The following is a guest blog post from our friend Frank, who writes about the importance of project management software.
Your business’ manual project resource software, such as Microsoft Excel, could be slowing down your marketing efforts. This isn’t necessarily because the software itself is bad or designed poorly, but rather that project resource data is open to a large amount of human error — and that human error can cost some companies several millions of dollars a year, according to a study by global analyst firm IDC. This is especially true for businesses that manage a large team of professionals who must be coordinated in real time to keep up with the growing needs of business-specific projects; even if the marketing efforts are stellar, the messages might not be getting to current and potential customers in the most effective ways.
Now companies — both in the enterprise and SMB sectors — are moving toward using more sophisticated project management solutions to save money and avoid major errors in the project management space, according to Business Insider.
What Is Project Management Software?
In very basic terms, project management software is any tool used to streamline project management processes. This includes everything from project planning, to project scheduling, to resource allocation, to task management. The big idea is that project managers can automate and streamline the entire process in a way that saves money and ensures a high level of productivity and efficiency.
Five Elements of Project Resource Software
- Project Planning: This is a feature that lets you define a project schedule, set checkpoints, and map out specific tasks that need to be completed to move the project forward. A quality project resource tool will make this process highly automated.
- Task Management: Task management features are usually closely married to the project planning features. In a nutshell, this feature lets you assign and distribute tasks throughout your team as necessary.
- Document Sharing/Collaboration: While collaboration is mostly popular with cloud-based project resource solutions, it is becoming an integral part of many of today’s most widely used project management applications. The collaboration feature usually lets you upload documents to the project resource application and assign collaborators. From there you can manage version histories to see what changes were made and by who. This serves as a much more efficient way of collaborating than the traditional method of bouncing emails back and forth among colleagues.
- Bug/Error Management: The bug error feature is largely reserved for reporting to stakeholders within your organization. It essentially updates key stakeholders with reports whenever there is a bug or error.
- Time Tracking: The bulk of project management applications feature a powerful time tracking tool that lets you monitor the amount of time each user spends on specific tasks.
Project Management Software Tools
Fortunately, there is no shortage of project management tools available. You can choose from a wide range of on-premise and cloud-based solutions. Your choice depends on the budget you have for implementing project management applications. For instance, on-premise project management tools are housed on servers located within your facility. While these are expensive to manage, they do offer a great deal of control over project management.
Cloud-based solutions, such as Basecamp, are more affordable and give you a great deal of flexibility, according to JobStock. If you do settle on a cloud-based project management tool, stick with providers that have a long history of security and stability, as this is one of the primary concerns with any cloud-based service. Whatever project resource software you choose for your business, make sure the software is agile and able to adapt to your changing business needs, writes Brian Murphy, the director of enterprise strategy at business social network, Yammer, on Forbes.
What project management software have you had good or bad experiences with? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
A native New Yorker, Frank Lindberg is an avid reader of The Economist and every other business journal he can get his hands on. His graduate thesis was about global supply chain management, and he hopes to one day be remembered as a world-changing titan of industry. In the meantime, he’ll write about any business topic he can get his hands on.