With so many tools out there, it’s hard to know which functionalities of project management software are essential and which ones are a gimmick. Either way, you want to get the most bang for your buck when choosing your app, and we’re here to help.
Whether you’re new to project management or you’re here to get up to date on the latest trends, we’ll take you through what’s currently on the market and how it can give your team the jump on your competitors.
Starting with the basics now. Being able to access your platform from anywhere you need is one of the basic functionalities of project management software these days, and any tool that can’t provide it should be struck straight off your list.
Each user has their own login credentials which gives you security, but you aren’t chained to a physical office. This is perfect for remote teams that are on the rise at the moment, as well as traveling teams who need updates on the go. Each worker can jump straight into the real-time task management dashboard and get to work, wherever they are.
Closely linked to remote access is that you can access your software on any device you have to hand. Available for all your team, the best project management solutions will be available on iOS and Android at no extra cost. Try to get a free trial before you commit to your app. Some tools struggle to live up to their own hype when it comes to the mobile version of their tool.
But when you’ve got a winner, mobile compatibility is perfect for when you need to get away from your desk. You can stay connected with all your updates through notifications. This includes deadlines, mentioned, and anything else you choose to program to your handset.
Sure, you might not have a big team now, but one of the most overlooked functionalities of project management software is the ability to have everybody logged in at once. With accessibility features, you can restrict access to sensitive files and keep your secrets safe.
While some tools out there will charge you by user, which can ramp up costs pretty quickly, platforms like Bitrix24 give you a flat fee for your whole company. Having unlimited users from the outset allows you to better predict your future budgets. When you decide to grow, it can all happen quickly, so you ideally want to go for project management systems that have got your back.
Closely linked to the remote access point, you really need a cloud-based storage system if you’re going to be using project management solutions. Almost every task you undertake will need a document (or three), and having a central storage place for all your files is absolutely essential. Everyone on your team should be able to access your docs when logged in, while keeping them safe from outsiders.
One thing to look out for is the amount of storage you get. Some project management solutions offer a miniscule amount of space before overcharging you to upgrade for more.
It’s no good creating a bunch of tasks for your project if people don’t know what to do with them. One of the fundamental functionalities of project management software should be a vast range of fields on each task card. You don’t need to fill them all up, but the more detail you put in, the better job your team will do.
If you’re wondering what we’re talking about, think about SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Following this philosophy, your tasks should include clear, detailed instructions and a target level of quality to be considered complete. If you feel it’s out of reach for one person, make it more achievable by assigning two people to the task. Show its relevance by linking it to other tasks, and time-bound by adding a deadline (with a few reminders just in case).
If you’ve ever used a tool that doesn’t allow you to assign responsible people to each task, you’ll know how important it is to have this feature. As you create tasks, you need to know who is responsible overall, who is the task creator, who are the participants, and who are the observers. This adds a layer of accountability that ultimately ensures that tasks get done, rather than floating around in the cloud.
Each person linked to a task receives notifications for every update, deadline change, and mention. This way, your team can communicate within the task itself — a sure strategy to have tasks fall through the cracks.
Away from the structural and administration features, we’re now diving into the functionalities of project management software that get tasks done.
Among the most practical features you can get for your projects are workflows. Linking a series of related tasks together, workflows connect all the moving parts that combine to achieve a specific goal. For example, it could connect writing the text, designing the imagery, and giving managerial approval to an advertising idea.
With repetitive tasks, you can use project management software features to save your workflows, ready to go at the click of a button next time.
Micromanagers’ eyes light up at the thought of time tracking, and it is fair to say it’s a great measure of performance. However, that’s not the main reason you want to make it one of the top functionalities of your project management software.
When you’re organizing complex projects, it’s hard to be accurate with your predicted timings. But that’s where time trackers come in. You’ll probably have a fair amount of tasks that are repetitive and similar every time they repeat. We’re in the territory of newsletter writing or customer onboarding calls.
By timing these tasks repeatedly and taking an average, you can set projects based on solid data. That way, your future plans will be more and more accurate.
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Continuing on the theme of time, a project management app that doesn’t have an in-built calendar won’t take you anywhere. First of all, you need a place to keep those deadlines. When your team opens up their calendars in the morning, you want those high-priority tasks to be front and center.
You can take deadlines one step further by attaching reminder notifications to every deadline. As a manager, you can take a hands-off approach. Rather than chasing up each employee, your calendar will take care of it.
Finally, at the click of a button, you can set recurring tasks to repeat every week, every day, or even customize your own repetition sequence.
Automation represents a series of functionalities of project management software that use algorithms to speed up day-to-day tasks. They give any team a huge boost in completing tasks by doing a lot of the legwork for you.
One example of automations is in task assignment. Once one task in your workflow is marked complete, the subsequent one is assigned, with the responsible person receiving a notification. Similarly, you can automatically set a workflow in motion when a new lead comes in.
As a general rule, anything that is repetitive and administrative can be automated, making it one of the best project management software features out there.
Communication is everything in business, and even more so for remote teams. Rather than integrating a range of communication channels, look out for native communication functionalities of project management software.
Most tools will allow you to leave messages within each task card. However, the best apps give you access to a wide range of other communication features. The most practical is instant messenger, but with video calls you can hold meetings directly from your project management software.
By keeping all your communications within one handy tool, you can keep track of every interaction without trawling through
Humans have different ways of seeing things and your project management systems should be no different!
Look for tools that offer Kanban boards. They’re among the most efficient ways of running agile teams, where each individual can see the progress of the project in one easy view. Not only can they easily see their own tasks, but they see them in relation to the bigger picture — excellent for keeping teams motivated.
Gantt charts are another common visualization that focuses more on timings and deadlines. They are a dream for project managers who want to map out how long each individual task will take and spot gaps that can be put to good use.
Where would we be without analytics? Probably drifting around with no clear focus or evidence of progress. They say if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, so including analytics as one of your functionalities of project management software, you can improve your approach in a meaningful way.
On the best platforms, analytics will constantly be running quietly in the background. They take metrics such as time taken per job, amount of overdue tasks, and deals made as a result of your hard work. Great for measuring individual and team KPIs, you can also use them to guide your strategy in the future.
There’s nothing worse than having to copy and paste databases between your brand-new project management system and your existing tools.
Any project management software worth its salt will come equipped with integrations with some of the most popular communications platforms as well as CRMs. They let you get the best out of both tools in one place without flicking between tabs every time you need to draw on new information.
However, while integrations still hold a special place in business tools of all kinds, they are quickly being overtaken by all-in-one platforms that make them rather redundant, as we’ll discuss now.
Third-party integrations are great, but why pay for multiple tools when you can have them all in one place? Forward-thinking platforms like Bitrix24 really push the boat out when it comes to an all-in-one system.
You can get to work on your customers through the CRM feature, but also automate your hiring with their human resources information system. What we’re saying is that these tools go beyond the essential functionalities of project management software. The result is a much neater desktop (or mobile device) as you can carry out all your business processes in one simple, yet powerful app.
If you hadn’t heard of all the functionalities of project management software on this list, now you know! But the sad truth is that although some of the biggest names keep up with the market in terms of automations and visualizations, they have never seemed to branch out into creating all-round business tools.
That is apart from Bitrix24, of course. Bitrix24 was designed from the outset to perform in every area of your business, from task management and communication to marketing, web building, and HR.
No add-ons, no after thoughts, just a quality system that meets all your organizational needs.
Sign up for Bitrix24 today and give it a go for yourself.