When you are trying to keep track of different projects, project managers must display patience and the ability to sort through details. You will want to keep track of the time and money invested in the project. You should also be able to access this information easily whenever a team member, manager, or customer asks a question related to a particular project. Here are some five must-have features to your project management software.
- Web Based – Web based software is vital in today’s business world. This will eliminate the need to install the software onto several different computers and obtain proper licensure for each, which can be timely and costly. Project managers should invest their time in researching or acquiring a web based project management tool to help organize records and information. This also helps collaborate with other team members and associates across different buildings, locations, countries, and time zones.
- Effective Communication – Regardless of which web based tool or software you choose, it should be equipped with proper communication tools. These tools should allow you to send emails, electronic task and responsibility functions, as well as notes to particular projects across team members at the click of a button. This feature is a crucial time saver because it saves time spent on instruction. You should also set up a discussion board or chat or comment interface in case there are any questions or concerns.
- Assigning Tasks – Any project management tool or software should have the ability to electronically assign tasks, projects, and responsibilities to team members at the click of a button. You can track who is responsible for what task and what their goals and objectives are. This should also serve as a time management system where it tracks how long a particular team member spends on a project, thus eliminating the need for time cards and payroll discrepancies. You should use programs that have an automatic timer. This can calculate the time a team member spends on a project, without having to enter it manually.
- Collaboration – Project managers should also incorporate software or tools that have collaboration features. This should be an effective way for you and your team members to discuss projects, tasks, etc. These programs should have the ability to comment on specific tasks, access and share files and upload and download them as necessary. This prevents the need to send large files through email, dealing with technical problems with those files, and having multiple versions of files, which is a recipe for disaster.
- Reports – Project managers cannot survive without reports. Many project managers rely on detailed and color-coded spreadsheets to keep track of projects, time, costs, deadlines, etc. However, many project management tools and software come equipped with the ability to run reports. Many of these tools even have an “export to Excel” feature for those project managers who are forever in love with spreadsheets.
Project management software ultimately increases your level of efficiency and decreases your overall costs. In the world of project management, time is money. Before deciding on one specific tool, you should research different types of software or tools. You should also talk to your team members and get their feedback and opinions on the software, or if they have any recommendations on which tool or program would be best. All in all, don’t decide on a particular tool or software unless it incorporates all the features listed above.