When most people think of project management software, they think of a centralized to-do list that organizes tasks and responsibilities. However, project management is about so much more than just task management.
Project management includes overseeing the entire process of working a project through to completion. It includes important strategies such as resource management, predicting and tracking project budget amounts, managing client feedback and approval, and continually updating processes to optimize efficiency.
What are the Best Project Management Software Features?
When analyzing which project management software features best fit your needs, it can help to start with a brainstorm of your project management tasks. What steps do you take to take a project from start to completion? Consider, feasibly, which of these tasks can be integrated into a single platform to save time, minimize double entry, and maximize reporting and business intelligence.
Resource Planning & Scheduling
One of the most important features a project management software adds to your resource planning is strategy and business intelligence. Your project management software should help you allocate the right resources to a project within scheduling and budgetary constraints.
Some project management software, such as Mavenlink, even allow you to build different project scenarios to compare margins, staffing options, and projected timelines before making final resource allocation decisions.
Agile Project Change Management
If something in the project changes, how many places will you need to go to accommodate the change?
Many projects do not go as planned. An ideal project management software will have features that allow you not only to make adjustments to resources as needed, but also to do so without negatively impacting other projects.
Look for a project management software that keeps resource management and project management aligned and simple. This helps you reference current thresholds and reallocate resources when needed without over scheduling or negatively affect workflow.
In most industries, the same or similar projects may be repeated over multiple customers. Since a project management software’s main job is to maximize resources while minimizing unnecessary work, your project management software should be able to replicate project plans for you.
Look for a project management software that allows you to turn your most successful projects into reusable templates. This saves time in setting up new projects while replicating a path to success.
Portfolio Analysis Platform
Make sure your project management tool has an easy and concise way to see the health of all of your projects at a glance. This view can be one of the most beneficial reports for managers and project managers to keep a pulse on your project pipeline.
File sharing is becoming more and more common among project management solutions. This is because it eliminates the back-and-forth emails and attachments that can complicate a project. File sharing within your project management platform should keep files attached to the appropriate projects and conversations.
Centralized communication in your project management tool means no more searching through emails or notes to stay on the same page on a project or task.
Feedback Collaboration & Proofing
Most projects require feedback and approval from multiple parties. However, managing these conversations and versions can be muddied quickly through traditional email file sharing and collaboration.
A feedback or collaboration platform within a project management software can be huge in saving time and confusion during the collaboration and proofing process. Some project management software even offers an in-tool markup system to share feedback quickly and easily.
In-Depth Forecasting & Reporting
Your project management software should not only provide data on how well a resource or project is performing, but also provide data that helps you make better business decisions on future projects. Look for a software that allows you to see how efficiently resources are being utilized, forecast future performance trends based on existing data, and analyze which resources are performing with the greatest - or least - profitability.
A project management software that provides detailed reports with useful data can elevate the business intelligence in your PMO.
Which Features Should You Choose for your Project Management Software?
When we talk to organizations about picking the right software for their company, we tell them to first start with their current project management needs. What features will provide the greatest ROI in the form of increased efficiency, improved margins, and better resource allocation?
Then, we tell them forecast needs two to three years in the future. What type of growth do you expect over the next several years, and how do you expect that will influence your project management needs?
Need help knowing what to look for?
We’re happy to help! Contact our project management experts today to discuss your project management needs.