Reasons to Use Online Project Management Software

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Spreadsheets will not be sufficient for project teams managing any size of project. Because there is a limit to what project teams can be able to do with the colored boxes on a grid, project managers should realize that it’ll reach a time when the team has to switch to use management tools that are more appropriate to manage the projects professionally. There comes a time when project teams must switch to using tools that will save them time and help them collaborate effectively with each other.
Many business organizations don’t see the need to make the switch, especially if they’ve always managed very well with spreadsheets and documents.

Below are some of the benefits of using online project management tools

Get information in real-time

The fact that there is online access makes it very easy to get hold of the project files, making it even easier to keep things up to date in real-time. Employees managing various sections of the project will be able to complete their timesheets, update everything about their tasks as well as record their status as they continue.
If your team members are using online project management software as their major interface for the working hours, there will be no problem with submitting documentation or updating any issue into another application.
Furthermore, project leaders can just use the in-built reporting features to get information about the progress and status of the project. This information reflects today’s situation and not what happened weeks ago.

Easy access of the files

Online project management tools make it very easy to access your files from anywhere. Irrespective of where a team member is, he or she can still get updates of any latest project schedule. When team members can get hold of the latest copy of everything about the project from wherever they are, businesses get some security benefits because it won’t be necessary to copy files onto a flash drive that could get lost or stolen.
Online project management tools have user-friendly interfaces that make them extremely easy to learn. In fact, it’s almost the same as using another website. This helps team members a great deal, because they spend much of their time online, and this is a very good way for all of them to collaborate online and work together as a team.

Collaborate with your team

Online project management tools include collaboration features. For project leaders working with virtual teams, they can easily start discussions with them; send them instant messages and set up email alerts and even share files.
Chatting as a group is a real advantage because it saves the need of having to send a bunch of emails. Being able to chat as a group also means that the whole discussion is recorded and can be stored. This is great because there would be a complete history of why members took decisions.
Team members can send each other a quick message to confirm whether they’re at their desk and can pick a phone call. This will save time and prevent workers from attending endless meetings.

Most Needed Functions of Project Management Software

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Before you start your search of the project management software that will suit your needs, you need to consider many things. You must considerer for what purpose do you need project management software. For example, a business organization may need it for tracking time and tasks or for collaboration in documents. You may also need it for mapping out your project plans and schedules, or you might need it to discuss issues.
Naturally, your needs are often depended on your projects, your team and how the business organization approach project management.
When you’re searching for what would best suit the needs of your project manager and team members, it’s important to understand that there are some common and very important functions that good project management software should have. These functions are simply a “must have” for any project management tool to meet your project needs.

Functions of good project management software

Project planning

Any project management software must have the function to map out the tasks of the project. It must also show the project leader how project’s tasks are connected. This level of planning gives you a better understanding on how you’re supposed to schedule projects and what path you’ll be using to access and allocate the resources. Generally, planning a project starts by breaking down all tasks that should be completed followed by assigning such tasks to team members, and identifying responsible resources. It also involves an estimation of time for start and completion of each project.
Project management software helps you with creating a relationship between the dependent tasks. For instance, it’s supposed to specify what task is to be completed before the other one begins.

Keeps a track of all deadlines

Team members should know exactly how much time each task is allocated for them to complete the project successfully within the stipulated time. You should consider that project management tool which allows you to track time, and also get to know what is still remaining that needs to be done. By ensuring that every minute of your work counts, these tools help in improving your efficiency.
Once you’ve created a new task and allocated it to your team member, a project management tool will take care of it from there and you don’t have to spend any more time or effort on it again. The project management tool will send reminders and notifications to team members about their remaining tasks. In that way, it’ll be keeping a track of all deadlines.

Task management

The most important needed functions in project management software are its ability to define tasks, assign them to team members, approximate hours for completion and set deadlines. You should look for a project management tool that will offer exceptional functionality for your team members not only in defining and allocating tasks, but also in setting deadlines.

Making invoices

As expected, the next step after the completion of a project is creating an invoice for the same. Another important needed function in project management software is its ability to help you with making invoices, not through spreadsheets or copying and calculating figures, but through the data available in the project. Using this data, a project management tool will simply pick the tasks and the total time spent, and then fills all the extra expenses. After which, your work is to click on generate and then send the invoice.

Is Online Project Management Best for your Business?

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A software evaluation process is a daunting task. If you’ve ever been through this process, then you know what I mean. The job of evaluating project management systems gets even more difficult by the availability of so many options.
First, a business can decide to build a system from scratch using its own resources. A business can also decide to purchase an off shelf system and then modify it to meet the business’s need. Thirdly, a company can purchase web enabled project management software.

Why Online Project Management Software is the Best

While all the above options have their own advantages and disadvantages, many businesses have realized that the best option is the online project management software. Whether your business is starting from scratch or you just want to replace an existing system, online project management system makes the most sense.

Advantages

Online project management systems that are available in the market today have many advantages over traditional project management software.
First, your business doesn’t have to hire technical staff to get the system going and neither will there be any big investment in capital equipment. In fact, all you need to do is sign up and start using the software immediately. Your business doesn’t have to invest in servers or product upgrades. You’ll only incur the cost of training your team members on how to use the software and getting the system configured so that it suits the needs of your business.
Online project management systems include all the key features. This is because the available systems were developed after the industry had gone through many years of experience learning the features that work and what doesn’t work as well. Furthermore, the features have been modified based on the latest business demands and information. This means that online management software available today have had the advantage of including tried and true features that work perfectly and even expand on them.
Over the recent past, online CRM, or customer relations management began to feature in project management systems. Many business organizations across the world are now adopting online CRM and it’s actually considered by many business owners as an essential part of running any business. If business organizations add these features to the project management systems, it would mean that the sales team would have access to any information on customers.
As far as the overall strategy for the customer is concerned, team members will be able to see where their work fit
Online project management software systems feature billing. Just like customer relations management, or CRM, it makes a perfect business sense to include billing to the project management system. This element of the business process lets management, operations and sales teams see how the money flows. Billing also allows customer service to have the full picture when they’re dealing with accounts receivable.

How Web-Based Project Management Software Help a Team

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Web-based project management software is a new development among business organizations around the world. The software allow project teams to track all the projects they’re working on from wherever they may be, be it in the office, on the road, at home and so on.
It allows project managers to keep team members informed of the plans ahead. In that way, it helps a great deal in improving the project performance. For businesses with global and remote teams, web-based project management software is simply the way to go. Apart from improving communication, it improves the general productivity of your project team members.

Here are some of the benefits that it brings to your team

Guarantees data security

Web-based project management software ensures the security of your data because it uses data encryption mechanism. This means that if you send data to web application, it is encrypted and no third party can be able to read, edit or forge the contents of communication that takes place between you and your application account.

Easy collaboration and sharing

Web-based project management software allows project managers to assign responsibilities and tasks to team members. It also allows you to share and post comments from one place. The fact that you can do everything from one place makes it extremely easy to find and share.

Mobility

One main thing that makes web-based project management a must have for businesses is the fact that project managers and team members can use it at anytime and from wherever they may be by using a mobile device or computer. You can send email notifications to inform team members of the latest changes about the project and they’ll receive it immediately irrespective of where they are.

Real-time synchronization

Project managers know how important it is to have the ability to see the progress and current project status. Web-based project management software allows team members to view all changes directly and immediately.

Software choosing tips

Before making a purchase, it’s important to evaluate available web-based project management software based on the needs of your projects and teams. Additionally, make sure you select that project management software which gives you access to advance project analytics such as Cycle Time Analysis and Cumulative Flow Diagram. Here are more tips to guide you when selecting the tool that best suits your team and business.
• Make sure you select web based project management software that offers you a free trial for a reasonable period without asking for your credit card number.
• For your safety, ensure that the software you’re choosing supports 256-bit SSL / HTTPS connection encryption.
• The software should be able to be customized easily to meet the requirements of your business organization and project teams.
• Avoid companies that do not provide privacy policy because your data security in this case is not guaranteed.
• It’s advisable to work with companies that provide terms of service.

Functions and Types of Project Management Software

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Many years before software was born, businesses used to carry out project management through papers. As such, a lot of paper documents were produced. This made it very difficult to search for information and the experience was not pleasant at all.
As soon as software was available, especially at an affordable cost for various business organizations, software development companies ventured into developing project management software. Within few years, this became very popular among all the industries and project management community swiftly adopted project management software.
Projects can be very complex. They can be dependent on various factors, departments and outcomes.
As such, project management software can help a great deal when it comes to determining which events depend on one another and how exactly such events depend on each other.
Furthermore, project management software can schedule team members to work on various tasks and detail everything else that might be required, from physical to financial and so on. This is actually called scheduling.
Project management software also helps people to deal with any uncertainties in the estimates of the period of each task that form part of an overall objective. Project managers use project management software to arrange tasks within the deadlines and to jungle multiple projects at the same time.

Types of Project Management

Vendors and service providers have different ways in which they make project management software available.
• Desktop Project Management Software
To begin with, business organizations can buy project management software as a desktop package and this generally gives individual users the most responsive and graphically intense type of interface.
Typically, desktop applications often store their data in a file, but some are able to collaborate with other users and allow for the storage of data in a central database.
Many users can actually share file-based project plans, especially if it is stored on a network drive, if only one user accesses it at one given time.
• Web-based project management software
Business organizations can implement project management software as a web application. This can be accessed either through an intranet or extranet by means of a web browser. Just like web applications, web-based project management software has usual advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

• Can be accessed easily from any type of computer without necessarily installing software
• Offers multi-user facilities
• The service provider updates and maintains the software automatically
• Ease of access and control

Disadvantages

• Project information is only available when the user is online
• Tends to be slower to respond as compared to desktop applications

Collaborative project management software

Collaborative project management systems are also available. These applications are designed to support many users working on different sections of a project. Sever-based project management software holds project data centrally. It can also incorporate collaboration tools to allow users to share knowledge and expertise.

Integrated project management software

Integrated systems are also available. These systems are designed to combine project management or planning with several other aspects of company activities. For instance, bug tracking issues can easily be assigned to each project, and the list of project customers can develop into a customer relationship management module, with every individual on the project plan having their own specific calendars, task lists as well as messaging functionality associated with their project.