Complex business projects require smarter and more agile software solutions, hence the need for integrated project management platforms.
Every business consists of four fundamental components – people, assets, finance, and time. These collaborate to produce information that requires governance, hence the PAFTCIG model.
Time makes up one of the four fundamental components of every business. That time is money might be a cliché, but it is undeniably true in the context of doing business, especially in today’s fast-moving environment where customers demand instant gratification. Unfortunately, many business projects end up running overtime and, in the process, exceeding their budgets. Often project managers find themselves struggling to strike the optimal balance between satisfying the needs of stakeholders and the expectations of customers.
When it comes to project management, simple solutions like email and spreadsheets may be sufficient for very small projects involving several people in close collaboration. However, more complex projects, such as the development of a new product or a major marketing campaign, require modern solutions, especially when they involve distributed workforces and big supply chains. In these cases, those sticky notes aren’t going to cut it.
This is why any growing project team needs project management software.
What is project management software?
Project management encompasses a broad range of methodologies and processes, each of which come with their own benefits and drawbacks and work best in specific project types and industries. However, all project management software shares a few common goals, including the ability to track tasks throughout the project lifecycle, facilitate team collaboration, and give the right tasks to the right people.
Modern project management software typically builds on tried and tested methodologies, such as the Kanban scheduling system invented by Toyota in the 1940s. Other popular frameworks include industry-specific ones like Scrum for software development and Gantt bar charts for smaller projects of almost any kind. All these systems help teams keep on track by visualising workflows, establishing goals, meeting deadlines, and fostering collaboration.
Here are some ways project management software can help your team:
1. Establish clear goals and milestones
Every project begins by establishing a clear endpoint. However, for larger projects, it quickly becomes impractical to focus on this endpoint as a single, holistic entity. Instead, goals need to be broken down into more easily digestible chunks. This is especially the case for projects that span multiple teams and departments and areas of expertise. Project management tools make it easy to break down goals into individual tasks, milestones, or targets.
Project management system serves to keep teams focussed on the end goal without getting overwhelmed. For example, while goals are high-level containers, milestones may be broken down into individual targets, such as financial targets, tasks that need completing, or numbers that need to be met. Project management tools provide a visual overview of these operations so that every team member stays informed about where they are in a project.
2. Optimise allocation of people and resources
In some respects, the success of a project is determined before it even begins. This is why the initial planning stage is perhaps the most important of all. Whether you are working with Gantt charts, Kanban boards, or any other methodology, effective project management software helps you get started on the right track. Project planning involves creating timelines, establishing goals and distilling those goals down into specific milestones.
Project management software doesn’t just make it easier to plan and track projects. It can also optimise the allocation of people, assets, finance, and time (i.e. the fundamental components of business). After all, it is much easier to optimally allocate resources to a project when you have a clear picture of the workflow and the dependencies involved. This will help reduce the chances of projects going over budget or past their deadlines.
3. Foster better team collaboration
With many people working from home or on the move and businesses routinely working with teams all over the world, workforces have become more fragmented than ever before. While few would argue against the benefits of these distributed work models, there’s also no denying the unique challenges such an environment presents. Fortunately, project management tools can ensure everyone is on the same page.
Most project management software is browser-based, making it ideal for remote workers and distributed teams. Moreover, truly all-in-one solutions have collaboration features like instant messaging and video conferencing built in. Even if they don’t, they often integrate with popular platforms like Teams or Zoom. Other standard collaboration features include the ability to send links and files to other team members or attach them to tasks, schedule meetings, and share project status with clients and stakeholders.
4. Enjoy faster project cycle times
Even if there may be external factors beyond your control that could hinder project progress, the fact is that most delays are down to poor planning. While project management software is not going to turn you into a master project planner overnight, it makes it far easier to maintain consistency and transparency. Some project management tools also offer analytics functions to help you make informed decisions based on previous projects.
Just like any other digital solution, project management software generates data. Translating this data into actionable insights lets project planners and their teams continuously improve their processes by more accurately forecasting costs, resource consumption, and timeframes. These insights can directly result in faster cycle times, even during ongoing projects by optimising individual task management.
5. Reduce the risk of going over budget
Every project comes with its fair share of things that can go wrong, especially those that have multiple external dependencies. These may include delays from suppliers, team members off sick, and unexpected bottlenecks that can’t be accounted for beforehand. That said, there are many other risks that can be mitigated from the outset. Let’s also not forget the dreaded scope creep, for example, where requirements and deliverables increase unexpectedly as the project progresses.
All these factors up the risk of a project going over budget. Fortunately, project management tools help you identify such problems early on and, as well all know, early problem detection translates into better risk management. Some solutions also let you set work in progress (WIP) limits to discourage your team from overworking themselves to the point of making mistakes due to burnout. Combined with real-time reporting, project management software gives you everything you need to make sure your next big project goes as smoothly as possible.
C-TIME is a project-management solution that makes it easy for business leaders to plan and manage their projects for greater efficiency and optimal use of resources. It is a component of the ContinuSys integrated business management system. Sign up today to start your free trial.