What is a project management software?
“Project management is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people,” according to the Project Management Institute.
The top project management softwares have 6 basic features:
- Dashboard. Each team member’s dashboard spells out any assigned tasks, as well as when those projects are due.
- Scheduling and deadline management. At a glance, a project manager can assess the work assigned to a team member and properly incorporate new tasks into their daily schedule, without overloading them or distracting them from other tasks.
- Ability to assign roles. You can add a team member to each task so that everyone knows who is responsible for each portion of the project.
- Collaboration. Project management software has tools to enable collaboration and communication among team members.
- File uploading. Most platforms include file sharing, so team members can easily share key documents, information and assets.
- Project templates. Many project management software programs come with templates you can customize to fit your business’s needs.
So, what additional features besides these are the ultimate decision-drivers? Here are the top 9 essential features for project management tools.
Project templates are how you make sure each project has what it needs. You have your master template and apply it to new projects.
This helps save time so you’re not constantly doing the same processes over and over again. It also helps you compare your templates to see what processes are more successful than others.
Project Team Dashboard
A project team dashboard helps you see everyone who’s involved easily. It also helps you see who’s missing and easily creates the option to add someone.
This dashboard should not only provide the names and faces of the team, but also their…
- Contact information
- Job title
- What tasks they’re assigned
- Their progress in those tasks
This helps give a detailed overview so you can see who’s behind and who’s not. For example, it looks like Aliah is halfway done with her tasks, but Jeremy hasn’t started!
Project Resource Management
How do you know what project managers are at capacity? Who can take on more projects?
A project management software with resource management allows you to see whose time is over- or under-allocated. Be more accurate when forecasting timelines and project completion dates by understanding down to the task level who is available each day.
Group tasks are tasks that require not just one assignee, but multiple. Instead of reaching out to these individuals to complete the task, put them in it. Give them the transparency and direction they need to succeed. And then track when every person has completed their part.
This is great for meetings or any other onboarding-related event. Event tasks are different from regular tasks because they can integrate with your company calendar. When the event gets updated in GUIDEcx, it transfers over to your calendar so you can keep up with your team.
Within tasks, there might be mini-tasks. Checklists within tasks are a great way to summarize these simpler tasks and break down the steps to complete the larger task at hand.
What are dependency logics?
Say there’s one task that can’t be started until another is marked “Done”. How do you communicate that?
Some project management tools allow for dependency logics. This task that can’t be started cannot be marked “In Progress” until it’s predecessor is marked “Done”. This helps priorities stay in order, but it also ensures that dependent tasks throughout the project have the right resources gathered from previous tasks.
What this feature can also do, is send out an email to the assignees of the dependent task, telling them the previous task has been marked “Done” and it’s their time to shine!
There are so many documents that can go into a project. From proposals to training documents, everything should be accessible and centralized.
This helps avoid any confusion of the placement of documents. If you have an onboarding template as well and each onboarding has the same set of documents, you can put those resources in the template. This saves time when starting a new project so you don’t have to manually keep uploading the same items each time.
Not only should documents and attachments be accessible, but they should also be secure.
Find a project management tool that requires authentication for access, or has temporary-working secure links for the right people to access.
This will help your team members and customers feel more at ease and increase trust.
Many project management tools won’t have all these features (unless they’re GUIDEcx), but they are additional bonuses that can really make a difference in completing projects quickly and efficiently. Some features can be fluff, but the list above is compiled from customer insights of features that have made lasting impressions.
Next, see the ultimate guide for new project managers.