Unless you’re running a lemonade stand, your business is going to have some complicated logistical issues to get a handle on. This can be keeping track of your employee hours, assigning deadlines to tasks and monitoring their progress, or assessing your budget needs and how you will stay in the black each month.
Project management platforms include a number of tools that can help you keep it all organized—and also relieve some of the stress of running a project or business. Take a look at what some of the features offered by top project management companies can do for you:
1. Scheduling - With Cross-Project Visibility
One of the most beguiling aspects of running a business is keeping all your different projects running smoothly, and knowing just who is working on what and for how long. Any project management program worth its salt will make scheduling and task management a central component of what it offers to users.
Effective project management software allows you to schedule large numbers of tasks across easily-accessible (and understandable) templates where you can assign tasks to different team members as well as affix due dates. You should be able to prioritize tasks and organize the schedules by team member or company branch. You should also look for a program in which team members can comment on the different task threads and loop each other in on changes made, and where you will receive notifications as deadlines approach, or in cases where there is overlap between projects.
For example, with Monday.com, you can drag and drop tasks with a simple click of the mouse, helping you arrange things on the fly. You can also tag users in the posts, and set it up so they’ll receive an email letting them know.
With a business, sometimes knowing can be half the battle. Reporting tools can be essential to project management by collecting your company data in order to see what’s working and what needs a serious overhaul. This data can include budgeting and expenses, sales figures and employee performance, man hours spent on specific projects, and more. Each of these metrics can be crucial to figuring out where to funnel time, effort, and resources.
A central component of reporting is a KPI (key performance indicator) dashboard that includes an interactive, visual statistic breakdown of your business operations. This gives you a bird’s eye view of your operations, while also keeping all of these statistics organized in a single spot that can be easily referenced. It should be easy to understand—and also easy on the eyes.
There is also a wide variety of tools that can help you with your manpower needs. On Zoho, you can use the tracking feature to receive custom time reports and see which employees spent how much time on which projects, giving you a better idea of where you need all hands on deck, and where you can get by with less help.
3. Mobile Optimization
Businesses aren’t just run in the office or the boardroom, especially in today’s day and age. Most project management software today offers mobile apps that can be used to seamlessly access the software from mobile devices. These apps can allow you to modify tasks and update team members on the go, and also send you notifications of any changes made by other members, so if something changes at work, you’ll know no matter how far away from the office you are.
With RingCentral Glip, the mobile optimization is some of the best in the industry, helping you stay on top of things from any device at any time.
Project management software is designed to make businesses run smoother, and for that purpose, it should be able to work with other software that helps businesses run better.
This can include apps like Slack, which specialize in group and private messaging, G Suite—including Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Gmail, Dropbox, Trello, and much more, and the number of integrations can vary from company to company.
How does this play out? Integrations like these mean that when updates are made to tasks, you can receive an email to your personal or company email notifying you of the development. By integrating with calendar software like Google Calendar, you can receive notification on Google Calendar which can help you avoid task overlaps and also keep yourself updated on the various tasks at hand. These integrations enable you to access files in your Dropbox or chats in Slack, and use them where needed in other work projects.
5. Collaboration Tools
Even a small company or work team can have a lot of moving parts. Collaboration tools cut out the middleman and help colleagues work together seamlessly. These tools allows co-workers to access each other’s work, share files, calendars, and the like, and maintain a constant and direct channel of communication.
Other collaboration tools may include messaging services for team communication, as well as dashboards that all team members can access in order to stay abreast of developments.
With VonageFlow, you can seamlessly share files with other users, and also keep the conversation flowing with the software’s instant messaging feature.
6. Multiple User Logins
Unless your business is a clandestine intelligence agency or your project is a sophisticated bank robbery, you’ll almost certainly want to use project management software that allows multiple users to access the program.
Multiple user logins allow various members of your team to view—and/or edit—tasks within the tool. This allows them to let their input be heard, and also to have a hand in updating tasks as steps are completed.
The software should allow you to set levels of access for each user. The pricing for project management tools is typically linked to the number of user logins, with the price rising as you increase the logins. For instance, with Wrike, for up to 5 users the service is free, but then it goes up to $9.80 per user for up to 15 users, $24.80 per user for 5-200, and $34.60 for unlimited.
With some programs—like Monday.com—you can also provide a login for customers, so they can take a more proactive role in the company.
7. Managing Your Budget
Staying on top of your expenses is front and center when it comes to making a business succeed. With project management software you should be able to quickly organize your expenses into templates and formats that are simple to track and easy to understand.
You should get regular, weekly or monthly reports on your expenses and your income, so you can predict when you may have cost overruns. These figures should be accessible from the software's dashboard, where you can keep track of man hours and how much time was spent on each individual project.
Look for a project management software that will help you prepare invoices for clients and remind you when they need to be sent out.
Let’s Make Things Easier
Our world has in many ways become more complicated than ever, but the good news is, we have some great tools at our disposal. Project management software can provide any business with a real helping hand in terms of managing tasks and the bottom line, and can do it in a way that even a novice can navigate easily. Simply put, with the right project management tools at your disposal, you’re that much closer to making your business dreams a reality.