7 Ways Online Project Management Software Helps Build Your Business
As many of you are probably discovering, project management software is used for a lot more than maintaining a project Gantt chart these days. When you implement a cloud-based project management tool while building a business, you gain a competitive advantage and prevent some costly internal business lessons. This is because the right PM tool helps you harness crucial data and information, while allowing teams to collaborate seamlessly while working toward a shared goal.
Here are seven ways online project management software helps build a business:
1. Establishes a real-time comprehensive view over projects
Many online project management tools offer your team views into comprehensive information about their active projects. For example, managers might have access to see the entire project schedule and all of their team members’ tasks; while team members might just see their own project tasks, deadlines, and all other related information and tasks that pertain to them. Some companies give the entire team access to all project work with limited restrictions (e.g., analytics, budgets).
Introducing a project management tool that the entire team can use eliminates the need for aged (and yes, annoying) management methods like walking around and asking for updates, and using time-consuming spreadsheets. Now, managers and team members have access to real-time information on project level issues including schedule slips, budget issues and resource over allocation.
To get the full benefit of using a PM tool, make sure your team actively manages their project information and keeps the plan updated on a regular basis.
2. Helps prioritize the right projects
During the course of a building a successful organization, it’s too easy to take on every project offered, even when you have scarce resources. Sound familiar? Project management software can help managers prioritize the right projects, in order to make the best use of their resources in a way that will contribute the most to the bottom line and profitability of the business.
It’s one thing to say “No” to billable work in a tight economy. The information contained in your PM software tool can provide the business and financial data to back up that “No” with company owners and executive management.
3. Establishes reliable time keeping and budgeting
Too often, businesses stumble when it comes to employee time-keeping and project budgeting. Implementing work management software can be your first step to establishing reliable time keeping and budget controls for projects.
Reliable time tracking and budgeting shows teams what kind of resources are needed over time to complete scopes of work. This data helps managers know the kind of projects that most benefit their business, along with when to say “No” to work they can’t afford to take on—and when to say “Yes” to the best offers.
Later on, as a more robust corporate financial system comes online, that same project management software can integrate with the financial system by using an application programming interface (API).
4. Provides the framework to replicate similar projects and planning processes
It usually takes a bit of chaos in the growing stages of a company to before teams begin to formalize their project management processes. Soon enough, most of us learn the necessity and efficiency of identifying where we can duplicate project and planning processes as the business and client-reporting requirements grow.
The customizability of online project management software means a growing business can create a PM framework that meets their requirements. As the business grows, changes can be made to that framework as necessary.
5. Gives the project team a voice
A growing business needs to draw on the experience and wisdom of the team early on. This often means encouraging participation from junior staff up to executives. Now that social features, like commenting, are being integrated into project planning software, teams can engage in threaded discussions around tasks and schedules.
Social tools as part of a PM platform act as a secure project communications channel that gives even junior and mid-level employees a voice into a project’s direction. This voice can help build a business because it draws on the intelligence and insight of the whole team and not just the project manager.
On an operational level, giving members of your growing business access to these tools means fewer meetings and less email—all the while centralizing project status updates and communications for later reference, reporting and analysis.
6. Centralizes and organizes document collaboration
“Where did you put that document again?” is a common war cry heard in many types of teams who haven’t established a doc-sharing process. If you’ve been there, you know how painful it is.
Centralized collaboration means doing away with employee’s “secret stashes” of documents on their local hard drive, personal cloud storage, or at the bottom of their email inbox. Better yet, it spares you from the professional embarrassment that comes from sending a client or partner the wrong version of an important project document.
7. Integrates project management and delivery into the sales cycle
Getting control over a sales cycle is imperative for growing businesses. Unfortunately, such control may take months if not years of trial and error by management, the sales team and various other departments.
Integrating cloud-based management software into Salesforce or your own customer relationship management system (CRM) via an API enables the flow of project and customer data between sales and the delivery team.
An effective PM tool helps the sales team by giving them greater visibility into the status of the projects they’re selling customers. This visibility translates into a differentiator for businesses with sales people that can use this information to communicate with customers throughout the sales and delivery cycle.
Give your business a great foundation
Rolling out project management software when you’re striving to build a successful business creates a foundation for core business operations. This gives your managers and teams actionable information they can use to outmaneuver competitors and grow the business into a thriving success.
How has project management software helped you build your business?
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer based in the Washington, D.C. area. After having to learn Microsoft Project early in his career, he developed an interest in writing about project management applications. You can visit Will’s website at http://www.willkelly.com and follow him on Twitter: @willkelly.