Today, there is a wide variety of project management tools on the market that promise to support business management. However, the functionalities or characteristics of these tools are so varied that it is difficult to choose the most appropriate one.
If you plan to incorporate a project management tool in your company, the first thing you should ask yourself is what are the needs of the company and what functionalities does it need? To help you, in this article we show you what are the key aspects that you should take into account when choosing a project management tool for your company.
What is a Project Management tool?
A project management tool is software with which you can track all the activities, tasks, resources, etc. of one or more projects, both strategically and operationally. The goal is for successful project management to take place.
More efficient management leads to better performance of resources and better results delivered on time. However, when a company has many clients and a great variety of tasks, the challenge is greater, and that is when the software to manage projects becomes essential. Otherwise, the company can plunge into chaos: loss of customers, more work hours, reduced revenue, and stress on teams.
To prevent these types of scenarios, project management tools emerge that, if used correctly and in coordination with each other, can create an optimized workflow, allowing you to complete projects in less time and with more control.
Types of tools for Project Management
There are different types of project management tools that include the assignment of tasks, visibility of the evolution with Gantt chart, workflows, to functions to facilitate communication between the team.
Next, we will see what are the most common and essential types of project management tools, for any type of company:
Task planning tools
When it comes to project management, assigning tasks is a critical activity, as it is the only way to keep track of what really needs to be done, who needs to do it, when it needs to be done, and when it is completed. task or project.
Task planning tools allow you to do this but also allow you to add tasks in a flexible, logical, and visually attractive way. Plus, they help you accurately fill in daily, weekly, and even monthly schedules in advance. They are also useful to avoid surprises at work, such as a deadline, a meeting, or a forgotten task.
Time management tools
In project management, in addition to planning tasks, you must make good use of time. Companies need to discover different ways to speed up workflow and increase productivity; especially if customers are charged by the hour.
This can be achieved with the help of time management software since it allows to automatically monitor and record the time spent on each of the tasks, as well as on the different client projects.
But also, if the tool has Artificial Intelligence, it can quickly identify how long it will take to finish each task, which will allow to adjust delivery deadlines and take forecasts.
Progress Report Tools
It is difficult for many companies to measure progress on a project or task, especially if you have to handle many variables and the work is unusual in type and scope. In these cases, it is also difficult to try to determine how long it takes to get the job done.
Really smart software offers an up-to-date view of all project progress in real-time. The famous Gantt Chart is still one of the favorite visual formats for this, but the more detail you can provide, the better the use of it.
For example, it is very useful to be able to see in this format, the projects, tasks, clients, and the work time of the users separately.
Collaboration-oriented tools allow for quick and real-time sharing and updating of project work, providing instant feedback between different team members. Plans and reports can be analyzed together, and tasks can be reorganized and ordered so that everyone sees the changes immediately.
This instant sharing, editing, and collaboration saves time for everyone and reduces the need for lengthy email chains and phone calls.
The reality is that there are not many project management tools that have functions to support in terms of calculating earnings. In this sense, finding a tool that can include this module is really valuable.
Being able to keep track of the real costs of each project, such as the time invested in each task, the hourly value of who executes it, additional project costs, resource use, deviations, etc allows you to accurately measure how much profit each project makes.
Why have a Project Management tool?
Today, many companies work with numerous projects at the same time. They have large teams of people, but few leaders responsible for making each project a successful endeavor.
As more people get involved in projects, using project management tools can be quite challenging to achieve the successful completion of a project. However, it is the only way to get things done in an organized way.
But, this is not the only thing, there are other reasons why you must have project management tools if you want to reach the deadlines of your project:
– They facilitate the management of the Project Manager.
– They improve the management of tasks by each person in charge.
– They promote the flow of work between the team since they favor collaborative work.
– Gives visibility of the evolution of the project to everyone in the company.
Additionally, the use of the latest technologies maximizes the performance of the teams in each project. This leads to a significant improvement in productivity, which translates into higher profits for the company.
Aspects to take into account when choosing a Project Management tool
So far we have talked about project management tools and their importance for companies. It is time to know what are those aspects to take into account when choosing a tool of this type for your company:
Features and Scope
In addition to the basic, mandatory functions, such as assigning tasks, tracking progress, etc., there are other characteristics that project management tools should have:
Collaboration and communication are key aspects of a project. Fluent and uninterrupted communication during the development of any project is a must. Today most of the tools have this function but some are more advanced than others. The ease of uploading files or the ability to leave comments at each point is a valuable feature.
2. Risk management
It is unlikely to manage a project where there are no risks. Unforeseen events can occur at any time and during all stages of the project and, of course, have an impact on planning.
This is why to avoid the impact of unforeseen events, that the project lasts longer than planned or deteriorates in the quality of performance, the manager must calculate all risks in advance. A great advantage is having a management tool that works with Artificial Intelligence and does it for him.
3. Resource management
Resource management is an integral part of projects. When we talk about resources we will refer to hours of human talent, work material, unforeseen events, etc.
Therefore, it is very convenient and useful when a project management tool offers a resource management function, which also includes detours.
This has become an essential requirement for those companies that are looking for a comprehensive solution, which in addition to helping with productivity, gives them guarantees of the profitability of their projects.
4. KPIs and Reports
In this module, it is very important to evaluate what KPIs or Success Indicators the tool offers in its reports and its ability to cross data.
Depending on the industry, there will be more or less important metrics, however, indicators such as the productive capacity of each user, budget for each project, cost per hour, extra costs, total profits, and the percentage of profitability, are fundamental for anyone.
Integrations with other tools
In an interconnected world, work must also maintain the same scheme. Therefore, when choosing a project management tool, it is important to analyze what developments and connections it allows.
This means projecting the choice in a strategic perspective: does the software integrate with the main corporate CRM or ERP?
Support or Customer Success Team
When choosing a project management tool, it is important to consider the language in which it can be used. This is because it must be used by the whole team and language can often act as a brake.
To create a winning project, all team members must feel comfortable with the tool, it must be easy to use and language is one of the elements that contribute to the usability of the software.
Finally, we want to emphasize the importance of technical assistance, which is ideally 24/7. In practice this aspect is essential. Additionally, the Customer Success team must be able to offer training and support in the implementation of the tool according to the needs of the company.
Budget vs Results
The bigger a project, the more expenses to document and manage. For efficient expense management, an Excel spreadsheet is not a good option.
You will need a project management tool that tracks expenses and provides quick and clear reports on-budget performance.
Good project management software gives you real-time reports on project expenses, partial and total. It also shows when the project is over budget and you can measure the results.