More companies, including both small and large firms, are incorporating project management software in their daily work to make their operations more efficient. Project management software comes in many varieties, but almost always has the core functionality of helping project managers organize project information, coordinate workers, and ensure the successful delivery of the project.
But is project management software really necessary? And if so, what are the problems with project management that software could feasibly solve?
The pain points of project management
1. Organization. First, there’s a problem with organization. Project managers are forced to draw in project details from multiple sources, and from multiple times, and figure out the bottom-line results they need to meet those requirements. Keeping everything organized is essential for them to keep the project on task and en route to complete delivery. PM software simplifies the task by giving managers clear hierarchies for information and task assignment, so everything stays in its right place.
2. Accountability. Accountability is also an issue, especially in larger teams. Managers need to be able to assign tasks to different team members, and ensure their successful execution; without a point person at each phase of the project, it’s possible for the timeline to be corrupted. PM software typically allows managers to visibly assign individual resources to each task, and get automatic alerts when they aren’t completed on time.
3. Consolidation. There are many moving pieces to every project, making it hard to keep track of everything at the same time. PM software provides a central location for everything to be stored at once—including project details, tasks, ongoing communications, and any files that need to be exchanged. It’s a one-stop shop for managers, which is part of the reason it’s grown to be so popular.
4. Follow-up. If someone is delayed on a task, or if the project deadline is coming up, how do project managers know who to contact and when? It’s a frustrating part of the job for managers, but PM software makes it easier by giving managers access to an overall calendar, and giving them the ability to set up alerts that remind them to follow up with various tasks and people at various times.
5. Visibility. Project managers have historically had trouble maintaining a high-level view of their respective situations, understanding who’s working on what and how much progress they’ve made at any given time. PM software grants that visibility, keeping everything accessible to managers (or anyone with a manager’s level of access), at any time. The fact that most platforms are available via the cloud on multiple devices improves this accessibility even further.
6. Evaluation. According to the Project Management Institute, about $122 million of every $1 billion spent in the Untied States was wasted due to project performance. Project managers often have a hard time evaluating how successful a project was, or pinpointing where a project went wrong. PM software gives them the chance to gain that insight, providing open records for retrospective analysis, and a chance to determine the cost effectiveness of every project immediately after completion.
7. Feedback. Finally, managers need the opportunity to give and receive feedback from the team—otherwise, there’s no opportunity to do better on the next project. Most PM platforms have the functionality to allow communication between managers and team members within each project’s domain, making the feedback process easier and more transparent for everyone involved.
Can software fix these problems?
We addressed most of these points with a description of how project management software could resolve them, but it’s important to note that not all project management software offers the same functionality, or can solve the same problems. Before you turn to project management software to fix all your problems, you first need to assess which of these problems you’re facing, how severe they are, and which of those problems can be fixed by the software you plan to buy. Research and compare multiple alternatives, so you can use ample information when making your final decision.
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