If you use project management software and think of it as just that tool you use to do your planning, then you’re really missing out. Because this everyday tool can enhance your career in a number of ways.
Yes, project management software is something you use to create a schedule; it helps you get your project delivered on time, and we won’t lose sight of that. But if you have a good tool—a really good tool—it can provide the kind of support that helps your career development in ways you might have never considered.
These days, collaborative project management tools are increasingly part of the workplace set up. You get to work, log in to your platform, see all your tasks, check in with the team and start working through your list of tasks. But when you’ve got the right technology behind you, work is . . . easier. The right technology is supportive in the way it helps you do your job better. The result: Your career thrives. Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Here are 10 ways your career benefits from using better software.
1. Better performance
Let’s get the obvious one out the way first. When your project management tool does its job really well, you’re able to do your job more effectively. No more worrying about which risk you should be focusing on first because the reports and dashboards show you. Changed a task? Auto-schedule everything else based on predictive and dynamic calculations. Would you rather be editing a long list of dates in Excel? Thought not.
2. More confidence
When you’ve got the right tech behind you, you can have confidence in your schedule. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me that they aren’t really sure that they have a grip on their project.
Your confidence grows when you believe what you are seeing because it’s based on real-time, trustworthy and transparent data. You’ll notice that extra confidence rubbing off in other areas too, like giving presentations, speaking up in meetings or taking on new assignments.
3. Improved stakeholder relations
No more flimsy reports that are open to interpretation. The right project management software lets your clients and team see exactly what is going on—with the schedule, your resources, how added feature requests are affecting the plan and more. This results in deeper, more trusted relationships with stakeholders who are more likely to support you and the project when you hit an issue. I’ve seen this in practice with IT projects that I’ve worked on when we’ve hit roadblocks. It’s the stakeholders with whom I have built solid relationships who rally and help us get over the problems as a team.
In career terms, better relationships and more trust all round means more doors opening to you because people want to work with people they trust.
4. Better decision-making
Research by ANA shows that more than a third of companies are not using data to make decisions, and almost half say they haven’t got tools in place to get the data anyway. That study focused on marketing teams, but from conversations I have had with technology teams, it’s fair to say other departments suffer in the same way.
Better data equals better decisions. Better decisions are better for your project. And the decisions you make over time can define your career. One poor decision can break a promising trajectory in the organization.
5. Fewer admin duties
When I talk to project managers about what they like least about their jobs it usually comes down to the admin parts of the job. Now, if by “admin” you mean project documentation, that’s something you can’t escape.
But I certainly agree that many IT project managers who have moved up in their careers have too much value to add to key business and product areas (and are often quite expensive assets for a company, if we want to talk in cash terms) to be spending time chasing down document approvals. What if you could click a button and instantly see what each person was working on, instead of having to call them or organize meetings? Oh wait, the right PM tool can actually do that for you.
Great software automates and assists you in your day job, giving you more time to do what really matters: building relationships, dealing with uncertainty and being a fantastic leader.
6. Champion profile
Want to get noticed? Volunteer to be the office software champion. As an advocate and expert of a specific platform, you’ll become the go-to person for questions and training, and the most popular person in the office if you can make your tools do what the management team need.
7. Mentor others
As your team grows, new members will need to know how the company works and what is expected of them. You can mentor individuals by helping them use your PM software, and showing them how the team works together through the planning platform and more.
Plus, if you’re able to demonstrate that you know how to work with others in a leadership role, you can leapfrog those who can’t.
8. Sharpened skills
Software should support your professional judgment and help you be strong in areas where you might not necessarily have the skills or interest. For me, that’s risk management. The right software tools can flag where your tech projects are going awry, help prioritize the mitigating actions and generally keep you on top of it.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’ve learned new skills about managing risk because the software has helped me do so. When the features are baked in, you can use new techniques and tools easily to the point that they become the way you do things by default.
9. Less stressed
I’m not afraid to admit it: I am often out of my comfort zone at work, and am very happy to take all the help I can get to minimize my stress levels! Knowing that my project management tools have got my back takes some of the drama out of the working day. I know how my resources are allocated, where my schedule stands, what’s expected next, where the risks are lurking well ahead of time. Everything I need is at my fingertips.
10. A careening career
Put this all together and what have you got? A stellar career! More confidence, better skills, better relationships with your team, peers and managers, and opportunities to grow. You see, project management software can be more than just a side tool that you log in to every day for a task list.
A really good tool is like your personal administrative assistant. It takes away the load, leaving you free to do what you do best: leading your team and your projects to successful results and delivering a ton of value for your clients and stakeholders.
Are you using a project management tool that can amplify your career? We have a way for you to find out: The Project Management Health Check. It’s a 9-question assessment that will show areas of improvement. Ready?