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Tired of messy white boards, drooping sticky notes, and shouting “Hey Jim, you done with that task yet?!” across the office (or Slack)? Project management software is the modern way to reign in workspace chaos so you can tackle your deliverables in peace.

According to a 2020 Wellingtone survey spanning 111 organizations in 29 countries, 25% of project teams report not having the right tools needed for collaboration, and 36% of respondents said that manually collating project status information takes up to 5 hours in a day.

Project management software is the not-so-secret trick of the trade that project managers use to monitor project progress, track expenditures, and automate status reporting. This frees up their time to focus on tough stakeholder challenges that only a human can solve.

10 Benefits of Using Project Management Software

Why use PM software? The benefits of project management software are many. Here, we’ll explore the 10 most impactful ones.

As project managers, our digital toolkit can be the only thing that keeps us from throwing our toys out of the pram and having a total meltdown. Without a good project management solution, you can find yourself drowning in an endless sea of spreadsheets, post-its, and paperwork that can lead to errors in project scheduling, prioritizing errors, and other problems. The right tools will help provide the following key benefits:

1. Better Communication And Team Collaboration

Having all of your data in one place means you can easily delegate tasks, tag team members in comments, and enjoy file sharing features. Project management systems facilitate keeping team members in the loop about even the smallest of project plans and details through real-time updates.

They also prevent conversations from getting lost in what otherwise would have been email threads, instant messaging chats, or even handwritten notes. This may sound trivial, but context switching is a real productivity killer. In fact, it could potentially cost you up to 40% of your daily productivity.

Therefore, this software is especially advantageous for teams using the Agile methodology, because it’s important to keep information centralized when things are less structured and moving more fluidly.

Moreover, communication and teamwork are especially critical when a project team comprises of members from different departments or in an organization using remote or hybrid work.

Communication Tools in Action

Most project management software includes communication tools directly within projects, tasks, and even subtasks. Some even have live collaboration features within a document sharing function. Your team can swap comments, share feedback, and work on assets collaboratively in real-time, all without needing to leave the system.

2. Improved Resource Management

Resource management is vital to any project team, whether you’re part of an agency, a freelance contractor, in creative marketing, or providing professional product services.

Each member of your team plays a pivotal role in your success. And together, they are more than the sum of their parts. Resource planning capabilities can help project managers:

  • Identify and allocate resources across a project or portfolio
  • Use multiple views to compare and edit data
  • Generate reports, diagrams, charts, and more

Therefore, regardless of your lot in life, you will need to track and allocate resources like:

  • Skilled and unskilled labor
  • Staff schedules
  • Billable and non-billable clocked time
  • Project and facility budgets
  • Building resources (rooms, equipment, etc.)

This will help you to identify if you are facing resource bottlenecks and proactively address them. Project management software can help you with time management using features to build work calendars, make gantt charts, schedule staff, track time spent on tasks, reserve equipment and spaces, and analyze where resources are going (and when).

Leveraging Employee Skills and Strengths

Many project management tools incorporate skills mapping into their resource management functionality. This is super helpful because not only can you better assign work based on people’s skill sets, you also give employees the chance to self-identify their strengths; according to Gallup:

Simply learning their strengths makes employees 7.8% more productive, and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity.

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3. Organized And Centralized Project Data

With project management software, you can safely centralize project data no matter what kind of project you’re working on. For example, a project timeline or a Kanban board can display your milestones, dependencies, assignee, and a bunch of other useful information. This results in an organized system of information that promotes transparency.

With a single source of truth, every team member can work on the right documents, make updates in real time, and know when other team members have made changes.

Improving Data Access

Making project data more accessible to all team members is crucial for effective project management. Say goodbye to time wasted digging through email threads and looking inside every folder for the missing piece of information all while trying to juggle your individual tasks. And this time really does add up—respondents to a McKinsey study reported that:

30% of total enterprise time [is] spent on non-value-added tasks because of poor data quality and availability.

However, not all of us work at an enterprise level. Let's run some quick math to illustrate this point in a simple way:

After time tracking, an employee has 40 hours logged on their timesheet for a week. They have spent 10 minutes a day looking around for the information they need. That totals up to 50 minutes a week, or 43+ hours a year, trying to find what they need.

4. Simpler Project Reporting And Analytics

Project management software not only houses your data but also gives you insights into many aspects of your processes and projects. Most project management software will come with customizable dashboards for reporting-at-a-glance (upcoming deadlines, task completion rates) as well as in-depth business intelligence solutions that vary in power across solutions.

Some project management tools, like monday.com or Wrike, focus on ease-of-use first and foremost. You might find pre-built report templates and other user-friendly tools to track your project success. Other platforms, like ClickUp, are endlessly customizable but come with a bigger learning curve. These types of project management software can be more difficult to use. You may prefer one type over the other or a combination of both.

Moreover, many reporting features will let you change the level of detail to best communicate with a certain stakeholder group—whether that’s leadership, the board of directors, or members of a different department.

Overall, project reporting is a way to track project progress and other key metrics, compare it with your project goals, and visualize it in a way that can:

  • Help you strategize your next move based on actionable insights
  • Improve your current processes to reduce time and budget waste
  • Communicate information clearly to stakeholders across various stages of the project lifecycle

Becoming More Data-Driven

Simplified reporting and analytics also makes data more accessible to every member of your team. This can help create a more data-driven culture and improve data literacy among those who don’t specialize in data analytics. And this is important, because according to Forrester and Tableau:

82% of leaders expect all employees to have basic data literacy, but just 47% of employees say they’ve been offered data training by their organization.

5. Improved Remote Work

Now that most of your data can be found and understood in the project management tool, your whole team can track project progress, refer to due dates, get onboarded to a new project, or work from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.

Most project management tools are delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS); this means that you pay a monthly fee and can log into your tool anywhere, anytime, using an iOS or Android app, your web browser of choice, or all of the above.

Most project management software solutions also come with communication features (commenting, @-ing assignees, email integration) as well as time tracking tools. Both of these together make managing remote teams easier and more transparent for everyone involved.

Benefits for Hybrid and In-Office Teams

Whether or not you’re a remote-first organization, being able to facilitate virtual teamwork both synchronously and asynchronously will improve your team’s productivity. Not only does it reduce the need to schedule meetings or arrange working sessions, it also keeps things well-documented.

If a team member is out sick, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable, they’ll still be able to catch up on everything they missed—and they won’t have to rely on debriefs from others. Moreover, it is easy for people to have different recollections and varying key takeaways from the same conversation. Documented collaboration keeps things consistent and clear.

6. Better Budget Management

Staying within budget and saving time are always top priorities, and with a project management tool, you can see your data, your resources, how they’re being used, planned vs actual usage, and much more.

The best project management software will include budget forecasting, which sifts through data from past projects and spits out accurate estimates for current and upcoming projects. Most project management tools can be customized to trigger alerts and notifications if you stray from the intended budget, too.

Project management software can also digest complex budgeting data and portray it in readable reports that can be distributed to investors and stakeholders. As a PM, it’s your job to organize and communicate this information regularly; project management tools can help you do this quickly, offering multiple formats for communicating data, while also reducing manual input errors.

Tighter Budgets in 2024

Better budget management is particularly relevant as businesses prepare for continued economic uncertainty through 2024. Companies small and large are taking a ‘do more with less’ approach for project and portfolio management, talent development and recruitment efforts, and more.

7. Risk Identification And Mitigation

One thing project management tools can do is show you the bigger picture of how your bits of information piece together. With reports, insights, and a variety of ways to view your data, it’s easier for you to spot issues and opportunities and take action on them as needed. Risk management is multifaceted, so you’ll want to track both “opportunities” and “threats.”

Risks can provide just as many boons as they can disadvantages; it’s your job as a project manager to assess the risk appetite of the stakeholders, present accurate risk assessments (qualitative and quantitative risk analysis), and build contingency plans for worst case scenarios.

Project management software can help you chart and visualize your SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and communicate the whole picture in a clear, digestible way to all stakeholders, clients, customers, partners, and your internal team.

The Rise of the Risk

Continued technology advancements call for better risk management processes, particularly when it comes to cyber security. Whether your company offers a digital product, an ecommerce experience, or simply has a website, this matters for you, because 2023 research from ISACA showed that:

Over half of the cyber security professionals surveyed (52%) say they are experiencing more cyber attacks compared to one year ago.

8. Increased Process Standardization and Automation

As your team grows, your processes will become more sophisticated and anyone who wasn’t there as things developed may have a hard time juggling tasks and catching up.

Project management software offers different types of document and information management systems, meaning that your team can build, store, and search a database of workflow standards and processes. Often, these come in the form of process management wikis.

Project management software can also help identify recurring tasks. A recurring task is usually ripe for process improvement, and depending on the nature of the activity, the software may even allow you to set up an automation for it (ex. status reporting, meeting agendas, meeting notes). Many process workflow automations can also be triggered when a particular action is performed (requesting a job or task, marking an item as complete, etc.).

One of the main benefits of workflow automations is that they ensure proper task management, whether that means pinging a particular team member, updating dependent task deadlines, or requesting more information about a task.

The Power of Automation

Offloading menial work to the machines sounds great, but what’s the real value of workflow automation? Slack’s 2023 State of Work Report finds that:

  • 27% of desk workers say they use AI today, and they are…
  • …90% more likely to report higher levels of productivity than those who have not adopted AI
  • 3.6 hours are saved each week by those using automations at work
  • and 77% of respondents say being able to automate routine tasks would greatly improve their productivity

9. Reduced Risk of Scope Creep

Scope creep is the tendency for projects to get off track. There are many reasons why scope creep can occur: weak leadership, undefined goals, vague ideas, the natural evolution of the project, unforeseen obstacles, and poor team involvement.

As mentioned earlier, project management software offers better scheduling capabilities, ensuring that the entire team is up-to-date with what’s planned and how long the work is going to take. Team members can be assigned tasks as they arise, and they can also immediately receive notifications for new assignments. By utilizing a project scheduling software, getting a centralized list of project activities, responsible parties, and associated timelines becomes a lot easier than using a spreadsheet.

Most project management software also includes an option to track financial expenditures. Maintaining a centralized ledger promotes stakeholder awareness of how you’re tracking (and forecasting) against budget. You can restrict permissions to “view only” or to select stakeholders if you’re concerned about sharing potentially sensitive information.

10. Reduced Training

Project management software can help new team members learn who does what, communicate more efficiently, see their assigned tasks, look at what’s already been done, and ultimately get to work faster.

Project management solutions also include built-in file management, file sharing capabilities, and link trees to other data sources. (You can even create a separate “project” for onboarding new hires to your organization if they are brand new to the company and the project!)

Building up an information repository frees a team member from playing the role of trainer and giving up some of their precious time.

Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?

If you’re struggling to choose the right software, let us help you. Just share your needs in the form below and you’ll get free access to our dedicated software advisors who match and connect you with the best vendors for your needs.

So, Are You Interested In Project Management Software?

You might be wondering where the list of disadvantages is and we’re not going to lie and say there aren’t any. But, the “disadvantages” happen to be temporary and have to do with how much it’s going to cost you (vs. free excel spreadsheets) and how long it will take for your team to get used to it (vs. the time wasted without a system you can streamline). Other than that, there are no real disadvantages that are worth giving up the advantages for.

We’re sure you want to know more about project management software, what they do, how they compare with other software, and which one will suit your use case. Here are some articles you can start with:

FAQs and Guides

  1. What is The Easiest Project Management Software To Use?
  2. What is Microsoft Project Management Software?
  3. Why is Project Management So Important to an Organization?
  4. Ultimate Project Management Software Requirements Checklist

For even more practical real-world information, why not ask experienced project managers yourself?

Join our community of experts who are always dishing out tips and tricks to maximize productivity when working with project management software, and who are constantly on the lookout for tools that make work easier for their teams.

Ben Aston
By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 20 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!