4 top project management features to look for in your next system
A project management system is designed to take on all aspects of your project, from goal-setting to collaboration software and more. You need your system to work as well as your in-person team does, so it improves your process rather than hampering it. If you can make sure your system has the following traits, you’re well on your way to a system that can streamline your work and improve your communication.
The right fit for your team
Remember, your system is supposed to conform to fit your needs, not the other way around! Possibly the most important facet of a project management system is making sure its operational style fits with the way your team operates. Otherwise, your team will waste valuable time struggling to make a system work, which is the opposite of what a good system should do.
If your team works remotely, find a system that makes it easy to connect. If your team uses lots of visuals, use a platform that makes it easy to upload, download, and access those visuals in whatever form they may take. If you feel like you’re constantly fighting your project management system, shop around. You may be surprised by how well a new system can fit your team.
Features that match your needs
Another part of finding a well-fitting system is making sure it has the features you need. At a minimum, you should be able to expect that your system will help you store documents, set goals and reminders, and provide client access methods. You want a system that makes communication easy and reminds you of upcoming deadlines.
It can be helpful to sit down and talk to your team about what features they believe would do the most to streamline their work. Get a solid consensus on what features will be most useful for your team, and find a system accordingly. A few useful features to look for include:
- Collaboration tools, so it’s easy to keep in touch with your team.
- Time tracking, so you know how long each of your work tasks take.
- Task management features that allow you to visualize your workload.
There are project management systems and project management systems, and if you’ve had time to experiment with more than one, you’ve seen that some are much easier to manage than others. There’s a lot to be said for a simple system that can get the job done, without any unnecessary complications or unneeded add-ons.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down in special features. It can be tempting to invest in the system that offers the longest list of features, but if they’re more confusing than helpful, avoid them! Systems that are overly complex are sure to result in wasted time as your team struggles to figure out which buttons do what and how to perform the basic task they need to be done. The following are good indicators that your system is easy to use:
- Visual cues that direct the user through the platform
- Actions that require the fewest possible steps to perform
- Indicators that an action is being performed—whether the program is updating or saving, for example—and another indicator saying whether the action was successful or not.
The ability to integrate
Even after you’ve made sure to use a program that has as many of the tools you need as possible, there will always be necessary external tools. It can be difficult to manage expense tracing or resource allocation through a project management program, for example, but that doesn’t mean those tools aren’t valuable.
Double-check that the project management program you’re interested in can mesh well with whatever external tools you’ll be using. Doing this probably means laying out your external tools in advance, and determining what the best way to include them is. Whether it’s digital or physical, make sure all your resources can work together to make your job easier, rather than any more complicated.
A project management system can do incredible things for your business, but to truly maximize that potential, it’s important to make sure your project checks all the boxes. This platform will essentially become a member of your team, so make sure that you vet its performance just like you would a human employee. If it doesn’t fit well with your other employees, or if it can’t perform the tasks you need to be done, don’t use it. There are dozens of other programs available, and you can find one that fits your needs exactly. Make sure that you aren’t settling for less than the best when it comes to your project management!