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How To Use Project Management Software and Why?

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A well-managed project is a successful project. Fortunately, there are many different kinds of project management (PM) software and project management tools to choose from. But how do you use PM software and choose the best software for your organization?

This article shows you how to use project management software, why it’s a good thing, who should use it, and how to choose the perfect software.

But first, let’s take a broad look at what we mean when we talk about PM software, project management tools, what you can accomplish with them, and how you can get online project management training to tackle it all.

Project Management Software: An Overview

Successful projects rely on team unity and preparation for the work ahead. You can optimize your efforts with the correct software instead of creating needless and redundant work. You can allocate resources intelligently and with a coherent strategy rather than dealing with countless e-mails and getting inundated by random spreadsheets of questionable relevance.

Three categories of PM software are available for teams and individuals to manage work more efficiently.

  1. Individual project management tools. Individual project software is ideal for the solitary project worker who needs a lightweight, web-based application to manage their project. Individual project software boasts fewer features than team-based project management solutions, but it’s still perfect for managing project portfolios. This solution is a good choice if you want to try out project management platforms to see if it’s a suitable tool or if you only need a basic project management solution.
  2. Collaborative PM software. Now, we’re moving on to something more complex and involved. Collaborative PM software is excellent for teams that want a less complex tech solution for their projects. Collaborative project management platforms let all team members access, view, and collaborate on project tasks. This works for teams of all sizes, although more is needed for large teams working on diverse projects simultaneously. Team productivity can drop if team members can’t link, share, and collate data from different projects. Fortunately, the third option solves this problem.
  3. Integrated project management platforms. Integrated PM software is a unified solution for companies with large portfolios or multiple teams working on diverse projects. This application offers a centralized database of digital assets, data, and workflows that can be accessed by various team members depending on their needs. Users have authorized access to data and information across projects courtesy of an intuitive dashboard. Teams can use the software’s built-in messaging functionality to outline task dependencies, schedule tasks, track time, and collaborate.

Although project management tools vary from team to team, most applications help users plan, execute, and manage projects through one centralized virtual location. You can use project management software to perform tasks such as:

  • Analyzing trends and forecasting
  • Budgeting and monitoring project costs
  • Business process management
  • Creating and publishing project reports
  • Project planning
  • Project portfolio management
  • Project scheduling
  • Quality management
  • Resource allocation and capacity planning
  • Storing and sharing project records and documentation
  • Tracking actual time spent on project tasks
  • Workflow management

Also Read: What is Project Resource Management? Everything You Need to Know

Who Should Use Project Management Tools?

Anyone who manages a project should consider using project management software. Even if you aren’t officially a project manager or your organization’s projects aren’t structured and labeled as such, you can still benefit from project management tools.

Many businesses that don’t run formal projects use PM software to plan, organize, monitor, track, and execute tasks.

Why Does a Project Team Need Project Management Software?

Here’s a partial list of reasons why teams should use project management tools:

  • They eliminate multiple versions of files, thereby reducing confusion
  • They synch information so team members can work on a project in real-time
  • They promptly record developments and updates
  • They bring a measure of security to the project, especially with information being constantly uploaded and downloaded from multiple sources
  • They make it easy to build dashboards and generate reports
  • They keep management and stakeholders informed
  • They easily integrate with applications like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

How Do You Use Project Management Software?

So, you have a project and have decided to invest in a project management application. Great! Now what? Here are the steps involved in optimally using project management platforms.

Select the right software

Not all software is the same. For that matter, not all projects or organizations are the same. Evaluate your project’s goals, parameters, limitations, and needs. Also, consider your budget, integration needs, and user preferences. We will be discussing software selection in greater detail later.

Define and organize the project’s tasks and scope

Once you choose your project management app, break down your project into manageable pieces, assigning roles and responsibilities, setting milestones and deadlines, and estimating costs and resources. This is where your software comes in.

Track and update the project’s progress and status

Use your software to monitor your budget expenditure, resource utilization, task completion, and performance indicators. Generate appropriate dashboards, reports, and charts to visualize the project trends and data. This process helps you track and update your project progress and status, helping you identify and resolve any issues or delays, adjust your plans and schedules, and keep your team and stakeholders engaged and informed.

Keep in communication with team members and stakeholders

Good project management platforms and tools make it easy to communicate and collaborate. Use your software to share documents, files, and feedback, assign and delegate tasks, talk and discuss ideas, send reminders and notifications, and hold meetings and presentations.

Evaluate and review project results and what you learned

Use the software to compare your team’s actual performance with the projected performance, measure the project’s success and impact, identify strengths and weaknesses, and document best practices and improvement opportunities. Also, you can collect feedback and testimonials from the team and stakeholders, celebrate your achievements, recognize team member contributions, and close the project formally and ethically.

Also Read: Best Apps for Project Management You Should Know in 2024

What Are the Upsides of Project Management Software?

We’ve skirted around the benefits of PM software; now, let’s get into specifics.

  • Budget management. Projects often exceed their budget. The software updates teams about project data, budget, resource utilization, and milestone progress.
  • Centralization. Project management platforms create a centralized workspace and knowledge base. Centralization makes tracking projects and their tasks more manageable, reducing confusion and mistakes. Project management tools also reduce the time and labor needed to track times and tasks manually.
  • Communication. Project management software creates a centralized workspace and knowledge base. Centralization makes tracking projects and their tasks easier, reducing confusion and mistakes. Project management tools also reduce the time and labor needed to track times and tasks manually.
  • Coordination. Good PM software makes it easy for teams to automate their workflow and coordinate tasks.
  • Forecasting pipelines. Pipeline forecasting involves establishing and tracking the flow of the project’s progress, review, and execution. Teams can use project management tools to identify top-priority projects, forecast risks, and manage workflows smoothly.
  • Standardizing the process. Team members can use their project management tools to standardize, organize, and store processes and workflows in databases such as process management wikis. Standardization is especially valuable for onboarding new team members and quickly getting them up to speed.

How to Choose The Best Project Management Software For Your Team

So, you’re about to choose your project management software. How do you go about it? Here is a list of questions you should ask during the selection process.

  • Will the team actually use this software?
  • Can multiple departments use this software?
  • Does the software support transparency and clear communication?
  • Is the software flexible?
  • Can the software generate custom reports?
  • Does the software easily and securely allow external communication?
  • Does the software integrate with other tools the organization uses?

Also Read: 20 Best Practices in Project Management [2024 Guide]

Key Features to Consider When You Choose a Project Management Platform

When you buy a car or choose a place to live, you typically have a mental list of features you want to ensure are in place. You have expectations, preferences, and standards. It’s the same when choosing your project management software. Here are the main features to bear in mind when making your choice:

  • Real-time collaboration. You must have real-time collaboration between team members and stakeholders.
  • Sharing and storing documents. The software must let teams store and share documents.
  • Cost management. The software must track and report costs and monitor for potential budget overruns.
  • Reporting. This feature is crucial. The software must allow real-time reporting.
  • Easy to use. Teams typically want to use simple apps.
  • Template creation. Customized templates save time, so you’re not building each project and task from scratch.
  • Warning flags. The apps should trigger warnings or alerts when things go off track.
  • Scheduling. You must have the means to create a schedule baseline and monitor the actual schedule against it.
  • Time management. The app should track the time worked to monitor progress and manage labor costs and resources.
  • Resource allocation. The software should make it easy to assign resource roles and individual people tasks.
  • Customization. Every organization is different. The software should be flexible to adapt to your organization’s many projects and processes and the team’s way of working.
  • Controls and governance. The software must have enough controls and restrictions to ensure the data is secure and all approvals are tracked and recorded.
  • Integration capability. The software must integrate with your organization’s existing systems, such as the financial management system.
  • Unique calendars. The project management tools must include calendars that can be changed to reflect working days and hours and updated to show any shutdown periods or time off.

Are You Interested in a Future in Project Management?

There’s a lot to becoming a project manager, but it’s an exciting and rewarding career. For example, Glassdfoor.com reports that project managers in the United States earn an annual average of $91,756.

If you’re interested in a project manager’s position, it’s highly advisable to take some training and gain related certificates. This 24-week project management program offers online classes and capstone projects to help you get that valuable project management certification. The bootcamp is aligned with PMI-PMP and IASSC-Lean Six Sigma.

So, prepare for a fantastic career as a project manager, and give yourself the valuable skills you need to tackle today’s unique project challenges.

FAQs

How is project management software used?

Here are the steps to using PM software:

  • Choose the right software
  • Use the project management platform to define and organize your project
  • Use the project management tool to track and update the project’s status
  • Use the PM software to keep in touch with team members, management, and stakeholders
  • Evaluate the project upon completion

Is project management software simple to use?

Complexity levels vary. The more functionality the software has, the more complex the operation.

What is a project management tool?

A project management tool is an application or software suite that facilitates project management for individuals or teams.

What are the benefits of project management software?

Project management platforms offer the following benefits:

  • Manage budgets easily
  • Provide a centralized workspace accessible to all team members
  • Facilitate 24/7 communication
  • Workflow and pipeline automation
  • Provide a standardized, consistent, easy-to-learn and follow process

You might also like to read:

How to Measure Project Success? A 2024 Guide

Remote Project Management: How to Manage Remote Teams Effectively

What are Project Management Skills? Here are Top Skills You should Know in 2024

A Project Management Process Primer

Why Study Project Management? Top 5 Reasons

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Project Management Bootcamp

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