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The work culture of today is undergoing fundamental shifts with the majority of the workforce working remotely due to the current pandemic and the rest working from onsite/offshore locations. There is greater importance being attached to how the work is being done rather than where. To come out on top, the organizational leaders of today need to reimagine more than just the nature of work. They need to welcome big and bold ideas in the face of new technologies and newer challenges.
According to a survey conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that undervalue project management as a strategic competency for driving change report an average of 67 percent more of their projects failing outright.
Spontaneity is always welcomed in any organization, but without a solid, effective action plan in place, most projects do not reach their full potential. With the complex and multi-faceted nature of all projects, your team cannot be expected to achieve stellar results without careful planning, organizing, and monitoring.
Project management can do wonders for your organization when utilized effectively. Enhanced productivity, full project transparency, seamless communication and high-risk tolerance are some of the benefits of project management.
Project management 101
First things first. What do you actually mean by the terms of project management? Unless there is a clear understanding of the definition, phases, and features of project management, the magic of project management cannot be unleashed.
What is Project Management?
Project management can be defined as the actual process of creating, organizing, and executing a plan in order to meet specific goals. When carried out well, project management has the ability to significantly impact your bottom line.
The lifecycle of Project Management
This marks the first phase of the project where the feasibility and business value of the project are determined. Any project disputes, concerns, and challenges are put together in a document called the project charter along with the delivery timelines. Identifying the right business cases, stakeholders and deliverables are some of the most important things to undertake for the success of any project.
The planning process defines the exact project schedule, which forms the blueprint of your project and outlines the tasks and steps to carry out in order. It forms the heart of the lifecycle and chalks out individual responsibilities and timelines with the help of Gantt charts. This phase helps manage costs, risk, quality, and other issues.
This phase is all about building suitable deliverables that are in line with the customer’s expectations. The bulk of the work is carried out here. Acquiring skilled resources to work on the project, scheduling regular status meetings, and taking care of quality assurance form the features of this phase.
- Monitoring and Control
Monitoring and control are occasionally clubbed with the execution phase due to the close interlinking of both the phases. Continuous monitoring and quick reporting are always advised for accuracy and efficiency in the delivery of customer requirements. The smooth running of operations is facilitated by such measures.
There is still plenty of work to be done during the closure phase. Handover of deliverables to customers, resources to operations teams, the return of the equipment, and release of the project into a business takes up a lot of time and needs to be done meticulously. This phase also includes documentation of the project effort, mistakes, and lessons learned, which is incredibly useful for avoiding the same issues in the next project.
Project management software to manage complex projects
From a newbie to a project management veteran, the need for project management tools is well understood. There are a plethora of options to choose from, which is why keeping in mind these key features will help you select the right fit for your project.
Choosing the right tool for your project based on key features
You are all set to launch your project but if you do not have the correct tools and strategies at your disposal, it could be a massive failure. Project management only works in the face of an airtight plan with rock-solid support from all the variables involved. There are a lot of customizable project management tools options available which lets you create custom-tailored workflows to embrace the team’s productivity. Every project management software has some unique features to take note of but there are some crucial features that cannot be skimped on.
- To-do lists
The most basic and crucial feature is a to-do list. Storing the to-do list in a central location where what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done is an effective project management tool to have in your corner.
The whole point of effective project management is that all the involved stakeholders can be kept in the loop at all times. Be it a remote workforce or distributed teams, every individual needs to be clear on their roles and responsibilities. Central data storage and quick file-sharing are must-have features of any project management solution that brings about better/faster collaboration of the team. Real-time updates, timely notifications, and consistent coordination are key to successful project completion.
Modern teams/organizations can work more effectively when applications can be tailored to their requirements. Tasks, workflows, spreadsheets, views, dashboards, and any other features will only be used to their full potential when unlimited customization is possible.
- Kanban Board
It is used as the one-stop-shop for all task-related activities. Different stages of the workflow can be visualized using the Kanban board including to-do, in progress, and completed. Everyone on the team has visibility on individual tasks as well as the health of the project as a whole. Kanban boards can be integrated into physical spaces like a whiteboard or even in online workspaces. This is a very useful feature that allows for quick reporting and accurate project tracking.
- Gantt Charts
A Gantt chart is a visual representation of tasks scheduled against a timescale. Gantt charts have come a long way from Magnetic blocks and Legos. Today Gantt charts are created in excel or coupled with project management software. Task dependencies, the path of a project, and a daily to-do list are some of the information that is depicted in a Gantt chart.
Any project management software that is trending in the market right now will be a good fit for your organization, provided that it contains at least two of the above-listed features.
Best Project Management Tools to boost your teams’ productivity
Grid is one such zero-code platform that allows you to build a custom project management application in minutes. It provides pre-built project workflow templates and a drag-and-drop interface for easy deployment. With built-in charts, custom reports, interactive dashboards managers can track budgets, projects, resources, and issues efficiently.
A kanban-based task and project management tool, Trello is a good fit for close-knit teams that manage a limited number of projects simultaneously. It provides boards, tasks and lists to keep track of workloads and stay organized.
A highly customizable tool, Jira allows you to take care of all your tasks and complex projects. It can also be easily integrated with Confluence, a data management tool, which is a huge advantage.
An easy to use the platform, Zoho Creator is a great tool to build simple but professional looking applications. It is a low-code app development platform, which allows you to transform your business with customized solutions.
Wrike’s project management platform comes armed with all the latest features out there. Providing full visibility and control over all the tasks and projects to the team is its main objective.
Asana is a flexible project management application with extensive features related to collaboration. It is suitable for all sizes of projects and can help automate repetitive tasks.
Custom view, Gantt charts, reminders, you name it, ClickUp’s got it. It is one of the most highly rated project management solutions in the market and for good reason. Seamless collaboration and enhanced operational efficiency are possible with ClickUp.
Benefits of project management tools that cannot be ignored
- Consistent project planning
With the right project management solution, acquiring and allocating resources, adhering to the scheduled timelines, keeping track of each sprint, and creating project deliverables become a piece of cake. A more organized and efficient workflow comes into the picture with previous documentation relevant to the project available at your fingertips.
- Bridging the communication gap
Distributed teams are the norm for any project. It is not realistic to contact team members for individual updates and will cause unnecessary delays. Project management solutions facilitate seamless communication and collaboration between team members in a unified location. Notifications in real-time can be sent to the required stakeholders on priority and quick responses can be facilitated as all project management tools are available on mobile apps.
- Timely identification of bottlenecks
Predicting challenges that may occur in the course of a project is what makes it all the more effective and risk-free. Solutions can be planned way ahead of schedule with the help of reliable project management software, improving efficiency and profitability of the entire project.
- Managing a remote workforce
Modern organizations of today do not have all their workforce located in one place. Especially when the majority of the workforce is remote, keeping tabs on your employees becomes easy with project management tools. Right from the allocation of roles and responsibilities, easy delegation of workloads, quick file-sharing, to tracking the progress of each task, these tools have got you covered.
- Improving productivity by a wide margin
Easy accessibility of data, which is stored in a central repository helps improve productivity by cutting down on delays. Better and more informed decision making can happen with the help of your project management tool.
While selecting the right project management tool for your project, keep in mind the requirements and demands that need to be fulfilled. Pick a few apps and take them for a spin before deciding on the one. Project management is crucial and contributes directly to the success of your project. Investing a little time and effort into finding the correct app will take you a long way in the future.