Project management software has improved the life of project managers, employees, and even clients in a number of different ways. With features that allow managers to create projects, tasks, and sub-tasks, built-in forms of communication, and reporting and analytics, almost any team can instantly boost their productivity.
That said, project management software isn’t a guarantee of improvement—and if you aren’t using the platform properly, it could even hurt your performance. For most teams, a handful of simple strategies are all it takes to improve your use of project management software.
How to Improve Your Use of Project Management Software
Follow these tips if you want to get more out of your project management software:
1. Choose the right project management software. First, make sure you choose the best project management software for your team. There are hundreds, if not thousands of project management apps available, but they’re not all created equal. Even though they may share many features, some have more intuitive layouts or core features. Some have better mobile apps, while others have better desktop functionality. Some are specifically designed for your industry, while others are more general purpose. Spend some time reviewing the best apps available on the market, undertaking free trials when you can, and make the best selection for your team.
2. Incorporate employee training. Just because your project management platform is intuitive doesn’t mean your employees will immediately understand how it works. Incorporate some kind of training program to ensure your employees will use the project management platform as intended. Your platform may offer built-in videos and tutorials employees can complete to become more familiar with the app, so take advantage of them.
3. Document the proper protocols. Training will ensure your employees get started with the right approach, but over time, they may drift from your chosen workflows. It’s important to document the proper protocols for using the app with a standard operating procedure (SOP); that way, employees can reference the document in the future if they have questions or if they want to evaluate their performance. For example, you can clarify which roles are responsible for which actions, and the proper formatting of new projects and tasks.
4. Use the platform consistently. Speaking of formatting, it’s vital to ensure that all members of your team are using the platform in a consistent way. There are many levels to consider here. For example, you’ll want to make sure your project naming conventions, task titles, deadline assignments, and other choices are all made according to the same guidelines. If everyone adds their own personal touches and drifts from the core standard, the system will quickly become chaotic.
5. Use other communication channels when appropriate. Most modern project management platforms have built-in modes of communication available for teams, including a thread-based discussion section for each task and project, and channels for instant messaging. However, these channels aren’t appropriate for all conversations. Make sure you’re also utilizing channels like email, phone calls, and video conferences when necessary.
6. Pay attention to updates and new features. Enable auto-updating features in your project management app if available. If not available, or if you’d prefer to issue updates manually, make sure you update your app regularly. Updating consistently is important to maintain your security, and it will also grant you faster access to new features. Project management platform developers are always looking to improve their users’ quality of life with better functionality and new options; be sure to review them as they become available, as they have the possibility to greatly improve your workflows.
7. Experiment. While it’s important to remain consistent with your execution of project management workflows, it’s also important to occasionally experiment with new directives and new protocols. If you remain complacent with an inefficient strategy, you may suffer from productivity loss without even knowing it. Experimenting forces you to break out of your normal habits, and could introduce you to new concepts or new approaches that revolutionize your work.
8. Measure your results. Finally, make sure you measure your results. Most project management platforms have built-in ways to measure employee performance, such as time spent on tasks or the number of tasks closed. These metrics can help you gauge the productivity of your team, so keep an eye on them as you tinker with your project management approach.
The Importance of Feedback and Flexibility
It’s also a good idea to gather feedback from your team as you’re using the project management software. Which features seem most useful? Which ones aren’t helpful? Are there processes or workflows that could be improved? Take the time to interview your employees and don’t hesitate to update your approach.