Businesses, large and small, unquestionably juggle numerous projects, plans, tasks and people. Having a solution can help them keep everything organized while planning and running projects, in a way that is accurate, predictable, and profitable.
The benefits of project management software are boundless. Not long ago, project management software was symbolized by three things: a pencil, a sheet of paper, and a methodology.
However, time marches on and technology evolves. Essentially, project management software programs are employed for project planning, time management, resource allocation, and for change management. Project management software is among the most useful tools that can help companies in becoming as competitive as possible, and set you apart from the rest of the industry.
Essential Project Management Functions
- Project Planning – Be able to easily plan projects while taking previous track record into account.
- Tracking project evolution when it comes to completion, time and costs – Warn the right people when things are veering off track.
- Scheduling and Time Management – Be able to easily register time on work items and take people's work schedule into account.
- Resource allocation – Making sure that people are working on the right things at the right time.
- Project budgets, incl. costs of people – Keeping real-time check of not only time but also allotted budget.
- Communication and Collaboration – Easily post comments and concerns, communicate with external stakeholders, all while keeping a full historic record of all actions.
- Documentation & Files – Easily document requirements, specs, directly or via files.
- Easy to use – The software should be an enabler and not get in the way of actual work.
- No need for a specific method – Support the company's preferred method of breaking down any project, making schedules, allocating people and managing budgets.
You will find a multitude of project management software programs and online collaboration tools available. Most often they all share common benefits companies can appreciate.
8 Benefits of Project Management Software
The primary purpose of project management software is to assist project managers as they zip through different project stages. In this respect, full-suite platforms have numerous advantages. Uniting project planning, resource management, team collaboration, finance and billing, time tracking and reporting, you can manage projects from quote to invoice. Here's the video explaining the benefits and a walkthrough of each benefit individually:
1. Effortless project planning
If enterprises have learned anything from years of managing projects, it’s that most of the time spent project planning goes to waste. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Project management software has moved forward to get you accurate AI predictions of when projects can be completed, capturing constraints like cost, scope, and schedule.
The key benefit of advanced project management solutions is automation when it comes to project planning and scheduling. Such platforms not only help project experts establish a solid foundation for their projects, providing tools to scope out the milestones, key deliverables, and roles before executing. They’ll keep plans up to date and help to track progress against your baseline.
Ten years ago, we could only dream about cutting down on planning overhead. Now, project management software can take the guesswork out of estimations and automatically allocate the best resources available. Learn about what intelligent work automation can do for your projects here.
2. Balanced resource management
Seasoned project managers know that to deliver projects successfully, they’ll need an effective resource management strategy to keep their teams in a tip-top shape without overbooking them with work or vice versa. The importance of resource planning should not be underestimated, as it encourages healthier standards of work. Project and resource management tools have the best features to spot resource bottlenecks and insights when to bring more people onto the team, like the following heatmap that provides visibility into the workloads of the entire portfolio of resources.
Resource management is crucial at professional services companies that manage multiple projects. "As an agency, we are always working on multiple projects at once," writes Elena Valenzuela-Stookey, a Development Coordinator at BRIGADE, an outstanding creative agency. With real-time resource management, she points out, it's much easier to keep tabs on everyone's workload:
We’re constantly making sure that a project’s timeline and resources are not conflicting with another project’s needs. You can imagine that our calendars start to feel a little bit like a game of tetris. That’s why it was so important to us that our project management software provides real-time resource management—allowing us to update project plans quickly when a deadline moves up, the scope changes, or another team member frees up and can suddenly pitch in. - Elena Valenzuela-Stookey
3. Pipeline forecasting
So more often than not, the role of a project manager implies managing multiple projects. It’s a given that by taking in more initiatives and leading them in parallel, companies become more competitive and profitable. However, what often comes together with multi-project management is the lack of visibility into how multiple project progress and resources are allocated. Project management software provides everyone with an overview of finished, running, and planned projects, so all kinds of bottlenecks can be prevented before they lead to a disaster.
4. Improved team collaboration
In addition to various resource management benefits, project management solutions are designed with a purpose to improve team collaboration. People frequently designate individual tasks which are part of a bigger project the whole team is trying to complete. Project management software gives employees a method to collaborate on projects by discussing tasks, timelines, dependencies, outstanding work, etc.
Using project management software with Kanban boards or Sprints, you keep everyone in the loop and make sure the project team knows what to work on and has task lists with priorities front and center. This way, you not only stay aligned with the team, but also reduce re-work and create focus on continuous and fast-paced delivery of services.
5. Real-time project budget management
Budgets are among one of the most important items in controlling your projects. The way forward for any business depends on how well you can deliver within the budget provided. Project management software helps control the budget from the initial statement of work to the final delivery.
With Forecast, for instance, you get the financial picture of each project across key financial metrics, being able to track planned vs. actual spend and spot where you’re earning or burning money. Learn more about this side of the platform here.
6. Solid up-to-the-minute reporting
To attain long-term success for just about any business, monitoring the progress of work is essential. Dedicated software plays an important role in monitoring the stages of projects and can provide insights into whether things will complete on time or not. This is achieved through daily time registrations that feed directly into the reporting mechanism. Project management software solutions can then assist you in making the right decisions as you have all the details in one designated place.
Hence the decision process is enhanced and much more accurate. If you ask me, it's better to choose a platform that covers reporting on a portfolio level, but also allows you to chronicle, customize, and share more digestible pieces of insights.
7. Effective internal & external communication
Project Management software develops a funnel for communication concerning tasks and projects both internally for the team and externally for your clients and other stakeholders. Document sharing, whether inside the tool or in an integrated 3rd party system, for instance, enables people to find comprehensive information that enables transparency and communication.
In addition to internal communication, companies should also be able to talk to and collaborate with clients and suppliers from the same place. Using project management software, they can offer their clients the ability to log in and view only project data relevant specifically to them. This way clients can provide direct feedback, make edits, and review project progress in the same place.
8. Enhanced customer satisfaction
Another frequently cited benefit of project management software is enhanced customer satisfaction. When you get a project done promptly and under budget, the client walks away with a smile on their face - and a satisfied customer is one you will see again. Smart project management software offers the tools which allow this customer/supplier relationship to carry on. By applying fundamental project management software strategies, you'll narrow your focus, achieve your goals, and improve your deliverability and rate of success.
Put together, all these benefits can overhaul business operations massively. Without the benefits of project management software, project-centric companies will always struggle to meet three constraints - budget, scope, and quality - simultaneously.
Start a free trial of Forecast to experience all the benefits of project management and professional service automation software.