10 essential features of a good project management tool
Project management tools are revolutionizing the way businesses tackle projects and assignments. Here are 10 essential features to look out for.
A project management tool can be indispensable when handling multiple projects of diverse nature and managing complex workflows.
Keeping pace with the evolving needs of businesses, the market is flooding with innovative solutions and project management tools. Start-ups all around the world are pitching competitive software solutions and packages for project management.
10 essential features of a good project management tool
If you’ve decided to implement project management software for your organization, you’ll find many options.
It’s like a maze.
How do you differentiate between a good project management tool from an average one? Which features are absolutely a must which makes the tool an ideal choice for your business?
To give you a head start on this complex maze, here are the 10 most essential features you should look for in a project management tool.
1) Task management
The task management feature makes a project management tool the backbone of a successful enterprise. It lets you assign multiple tasks to team members and also designate deadlines. This way every member is aware of their responsibilities and the timeline for task completion.
Project monitoring that comes bundled with task management is an added bonus. Managers can track progress and keep a check on the team’s productivity. Look for advanced task management features and then pick a project management tool that suits your needs.
2) Planning snd scheduling
Project planning comes ahead of any other responsibilities that a project manager has to deal with. Imagine how simple life could be if a project management software could assist with planning and scheduling tasks!
All leading project management tools come with features for planning and scheduling. These features can assist with charting the goals and objectives of the team, predicting schedules and timelines and task prioritization. Managers also get useful analytical insights for updating and rescheduling plans.
3) Data and file sharing
Teams can’t function efficiently if there’s no centralized platform for data and file sharing. A good project management tool fulfills this requirement with extensive features for data and file management. From storing and organizing data to sharing it, everything gets taken care of.
Project data can be stored on cloud-based software. This makes it easy for remote team members to access data and make their contributions. Clients can also remotely view data and leave their comments.
4) Real-time reporting
Real-time reporting can be a feature that differentiates an advanced project management tool from the average one. Real-time reporting and data analytics can give a competitive advantage to organizations. You can see how your business productivity improves once you are able to keep an eye on the costs, customer demands and other trends.
Time-tracking feature of a project management tool can help you keep a detailed account of the time spent on assignments. The benefit of this feature is two-fold. First, you can easily track the efficiency of team members. Second, you can generate automated invoices based on the time spent on the project.
6) Visual presentation of reports
Written reports are bulky and time-consuming. Visual representation of reports makes perfect sense for managers who are pressed for time while handling multiple projects.
A project management tool that presents data and reports graphically can come in handy for managers in several ways. Besides internal analysis, graphic reports are also useful for making presentations to customers and stakeholders.
7) Collaboration and communication
The idea of designing a project management tool probably originated due to the problems faced in collaboration and communication in a traditional setup. It’s not possible to imagine a project management tool being useful unless it addresses such challenges.
The ideal project management software simplifies the way teams communicate and collaborate. When selecting your project management tool look for features like one-on-one chats, group chats, collaborative dashboards, quick file sharing, etc.
Once you adopt a project management tool for your organization, the software will be used to house all your business and client data. You can’t trust a project management tool that compromises the security of your data.
Some software may need to be hosted online, especially if you’re dealing with remote teams. In such cases, you need to ensure that the project management tool uses dedicated hosting servers and secure encryption codes.
When you start working with a project management software that allows customizations, you’ll realize what a powerful tool you have under your belt. Features that allow you to add columns and heads to reports, add a company logo to your dashboard, change colors to match your brand, and the like can make your work more professional and impressive.
10) Simple and easy to follow
If the project management tool is too complicated, you’ll end up not using most of the features. The processes in a good project management tool flow easily and can be quickly understood. It is also easy for users to adapt to changes and updates in such software.
Pick a project management software that’s easy to use from every perspective. Look for the convenience of your team members as well. You can’t waste too much time on employee training for the new software. A good way to test whether you’ll be comfortable with the software is to opt for a free trial.
Which project management tool is right for you?
We have discussed the most important features of a good project management tool. It is best that all or most of these features are built-in to the project management tool you select for your organization. Even if a single feature is missing, you will have to install additional software to take care of your needs. Additional software could also cost you more.
The bottom line is that you need to research well and find a project management tool that will support your team in all aspects. We hope that you can use the above information as a checklist to weigh the functionality of a project management tool for your organization.