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Why Is Project Management Software Useful: Benefits, Importance and Features

Why is project management software useful?
Project management software is useful because it helps you keep track of tasks and see them against the backdrop of the entire project. You will better be able to see how they relate to the bigger picture and how they affect other tasks that have yet to be done, become a work in progress, or completed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to work online. Digital remote work tools make this possible—and one of the top tools that companies are using for this is a project management software solution. This kind of SaaS product does not only help users manage tasks and be on the same page, but they also provide shared storage and collaboration tools.

If you are new to this tool, you can check out our project management software guide for a more comprehensive look. However, if you are just looking for a quick outline of its primary uses and some software examples, you have come to the right place.

uses of project management software

Project management (PM) software tools are not new to companies that value digital transformation. However, recent project management statistics show that only 23% of organizations use PM software. And 35% of project managers are still using MS Excel to build resource plans.

Because of non-adoption, 54% of project managers do not have access to project KPIs in real-time. Thus, they are not as quick as they can be when addressing challenges. It was found that if management takes five hours or longer to make decisions, the failure rate is 22%. Also, the likelihood of unsatisfactorily-finished projects is 53%.

And, there is no better decision than a data-driven decision, especially in the very dynamic market of today.

It is also not just a coincidence that 77% of high-performing projects are powered by PM software. This is because PM software allows users to account for four main elements together when making decisions.

Why is Project Management Software Useful

In-Sync: The Four Main Elements

  1. Scope. In essence, it refers to the project size, goal(s), and requirements. It’s the connection between the goals to be accomplished and the budget allocated to reach those goals. If there are any changes committed in the scope, it’s imperative to reflect them in the other components as well, especially when it comes to time, budget, and resources
  2. Resources. It has three aspects: people, material, and equipment. First, it’s important to ensure that the right number of people is assigned to a project, and they carry the appropriate skills and knowledge to facilitate doing and completing their tasks. Next, procuring the right materials and equipment, at the right place and time, is crucial for your team to operate efficiently.
  3. Time. When doing a project, time management is a crucial aspect. Each task must be listed (others may overlap while others must be in chronological order), scheduled with a set duration, and allocated with the right resources. Managing critical paths (tasks with zero float or no flexibility) is one of the most challenging aspects of this scope.
  4. Money. All tasks come with a certain cost that must be estimated and totaled. However, not all estimates are as accurate as others; that’s why there is a “contingency allowance” set aside in case a task goes over the estimated budget. Another important aspect is the profit or the amount of money that a company wants a project to earn.

Important Uses of Project Management Software

Businesses that are not yet utilizing a PM software are likely to do more work while gaining less profit because of the time wasted on juggling little tasks. If these tasks are taken care of efficiently, you and your team will have more time to focus on core operations to complete your project. There are various types of software packages to choose from based on your business requirements. For reference, you may take a look at these project management software rankings. Here are the reasons why project management software is useful for business of any size:

1. Collaboration

When managing a large project, each member is assigned an individual task in the team. To make sure everyone is on the same page, a project management solution simplifies team collaboration. When a member has inquiries or concerns, he/she can immediately get the right response through communicating with the team internally—with the right people in the right project—without looking for other sources. This reduces time lost from searching for answers. It also optimizes the sharing of documents, timelines, and status updates to notify everyone of important information, such as how much work is done and how much is left to be finished.

Sample Features:

  1. File sharing. This allows quick sharing of files, calendars, and contact lists where every team member, as long as they’re given the access, can add information to the system. Quick access is also enabled for members to obtain data anytime and anywhere.
  2. Team communication. Some PM tools have a built-in messenger app so members can communicate with each other easily, allowing for timely responses to urgent inquiries.
  3. Customer data sharing. Having customer profiles is essential because it lets you quickly add their contact information and link invoices and projects. When you need to organize them, you can easily do so by categorizing them by, for example, due invoices.
  4. Team dashboard. Dashboards are an overview of your team’s activities and project progress. You can add graphs, visual metrics, and charts to it to help you get a summary of the projects you are involved in.

2. Scheduling and Planning

Without a system in place, it can be difficult for your team to stay within schedule because of the lack of a set guideline on what should be accomplished by who and when. Time is lost when employees report to work without knowing the tasks they should be doing. This often affects one’s productivity. Utilizing the software outlines tasks and makes them visible. Setting deadlines and priorities, along with scheduling, prevents misunderstandings and overlapping of tasks and schedules.

Sample Features:

  1. Task priority. This makes rescheduling easier by using scheduled time slots, so priority tasks are accomplished first without having to reschedule the entire project plan.
  2. Shared team calendar. Choosing one that syncs with other calendars is vital to notify everyone in your team of assigned tasks, deadlines, and meetings. It also provides an overview of milestones by sending due dates to your team.
  3. Time slot. An overview of each member’s booked tasks and hours. This helps you quickly see to whom you should delegate the next task, which is an essential purpose of project management software to expedite the process of assigning tasks.

3. Resource Management

Resource management is another reason why project management software is useful. Aside from your team, managing your resources is important to ensure proper operation so as not to waste everyone’s time. Knowing the materials, you’ll have to use in a project lets you work on it without hitches caused by a missing tool or equipment. It is a feature that outlines the resources that will be used and when they’ll be used. It also calculates the cost of its usage accordingly. Why is this helpful? It lets you avoid lacking resources and over-using them to reduce expenses by ensuring you will only pay for them when you actually use them.

4. Budget Management

Each project comes with a cost that is included in a budget, along with contingencies and profit. A project manager’s goal is to keep the actual cost below, or at least at the estimated cost to maximize the profit earned by the company from the project. To manage expenses efficiently, simply creating an Excel spreadsheet won’t do the job.

Sample Features:

  1. Time tracking. Documenting the time spent on tasks automates the invoicing process. This is also essential for monitoring billable and non-billable time.
  2. Budget report. It gives you monthly and weekly reports on expenditures, expenses, and totals so you can track your budget performance and immediately see if you go over the budget.
  3. Budget dashboard. A financial reporting dashboard consists of KPIs, graphs, and charts to display the progress of your project. This can also be shared with other members by giving them access.
  4. Automated invoicing. Since invoicing is time-consuming, this feature sets up email reminders for due invoices. This also helps you compile them and forward the bills with a few clicks to save more time.

5. Documentation

Many businesses use spreadsheets, while others still use pen and paper to keep track of their team project’s progress. However, having this type of arrangement exposes you to potential errors. In fact, 88% of spreadsheet data contains errors that are alarming for organizations that use it as the go-to tool for handling business operations and implementing financial analysis. Using a PM software guarantees accurate data-based documentation.

Sample Features:

  1. Central data storage. It stores all data—including expenses, bills forwarded to clients, project resources, previous and upcoming calendar events, customer information, and planned and completed tasks—all in one place for easy retrieval and viewing.
  2. Quick access. This eliminates the need for switching between multiple spreadsheets, and you can share it with the rest of your team with a few clicks.
  3. Reporting. KPI dashboard and insight report is vital to monitor the project’s progress and identify any problems to immediately find a solution. The data also includes key metrics such as complete task percentage, schedule variance, and planned versus actual project value.
monday.com dashboard

A clean and intuitive UI is one of the standard features of a project management app, as seen on monday.com.

Examples of Project Management Software

There are a lot of PM software programs available that focuses on key features such as tracking and organizing the project management process. Knowing the features you need for your own business is essential to choosing a product to implement in your daily business operations. To give you a head start on what to choose, here are the leading examples of project management software:

monday.com

Our top project management solution, monday.com, is equipped with comprehensive collaboration and communication tools to help you manage workloads. Its platform is customizable, allowing for constant and easy monitoring. It also enables users to collaborate seamlessly, as every project activity is visible to project members.

It can be smartly integrated into your established software ecosystem because of its integration capability. Because of this, you can avoid spending more time on data entry and on distributing information. What’s more, integrations make communications easier because users can pick up their tasks from Slack, Gmail, Asana, and more.

The software is ideal not only for SMBs but also for freelancers. It is priced economically, making it attractive to organizations. And with its feature-rich system, it is a good investment even for small entities.

Wrike

This online project management platform is designed for boosting team collaboration and efficiency. It improves productivity by making people more self-sufficient in looking for the right information (and making it easy to find them) instead of waiting for the help of others.

Wrike is a secure platform that makes certain only authorized individuals are allowed to perform certain actions. Of course, it also ensures the confidentiality of particular information by letting you assign access permissions.

Additionally, it’s packed with data management and business collaboration features. It has social platform-like tools, letting users tag collaborators. This notifies the tagged person, and it also shows up on his or her activity stream.

ConnectWise Manage

ConnectWise Manage is a cloud-based solution designed to provide a centralized platform for not only project management but also other core business processes such as sales, billing, and customer service. As a project management solution, ConnectWise Manage provides project templates, customizable work plans, time tracking and billing, and other robust features. Valuable data are also stored in one place where you can organize them per department, KPI metrics, etc., giving you access to data on projects, finance, sales, and marketing, easier and faster.

Establishing a good relationship with your customers is also made easier using ConnectWise Manage’s help desk functionality, which helps your team handle customer concerns and inquiries efficiently. In terms of reporting, ConnectWise Manage is equipped with robust reporting options to help you make strategic data-driven business decisions, especially in terms of maximizing business resources and reducing operational costs.

Smartsheet

This web-based collaboration tool has a visual timeline and workflow automation function. And because most businesses are familiar with spreadsheets, it also integrates that but also levels it up to be more streamlined.

Smartsheet also includes Gantt charts. Plus, it allows colleagues to share files without leaving the platform. That is possible via connections with third-party file-sharing systems like Dropbox and Box.

Additionally, it is designed for various industries. This means that it is customizable. On top of that, it is cost-effective starting at $14 per user per month, so even small businesses can use it to manage their processes.

Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is one of the most popular project management applications available today. It is touted for its extensive customizability and its ease of use. In fact, the platform is so flexible that it is being used in a wide variety of industries and business functions. Enterprise users range from Star Wars costume-makers like 501st Legion and engineering firms like MVA Engineering.

Moreover, the product is very easy to use just like other Zoho offerings. Its key project management features include time logging, budgeting, Kanban boards, project feeds, and other reporting functions. Moreover, it has a variety of collaboration tools that include group chats, file sharing, and modules for managing team forums and discussions.

As it is a part of the overall Zoho Suite, it works best with other Zoho applications. However,  Zoho Projects include a good number of quality integrations. It pairs perfectly with applications like Slack, Zapier, Zen Desk, Basecamp, and Google Tasks, among others. Furthermore, it is also available through mobile with native apps for iOS and Android devices.

Zoho Project has a free version available and it is powerful enough for small teams. If you want more features, you can sign up for a free trial of their paid plans. Premium plan pricing starts at $25 per month.

ProntoForms

ProntoForms is a forms automation software that allows field service companies to build their own apps and workflows even without extensive coding knowledge. With ProntoForms, users can create various documents and tie them to their back-office operations. They can also automate processes through conditional logic, putting them in control of the user experience.

ProntoForms is usually deployed for emergency response, inspection and audits, incident and safety hazards, and installation and maintenance. It can be adapted to suit the needs of various industries like oil and gas, utilities, services, construction, heavy manufacturing, and medical device manufacturing.

Out of the box, ProntoForms can be integrated with ServiceMax, Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, Microsoft Office, and more. The vendor offers three plans: Essentials at $15 per user per month, $45 per user per month, and a quote-based Enterprise plan.

elapseit

elapseit is a resource management software that combines resource planning and project management in one easy-to-use platform. With elapseit, employees and managers can take control of all aspects of their workforce, right from project kickstart till they send an invoice for completed work. The tool helps clients lessen risks, boost customer satisfaction, and make data-driven decisions.

elapseit has a robust feature set that covers resource planning and forecast, time tracking, expense management, and project management. The Tasks module lets users break down big projects into manageable tasks that can be delegated to team members. Users can then use either Kanban or Gantt charts to stay on top of their projects at one glance.

elapseit offers three pricing packages: Resourcing, Complete, and Enterprise. The Resourcing Plan costs $14 per user per month while the Complete plan is billed at $21 per user month. Meanwhile, the Enterprise plan is quote-based.

ManagerPlus

ManagerPlus is a maintenance management software that helps various business manage their assets, keep their equipment in tip-top shape, and gain visibility into how their assets are performing. This complete solution lets you take control of the various aspects of your business processes, from managing inventory and streamlining work orders to setting preventive maintenance schedules.

The solution can be used in various scenarios such as managing a fleet of vehicles as well ensuring smooth operations in warehouses and shipping ports. It can also be adapted for various industries, including construction, manufacturing, government, healthcare, education, and real estate.

ManagerPlus offers two plans: Lightning Plus at $85 per user per month and Lightning Experience at $125 per user per month. Users have the option to be given a custom price or quote for both plans. Both plans include asset management, inspection management, request management, business intelligence, and product support.

Celoxis

Celoxis is a full-featured project and resource management software that helps teams resolve complicated project management issues. With Celoxis, teams can boost their productivity, visualize their data, and streamline business processes from one intuitive platform.

As a project management tool, the key features of Celoxis are project request tracking, project planning, project tracking, and portfolio management. Aside from these, it has resource management capabilities so you can maximize your workforce in real-time. Rounding out its feature set are reports and dynamic dashboards, collaboration tools, and time and expense tracking.

Celoxis offers two plans: the Cloud plan billed at $22.50 per user per month and the On-Premise plan billed at $450 per user. It can be integrated with over 400 popular business apps such as Microsoft Excel, Google Drive, Microsoft Project, iCal, Jira, and more.

Wrike dashboard

Wrike’s three-pane view helps you see the big picture and details of tasks at once.

Realize Goals with Project Management Software

We have outlined several reasons why project management software is important. We can also go on about its benefits to organizations, but there is nothing like experiencing it for yourself. You can sign up for a free trial with any of the examples of project management software mentioned. That way, you can experience the benefits of project management and use the tool to help you do the job.

Furthermore, it is essential to bear in mind that project management platforms may have common features, but they also have unique tools. That is why you need to see firsthand how they work for you. Only by doing that can you know whether one solution or another is the right one for your organization. This would also give your team members the chance to try project management tools themselves and weigh in on the selection of a vendor.

Once you are done with that, you can implement the software and realize your project goals. After that, you may want to look at some project management methodologies to test which ones can help your organization attain your objectives better.

Stephanie Seymour

By Stephanie Seymour

Stephanie Seymour is a senior business analyst and one of the crucial members of the FinancesOnline research team. She is a leading expert in the field of business intelligence and data science. She specializes in visual data discovery, cloud-based BI solutions, and big data analytics. She’s fascinated by how companies dealing with big data are increasingly embracing cloud business intelligence. In her software reviews, she always focuses on the aspects that let users share analytics and enhance findings with context.

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