee, tasks, and more
  • Mute conversations until you’re @mentioned
  • Dashboard notifications that don’t require opening emails
  • Mobile push notifications for urgent updates
  • Quiet hours to avoid distractions
  • Make notifications actionable to complete tasks faster

The right notifications highlight what needs attention while minimizing needless distractions and information overload.

Integrations That Connect Your Tech Stack

Avoid switching between disconnected tools constantly. Integrations unite your team’s tech stack for smooth workflows.

Valuable Integrations

  • Sync projects and tasks from other PM tools
  • Clickable links to files in cloud storage services
  • Embed visuals from design collaboration tools
  • Automatically generate PDF docs and client deliverables
  • Connect with accounting tools to map billable hours
  • Build forms collecting data right into workflows
  • Pull reports and insights through analytics integrations
  • Approve items through tight collaboration app alignment

Connect the dots between all the tools your team uses daily. Don’t let them operate in silos.

Mobile Apps That Enable Field Teams

Mobile apps should provide field teams with access to the same data as office workers. Don’t shortchange remote team members.

Features for Productive Mobile Work

  • Offline access to sync when connections allow
  • Mobile forms, checklists, and reports for field tasks
  • Photo capture and annotation capabilities
  • Chat, comment on updates and approvals
  • Shared dashboards and calendar views when on site
  • Location mapping and services integrations
  • Push notifications for task assignments and alerts
  • Quick logging via voice notes and transcription

Well-designed mobile access empowers field teams to stay tightly synced sans constant calling back to base.

CPQ That Supercharges Sales Efficiency

Complex Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) processes drain sales resources. Modern solutions simplify rather than complicate the buyer experience.

Next-Gen CPQ Capabilities

  • Build quotes by simply selecting customizable products and options
  • Systems calculate pricing dynamically based on rules
  • CPQ integrations create seamless handoff from sales to fulfillment
  • Proposals and quotes generated from templates
  • Bulk discounts, coupons and promotions applied automatically
  • Quoting risk analysis – profitability, feasibility, etc.
  • Customer self-service portals to build simple quotes
  • Approval workflows specific to deal size, risk, etc.
  • Analytics to optimize pricing and options over time

The CPQ process should accelerate sales, not inhibit them with laborious quoting that loses deals.

Collaborative Design Review Built For Iteration

Traditional document reviews are cumbersome. New solutions centralize feedback and drive alignment.

Improved Design Review Capabilities

  • Annotate and provide feedback directly on visual designs
  • Automatic versioning and documentation of iterations
  • Reply threads linked to specific comments
  • Single source of truth for all feedback and decisions
  • Comparison view highlighting changes between versions
  • Real-time commenting and chat while reviewing
  • Private comments for internal eyes only
  • Track approvals and sign-off by stakeholders
  • Mobile apps to provide feedback on the go

The back-and-forth of reviews should bring clarity, not frustration. Guide great design through collaboration.

Extensible Platforms With APIs, Automations and Add-Ons

Don’t settle for stagnant project management software. Look for extensible platforms enabling customizations.

Signs of Flexible Platforms

  • Open API for accessing data and building integrations
  • Library of prebuilt automation recipes
  • Rules builder to trigger actions from events
  • Ability to publish custom apps and add-ons
  • Public marketplace of extensions
  • Embedded analytics, forms, and reporting
  • Flexible permissions and controls
  • Custom fields to capture unique data
  • Zapier and IFTTT integration for connecting thousands of apps

With a platform offering extensibility, you can mold the system to your team rather than the opposite.

Roadmapping Tools to Align Top-Down and Bottom-Up Plans

Disconnects between leadership roadmaps and team capacity cause friction. New solutions close these gaps.

Capabilities to Connect Roadmaps

  • Senior leaders define strategic plans and goals
  • Teams build out executable tasks delivering on those goals
  • Progress auto-rolls up to provide higher visibility
  • Dashboards highlight mismatches early
  • Capacity planning prevents overcommitting
  • Teams direct bottom-up insights to leadership
  • Simulate and stress test scenarios to refine plans
  • Analytics identify patterns and inefficiencies

The best product roadmaps dynamically align heavyweight strategy with ground-level capacity.

Team Goals That Actually Lead to Results

Cascading team goals often lose focus and relevance down the org chart. Better solutions keep objectives aligned.

Effective Goal Setting Strategies

  • Set organization-wide objectives and key results (OKRs)
  • Leaders frame team goals directly supporting OKRs
  • Managers define individual goals and development plans
  • Visibility into purpose and progress across levels
  • Regular check-ins on removing roadblocks
  • Ability to update goals based on evolving priorities
  • Analytics connecting team productivity to results
  • Reward based on outcomes, not just activities

Great goal setting tools unite levels around timely results, not just disparate tasks.

Planning That Focuses on Outcomes not Outputs

Project plans often focus on rote tasks rather than driving impact. New solutions flip the script.

Transition to Outcome-Focused Planning

  • Begin with measurable business goals to achieve
  • Outline critical milestones driving desired outcomes
  • Work backward to build supporting tasks
  • Group tasks thematically into focused sprints
  • Continuously validate priorities map to goals
  • Flex plans to capitalize on new opportunities
  • Review metrics gauging results not activities
  • Celebrate outcomes delivered rather than outputs created

Rally your team around timely outcomes that move the needle, not just incrementing tasks.

Enabling Self-Service to Reduce Admin Work

Too often project management creates more work as teams scale. Look for tools promoting self-sufficiency.

Self-Service Capabilities to Reduce Admin Work

  • Searchable knowledge base helps people self-serve
  • Customer portals for self-scheduling appointments 24/7
  • Chatbots handling common questions instantaneously
  • Project templates users customize for new initiatives
  • Intuitive interfaces enabling more self-service
  • Approval workflows maintaining compliance without admins
  • Automations triggered by user actions
  • Reporting dashboards accessible without analyst help
  • Internal ticketing systems avoiding distracting admins

Let people work more independently. Reduce bottlenecks caused by everything routing through admins.

Conclusion

Rigid project management systems that force teams into predefined workflows often do more harm than good. The most effective solutions meet your team’s needs rather than the opposite. Look for flexible software enabling you to model processes unique to your projects. Choose customizable platforms that adapt as methodologies evolve. Don’t settle for tools demanding your team fits their system. With responsive solutions focused on progress over protocols, you can eliminate needless bureaucracy getting between teams and results.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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