7 Powerful Features to Look for in a Project Management Tool
Updated: Jun 14, 2018
Contemporary project management software tools have the potential to transform a business, but without the right features, the turnout could easily go awry.
Starting a project without the right management tools is like voyaging the sea without navigational instruments. You get lost in the tide of tasks, sail directly into disasters and reach your destination exhausted and with many broken pieces.
Project management software are tools that were developed to make sure that these mishaps do not happen, and that projects are completed on-time in the most efficient manner. They assist a person or a team organize work and manage tasks and ensures that the output being delivered survives all the pressures and end up with good quality results that consistently hits the mark.
But not all project management (PM) tools are created equal. Some of the these are bothersome and seem to complicate the tasks rather than simplify them, while others don’t provide enough granular information to aid team members to take actions they need.
If you have been looking around for a comprehensive PM software, choose these features that you would most likely need the most:
When planning to invest in a project management tool, make sure to look for a feature that enables and simplifies collaboration. The platform should foster teamwork wherein team member would have a means to contribute to the achievement of the goals, and be in-the-know of updates, changes, and the team’s progress.
With the tool, project managers must also be able to build good working relationships and communicate with each other share tasks and expedite workloads in a collaborative tool.
Effective collaboration is critical when starting a project because it establishes trust, and everyone uses workflow techniques that were agreed upon by all members of the team.
A digital collaboration workplace through the use of intranet project management software must meet the challenges of large teams and the growing complexities of implementing plans. This feature is highly important because it overcomes silos and levels the playing field for everyone and enables the team to work together and accomplish great things. The result of a collaborative environment are innovative solutions to problems and hitting target KPIs or Key Performance Indicators on time.
The best project management software enable communication through multiple channels and also easily facilitate file-sharing where leaders and members easily access each other's work in and ensure that tasks are in synch with each other.
Another great feature of a collaborative PM tool is a team dashboard where summary of tasks and their progress are in real-time. A team dashboard gives a quick overview of the team's advancement and is useful during reports, meetings, and in comparing actual progress with set project milestones and in making informed decisions. Not only these reports are dynamic, they can be drilled down to the tasks and subtasks. Any actions to be taken can be taken right there without leaving the workspace.
Improvement and problem-solving as part of project management do not happen without regular feedback. A feedback platform is an important feature of a project management software because it makes communication closed-loop. It levels the hierarchy by giving equal opportunity to everyone in the team to share knowledge and also enable members to put up queries and receive clarification in return. In addition, it keeps everyone updated on the project's progress, and helps team members to remain engaged.
Regular and frequent feedback also reduces the possibility of errors because communication becomes clear, honest and complete. When the software allows you to do it in real-time, such as through pop-up notifications, the undeterred flow of information becomes a strong point in meeting the project's objectives.
Another crucial role of a feedback platform that is a necessary feature of a project management tool is being able to give constructive criticisms. Project managers will need this feature because even the best projects are riddled with hurdles that need to be overcome. Giving advice cuts mistakes on their tracks before they affect the other parts of a project.
A project management tool with a feedback platform tends to be successful when utilized to its advantage, especially when it is used to lift the team spirit. Being able to give a thumbs up, a toast, etc. after the completion of a small task means that the team member's efforts were recognized. It is often these small and frequent gestures can be most meaningful. It could also be a way to give due appreciation for a job well done, or boost motivation when morale is down.
Taking the advantages of feedback even further, leaders can establish good working relationships with their fellow managers and their team members as well, which in time could lead to team cohesiveness, learning, and innovation. It creates a friendly environment where everyone is open to criticisms and innovative ideas.
3. Employee engagement
A project management tool with an employee engagement platform is like finding a goldmine. At any point, a good project completed on time would not be possible without engaged workers working tirelessly and putting in their best efforts to realize the objectives of the project. The combination of project management and employee engagement could provide control both of the technical and human resources sides of the project. To project managers out there, an employee engagement platform is a very powerful PM tool indeed. Let us elaborate further on this point.
So, what does a good employee engagement platform consist of?
These additional features should recognize employees in several parameters, ideally on the quality of their work, on safety (if at all applicable), effectiveness and efficiency of their tasks, and zest, or the employees’ approach to work. These criteria make a good basis for recognition because these are qualities that lead to improved performance in employees and high-reliability in organizations.
When a project leader has a powerful management tool with an employee engagement feature, it is easier to keep their team’s tasks in check and at the same recognize individuals even for small accomplishments. If the results of their tasks do not level up to par, with the employee engagement platform, there is a means to determine who among the staff are on their way to burnout, which is the end result of disengagement. With this data on hand, it is easy to take corrective actions and meet their engagement needs.
4. Comprehensive Knowledge hub
When reviewing PMs for your use, look for options that include internal data storage features, where users can upload and share files for collaboration purposes. When several people are working on the same document, the file need not be tossed around from person to person with several versions lost in the email cloud. Rather, all documents, including calendars, customer data, memos, and manuals should be readily available by all users who have access. What’s more, if the knowledge hub includes a notification system that alerts users to changes to a document or file, this is a PM tool worth considering.
A PM software with a knowledge hub is also indispensable as it allows for seamless knowledge transfer top-down and across levels of an organizational hierarchy. The transition of knowledge establishes best practices in an organization and creates the foundation for more successful projects.
5. Easy Task Management
Every project is made up of a group of tasks, so a task management feature within your PM software is an absolute must. Task management features should include these important functions:
Allows a user to clearly communicate the scope of the project and serves as a common destination for all tasks that would be later defined.
The ability to outline tasks and list subtasks, or details of a bigger task. This function allows easy prioritization, categorization, and appropriation according to the urgency of completion.
Allows one to quickly create teams by maintaining a list of employees.
When choosing a comprehensive PM software, see to it that its task management platform allows you to assign owners of the identified tasks. Appointing an owner of a task ensures that a single person takes responsibility for coordinating subtasks, finalizing group decisions, meeting deadlines and reporting to project managers. They serve as the contact person when leaders need clarification or updates.
Includes a progress-tracker that provides updates in real-time. The feature will ideally enable leaders to continuously assess if their teams are performing according to the set timeline.
6. Pre-Calculated Metrics
Metrics are the standards used to measure the success or completion of a plan and are an important component of project management. Metrics provide insight into the qualities of an individual or a team and can be used to assess performance and set goals, while also indicating the priorities and values of an organization.
Metrics are important in project management as they provide direction that will guide tasks and workflows. They quantify goals and make them measurable. They serve as a reference for decision-making. More importantly, they drive strategies and performance.
7. Real-time data
A strong PM tool will benefit an organization if all inputs and feedback are processed in real-time. For example, when a problem arises and is reflected in the dashboard, managers can immediately initiate corrective measures and prevent unnecessary losses, delays, and bottlenecks.
Real-time feedback also allows for unobstructed flow of information, which is essential for making sound decisions and to ensure the continuous flow of tasks. If project managers can easily pass on announcements, changes and other important details to their team immediately, they foster engagement and trust.
Summing it up:
The needs of project managers are continuously evolving for delivering quality and timely outputs. When evaluating a PM software, choose the one that can meet current needs yet remain flexible, simplify and expedite your tasks, and that which could help you target your goals on time.
The software should enable collaboration, provide real-time feedback, and facilitate easy task management through the use of metrics. Consider it high-value when the package comes with a knowledge hub with file-sharing capabilities. If the software includes an employee engagement tool, then it is indeed worth your investment, and you will reap the rewards of your decision to acquire the software in the long run.
With disruptions in virtually every industry and competition from all over the world, embracing a powerful tool can not only help your team to be more productive and efficient, it may also engage your team, embrace project excellence, and encourage innovation from within. The Project Management Institute has a great report on this very topic.
ManageUp is a comprehensive SaaS platform to manage your work and your team. It incorporates team thread/channel communication, task and project management, knowledge sharing, and employee engagement in one platform allowing for full transparency and accountability.