Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 2

To grow a business you need to hone productivity and maximise sales processes. Tech Tools provide efficient ways to raise profile, win customers, organise staff, and protect your company.

Use our blog to discover how tech tools can assist business growth, and learn the benefits and drawbacks involved.

Part 2: Project Management Software

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Project Management Software (PM software), is dedicated to keeping projects on budget, scope, and time, by systemising communication and productivity.

Features include:

  • file sharing
  • database-management
  • time tracking
  • email integration
  • task scheduling
  • activity interdependence definition
  • Gantt charts
  • reporting tools
  • resource and budget management
If you are struggling to manage business projects via e-mail, PM Software is the answer.

Advantages

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– improves overall team communication, final project quality, and customer satisfaction

– creates deliverables on-budget and on-time

– provides linked package functions and pre-designed report templates

– every task is assigned to a specific person with a deadline. Team members can see who is responsible, if they will complete on time, and be alerted in advance to possible delays

– visibility on each person’s tasks allows redistribution if over- or under-worked

– replaces e-mail and multiple document versions with online, real-time collaboration on tasks

– team members access and store project assets and information through the mobile PM app

– helps resolve problems, such as slipped deadlines, by automatically rescheduling tasks

–  tracks time spent on projects and integrates with billing systems

– allows fast identification of issues, and tracking of their fixing and testing

– produces analytical reports describing and visualising data and results

Disadvantages

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– strict project management guidelines may discourage creativity and innovation

– team members may lose sight of ‘the big picture’ and focus solely on deadlines

– time taken for employees to learn and accept the software

For more information seehttps://www.capterra.com/project-management-software/faq/#faq-1

Choosing A Project Management System – Considerations

Functionality

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It’s important to find the project management tool that best fits your business.

Work out who will use it and what the business needs are, to identify essential features and interfaces.

PM Software gives an overview of current projects plus detailed information on work underway to progress them.

Reporting features vary – most provide budget and resource (workers, materials, money) management, some offer, for example, time tracking and status reports.

People involved in a project use the PM app to see their designated tasks, update their progress, enter time spent and share documents.

Check the software integrates with your existing systems where necessary, for example, in recording labour hours and expenses, messaging, and task setting, and that is is as customisable and intuitive as needed.

Many PM solutions include storage space for uploading files into the workspace for team viewing and discussion.

They often have an option to connect to third-party online storage services, such as Box, Google Drive, or OneDrive, so files can be linked or uploaded from them.

Consider choosing software used by clients and companies you work with, to co-ordinate easily with them, saving time and money.

Ease of Use

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PM Software can have impressive features and capabilities, but these might over-complicate basic functions like adding and updating tasks, which may reduce team compliance and increase costs.

Use free trials to test usability – get team feedback on preferences, problems and work impact.

The benefit of a good PM system is that your team logs into one workspace and has everything at hand to get work done.

This might include a prioritised to-do list, all necessary assets, colleague notes, a calendar of deadlines, live-chat, integrated or connected communications, a place to find answers, and billing tools.

Design an implementation plan to help team members learn and use the new PM application in their daily workflow.

Costs

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Providers usually charge either a flat monthly rate or a rate per user. Generally teams with over 10 people will save by choosing a flat rate plan.

Most offer a substantial discount for committing to a full year rather than paying monthly.

Often platforms aimed at small businesses will charge a flat monthly rate, whilst those that prefer larger enterprises typically have a per-user-per-month fee structure.

Additionally, PM platforms with many permissions levels – such as for executives, portfolio managers, project managers, and team members – suggest they are aimed at larger companies.

Complexity of features, number of users and storage space will determine price.

Some PM systems have free versions, which limit the number of projects managed, features and storage space available. For example, Teamwork Projects, Zoho Projects and TeamGantt.

Security

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Access to web-based PM software is through the internet, with data stored via remote hardware. Installed PM software is stored to local computers and servers.

Risk management involves the identification, evaluation, and mitigation of risks, and is often included in PM solutions, specifically focused on risks to a project.

Separate risk management software covers full company risk assessment and implementation.

Similar Software That Overlaps with PM Systems

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Workflow Management Software

Projects are a specific type of work with a start date, end date, and deliverables – as opposed to ongoing work with no clear beginning or end date, and recurring tasks, such as answering calls or fixing glitches.

Workflow management software assists ongoing work, and is more flexible and less prescribed than PM software.

It is sometimes treated as a standalone tool, and other times incorporated into PM apps, for example, Asana.

Or it may have PM apps within it. Workfront and Podio allow the addition of workflow management tools.
Kanban

Kanban is a type of workflow management system.

Traditional Kanban systems use cards along boards, labelling the task a card represents, the work needed on it, and when it is due.

Cards travel along the board from “to do,” “doing,” and “done.” Kanban software digitizes the process for ease of use and collaboration.

Kanban apps are used by software development teams.They visually display and help control the amount of new work taken on before current work is completed, to avoid overload.

Gantt Chart PM Software

Gantt chart project management software is used to make bar charts that visually display work to be done in a designated time, critical paths, task relationships, progress, and baselines to track deviations.

Look for software with extra features such as project planning, collaboration and resource management.

Task Management Software

Project management apps do include task management features in them, but standalone task management apps are available if sufficient to requirements.

Apps allow assignment of tasks to individuals, adding descriptions, deadlines, and attached documents to each, but not necessarily as part of a larger project.

Task-management apps work well for ongoing work.

Collaboration Software

Collaboration software is different from true project management software, which is more specific.

Collaboration software has many different apps and services, from video conference calls to letting two people type on a document at the same time.

Modern PM services often include native communication and collaboration tools, and may allow connection to collaboration apps your team already uses, such as Slack or Google Docs.

Project Portfolio Management Software

Project portfolio management focuses on the big picture – projects are grouped together into portfolios, for example, by company, department, or sector.

Whereas PM software supports individual projects but doesn’t provide an overview of all projects.

They may share similar features, such as collaboration, budget and task management.

For further information see https://www.dummies.com/careers/project-management/how-to-choose-project-management-software/

Examples of PM Software

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Popular PM software, reviewed by reviews.compcmag.com and financesonline.com include:

1. Zoho Projects

A straightforward interface, excellent features, and plenty of support for integrating other tools.

Easy setup and use. Responsive. Good value.

2. LiquidPlanner

Rich tracking and resource management. Unique dynamic features. Drag-and-drop simplicity. Responsive site.

Though expensive, one of the best work-management tools.

3. Wrike

Quick setup. Supports an unlimited number of projects. Includes time tracking. Offers customizable dashboards and reports.

Provides plenty of ways to integrate with other apps and services. User-friendly.

4. Teamwork

Extensive features and intuitive interfaces, ones of the best services for managing projects.

Simple and intuitive design. Integrated calendar. Free account available. Great customisation options.

5. Workfront

High-end Enterprise project management, and ongoing work tools, in one highly customisable service.

Feature-rich. Supports different permissions levels. Open API.

6. Clarizen

Best suited for Enterprise organizations. Though easy to start using, expensive and less slick than other options.

Comprehensive work management and project management (PM) platform. Easy to navigate. Quick setup. Open APIs.

7. Celoxis

Easy to learn and cleanly designed, with a wide range of features for tracking tasks, financial resources, and time.

Customisable dashboard. Good tools for generating reporting. Can track human and financial resources. Task timer included.

8. TeamGantt

Highly intuitive for beginners, good for small businesses.

Easy way to get into Gantt charts, quality tutorials. Reasonable price.

9. ProofHub

Aims for simplicity without skimping on major features. Offering excellent tools at a competitive price, excellent for small businesses.

Clear interface. Quick and easy setup. Nice balance of features and simplicity. Competitively priced.

10. Microsoft Project

Takes specific conditions to be a team’s best option, but then a powerful tool.

Detailed options for managing resources. Customizable reports.

Confusing to buy, learn, and use. Doesn’t integrate with many apps outside Microsoft. Pricier than competitors.

11. Basecamp

Doesn’t have a full suite of scheduling and task management tools, but great for managers wanting one place to track all team ongoing discussions.

Lacks reporting tools. Flat monthly price. Stellar apps, well-designed and intuitive.

12. Project Manager

Designed to provide efficiency in project planning, budgeting, scheduling, execution, and reporting.

Provides effective tools for project planning, monitoring, and reporting, plus many advanced add-on features.

13. Meister Task

Aims to help project managers gain complete control of tasks and projects.

Customisable project boards for team agreement of progress, adjusts tasks to workflow, helps decide priority of tasks.

Everything done is saved in the activity stream to allow easy tracking. Can be integrated with most common apps like Zendesk, Dropbox, and GitHub.

14. Asana

Impressive number of tools and third-party integrations. Best at keeping teams on track and in-step through every phase of a project.

Most intuitive task management system and mobile app. Comprehensive reporting tools. Best third-party integrations, such as Slack and Hipchat, Google Drive and OneDrive, and Jira and GitHub.

Steeper learning curve, but enormous library of resources and tutorials.

15. monday.com

A library of easy-to-use templates to get started, personalised design, very intuitive, customisable.

Shareable with outside clients,easy collaboration and external app integration.

Limited tools, expensive for small teams.

16. Casual

Visually pleasing “mindmap” interface, storage compatibility such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box built in, affordable pricing for small teams, intuitive.

Lacks functionality for bigger teams, less communication and development third-party integrations, subpar mobile app.

17. Trello

Best for individuals or small teams, most generous free version with unlimited users, projects, and tasks.

Easy to learn, highly rated desktop and mobile apps, customisable.

No calendar view, 10MB upload file limit on free version, limited integrations except cloud storage services.

For the full, detailed PM Software reviews see:

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