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Six Things to Look for in Project Management Software

Whether you?re running a small business, leading a big team, or managing a large company, it?s important to keep everyone?s tasks running smoothly and efficiently. This is where project management software becomes handy. It can help identify unnecessary tasks so you can eliminate them, track everyone?s updates, streamline communication, and store files in one location.

Choosing suitable project management software, however, isn?t easy as there are lots of choices out there. Most tools will only meet the basic requirements. Some boast unique features; others are tailor-made for specific industries, like for financial firms or construction companies. Before you get project management software, assess what your company needs, then review different tools to see which one will fit your business needs.

 

We look at some essential features to look for in project management software.

Task management

The core purpose of project management software is, well, helping you manage projects. The tool should be able to let you do the basics:

  • List and schedule tasks
  • Assign tasks to the right person
  • Mark the tasks when completed

More sophisticated tools will go beyond these basic functions. Some can divide tasks into subtasks. Other tools have dependency management functions to avoid delays of dependent tasks. One tool which can do all these things is Asana.

Storage space

Your organization will need sufficient storage to share project-related files. Some project management tools offer unlimited space (usually for a set price), but your business may not need that amount of space. If your team deals only with documents and images already shared through a cloud service (like Google Drive), it will have a smaller space requirement than those who handle video or bigger files.

If you want a file storage system that can be remotely accessed anywhere, then consider cloud-based project management software; Wrike is an excellent example of this. Before you settle on one tool, check the exact needs of your business so you?ll get the best one that also fits your budget.

Integration with other platforms

On top of file sharing, an excellent project management tool must have integration capabilities. It should let you integrate your email and other contacts, or tasks from other management apps. Different tools will carry different sets of integrated platforms, but the essential integrations are:

  • Email (Trello is well-known for this)
  • Time tracking
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Collaboration tools
  • Scheduling (Microsoft Project is good at this)
  • API access

A tool that has these integrations will make things easier for everyone involved in every managed project.

 

Zapier is worth mentioning here as a project management tool that?s integrated as it can connect with hundreds of applications.

Messaging and documentation

Note-taking function and the ability to put comments on individual tasks are standard features, further helping everyone document their statuses and be on track with the project?s timeline.

Many project management tools also have built-in messaging systems. If you?re looking for a tool that has an integrated live chat, then LiquidPlanner will fit your bill. Such features make things easy for everyone to enjoy the benefits of remote working.

Interface and presentation

An excellent tool should be intuitive and easy to use; you don?t have to spend too much time learning how to use it. Smartsheet is one tool known to help project stakeholders move in an organized manner with minimal learning time.

Another important aspect is how the tool presents data. A kanban-style of presentation, where tasks are presented on cards and placed in columns, is common and not too complicated. Some tools may use Gantt charts to help users visualize how the project is developing. Some just use plain lists or calendar views, which are often enough for most situations.

 

The best tools usually have multiple ways of showing data to suit different tastes of users and fit various situations.

Customer support

If you experience an issue with your project management software, it?s important to have it fixed right away. Having an extensive knowledge base is a good start, like what Jira has.

In addition to FAQs, tutorials, and self-help articles, users will appreciate tools that have email, live chat, and phone support options. Having many ways to contact support will likely ensure that issues are given a prompt response.

Jeff M