Whether you work in a small software startup or a large construction company, project management has many moving parts and requires a lot of responsibility. Dividing the complex project into subtasks, prioritizing and monitoring them constantly, managing resources, analyzing reports, and making numerous adjustments to meet the deadlines and stay within the budget are typical parts of day-to-day PM activities. The automation of time-consuming tasks is an unavoidable measure for a company that wants to overcome such an enormous workload, improve efficiency, and enhance team productivity.
Nowadays, there’s no shortage of project management software of different complexity levels. Such solutions offer different implementations of techniques designed for efficient tracking and organizing the project management process. It depends on your business’s specifics, which one of them will meet the needs of your organization. This article will consider some essential features for effective project management and share our view on how a perfect project management software should look.
Essential Features Project Management Software Should Possess
First of all, it’s important to remember that project management applications are nothing more than tools allowing you to bring your ideas to life. That’s why the lack of understanding of resource management’s basic principles cannot be compensated by technological means. For a software developer, it’s crucial to offer a solution that provides project managers with new possibilities without breaking the casual way of doing things.
Custom-made software solutions can be an excellent example of a perfect project management app implementation. Such systems are built with a focus on a specific customer’s needs and enable smooth integration and expand employees’ possibilities without forcing them to learn how dozens of unfamiliar functions work. To demonstrate how features described in this chapter work in real-life applications, we’ll share some examples of successfully built custom project management applications.
Advanced Tasks Planning
Project management apps based on the DHTMLX Gantt chart allow assigning tasks to specific team members and adding due dates. The system can automatically send a notification to the employee via email or a mobile app, which can help avoid misunderstandings.
The use of baselines helps to ensure that your team meets its deadlines. If you work with a Gantt chart application that supports baselines, you can mark the initial plan for your project, and the system will display it on the screen alongside the current project’s state. Project managers can use this info to assess the team’s current pace and decide if it’s time to speed up or correct the currently used approach.
Auto scheduling is another feature that our clients find pretty helpful. If your team faces any unpredicted delays, this feature will enable the system to make automatic changes to the project’s schedule. If the end date of a specific task is changed, the Gantt chart app will automatically adjust all dependent tasks’ start dates. As you can imagine, auto-scheduling can free project managers from tons of work since there will be no need to reschedule dozens of tasks manually.
If meeting your deadlines is your number one priority, the critical path method may become one of your favorite features. It significantly simplifies the work on a complex project that has hundreds or even thousands of tasks. With the critical path feature enabled, the Gantt chart application will highlight the sequence of tasks that affect the project’s overall duration the most.
You can check our Project Management Application Based on the Gantt Chart if you want to learn how some of the described features can work in a real software system.
Advanced task scheduling tools can help you build a future project plan and efficiently monitor its progress. The built-in notification system is a relatively easy to implement mechanism of increasing the overall efficiency. If there are any changes in a specific task, all related specialists will be informed immediately.
Project managers can use scheduling applications to receive a comprehensive view of all current activities. With a few clicks, they can understand that a given employee must be in a specific place at a particular time and have certain equipment with him or her. Also, such scheduling apps allow quickly determining what causes delays and how the company can overcome them.
Additional features such as recurring events support can be pretty helpful if you want to plan daily or weekly meetings, for example. A project manager can create new events with an intuitive pop-up editor and set all required parameters, such as the recurrence. The multiple resource view is a feature that allows displaying several calendars for multiple resources (e.g., human resources, office locations, equipment, and so on).
If you want to see a real-life example of an effective online scheduling tool, you can look at our Integrated Scheduler Module For Efficient Task Management.
Adopting an effective resource management feature is another way of improving your project management. Resource management directly affects the project’s overall cost, and therefore your revenue depends on its effectiveness. What specific resources you’ll have to deal with depends on the specifics of your project. It can be employees, vehicles, particular skills, equipment, etc. An advanced resource management app designed following your business’s peculiarities can help you determine if you use the available resources efficiently.
Custom-made project management systems with resource management support can record and analyze every detail of your project and develop valuable insights using this data. The system can send interactive reports to all the stakeholders, helping them make informed decisions.
Read Also How Project Management Software Helps Construction Industry
As an example of a system that enables visual reporting, you can check our Hotel Performance Management System.
A BI (business intelligence) dashboard is an excellent example of how modern technologies can change reporting for the better. BI solutions allow displaying multiple charts and reports on a single screen, simplifying the analysis of essential metrics. You can use such apps either for access to real-time data or for generating regular interactive reports. Such reports not only show summary data but also allow using queries to answer specific business questions. A set of built-in templates can help generate reports containing KPI’s typical for a particular type of project, saving time and resources. Data discovery is a feature that enables users to detect various patterns by navigating visually represented data or applying guided advanced analytics. This feature can help to extract patterns and trends from a variety of data generated by your company while working on a project and use them for enhancing your productivity.
Custom software development is an excellent choice for a company looking for new ideas to improve its project management. Such solutions can be a perfect choice for small companies that want to adopt a simple app with a limited number of features and for large organizations requiring enterprise-wide automation of business processes. In both cases, the modular structure of custom-made solutions will become an irreplaceable advantage since it allows expanding the functionality of a project management system without significant efforts. Also, a software developer you decide to cooperate with can develop a single module providing the required functionality and integrate it into your software system. If you want to learn more about custom project management apps, please contact us.