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 can solve these work problems and much more.
In this article
8 Benefits of Using Project Management Software
Why use PM software? There are numerous project management software benefits.
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. To get projects out the door, you need the right tools to make it happen. Here are some areas where those tools can help.
1. Better Communication And Team Collaboration
Now that you have all of your data in one place, you can easily delegate tasks, tag team members in comments, and enjoy document sharing features. Project management systems facilitate keeping team members in the loop about even the smallest of project plans and details.
It also prevents conversations from getting lost in what otherwise would have been email threads, instant messaging chats, or even handwritten notes. This is especially advantageous for teams using the Agile methodology.
Knowing who’s meant to work on what also gets rid of confusion, makes progress trackable, and encourages timely completion of tasks. This also reduces delays caused by the lack of a system, and keeps the project planning process organized. Moreso, when every file has a place, everyone can find it, asking for and getting feedback happens faster, and information is never lost.
Another huge benefit of having all this information easily accessible is the convenience of having reliable data when communicating with clients on status updates and everything else in between.
2. Improved Resource Management
Resource management is vital to any project team, whether you are part of an agency, a freelance contractor, in creative marketing, or providing professional product services. Whatever your lot in life, you will need to track and allocate resources like skilled and unskilled labor, staff schedules, billable and nonbillable clocked time, project and facility budgets, building resources (rooms, equipment, etc.), and so on.
One of the most important resources is your team’s time, capacity, and schedule. Project management software can help you with time management using features for building work calendars, creating gantt charts, scheduling staff, tracking time spent on tasks, reserving equipment and spaces, and analyzing where resources are going (and when).
3. 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 an in-depth business intelligence solution that will vary in power from PM tool to PM tool.
Some project management tools like monday.com or Wrike focus on ease-of-use first and foremost; others, like ClickUp, are endlessly customizable but come with a bigger learning curve. You may prefer one type over the other or a combination of both.
Project reporting is a way to target useful data, compare it with your metrics, 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
4. Organized And Centralized Project Data
With project management software, no matter what kind of project you’re working on, you can safely centralize project data. This results in an organized system of information that promotes transparency and adds collaboration functionality.
With a single source of truth, every team member can work on the right documents, make updates in real time, and rest assured that everyone else working on the project knows when changes have been made.
Say goodbye to digging through email threads and looking inside every folder for the missing piece of information all while trying to juggle your individual tasks.
5. Improved Remote Work
Now that all (well, the majority) of your data can be found 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 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.
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. This information, coupled with file sharing features, enables you and your team to make adjustments and strategize.
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 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 while reducing manual input errors.
PM software will often have various (easy!) ways to share key budgeting data with stakeholders: personalized dashboards, public/shareable URLs, and/or printable or exportable reports for dissemination by mail or email.
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.
8. Increased Process Standardization
As your team grows, your processes will become more sophisticated and anyone who wasn’t there as things developed may have a hard time catching up. With a project management software, there is no such thing as my way or their way, but the entire team’s way.
Sure, workflows and views are customizable but populating forms, naming conventions, and everything in between becomes standardized so that anytime you’re onboarding someone new to the team, the process is easily teachable.
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.
However, more advanced project management software can include features like customizable project request forms and process workflow automations, which are triggered when a particular action is performed (requesting a job or task, marking an item as complete, etc.).
These make sure the appropriate next step is taken, whether that means pinging a particular team member, updating dependent task deadlines, or requesting more information about a task.
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
- What is The Easiest Project Management Software To Use?
- What is Microsoft Project Management Software?
- Why is Project Management So Important to an Organization?
Tool Reviews and Suggestions
- Compare the 15 Best Project Management Software Of 2022
- 10 Best Project Management Software for Small Businesses
- 10 Best Enterprise Project Management Software of 2022
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.
Project management software is constantly improving and changing. And so are the various ways we use it as project managers and project teams. Sign up for The Digital Project Manager newsletter to keep up with thought leadership, industry trends, and cool news tidbits.