What Is a Project Management Tool?

What Is a Project Management Tool?

Project management tool assist individuals and teams in managing and organizing their tasks and projects effectively. Project management software is not specifically designed for project managers. It is customized and adjusted to fit the needs of a team of different sizing and with different organizational goals.

Project management tool significantly facilitates monitoring, planning, and executing projects across all organizational levels. It creates transparency, so everyone knows their responsibilities and obligations.

Every project management software has diverse range of features, including flexible project views such as portfolio, table, boards, analytics, project tracking, reports, resourcing, and Gantt charts, among others. Project management tool is crucial for any business workflow.

Project management platform helps project managers control costs, stay within scope, and stick to a deadlines. Now, let's further explain its features, review its potential benefits, and see how it affects project management.

What is a project management system?

Project management system oversees the execution of a project. It offers managers and teams a framework for creating procedures, delegating responsibilities, and managing expectations.

A project management system covers a wide range of features that are part of a project plan. With the help of this system, you assess and organize information. The common project plan components are listed bellow.

Scope. It is crucial to set up a clearly defined scope since it identifies project expectations and ensures everyone involved understands what's expected from them. When you have a clearly outlined scope within a project management system, it means that no one else adds new elements without corresponding allowances.

Measuring success. Knowing how involved parties judge a project's success at completion is important during the planning and execution stage. By applying certain success metrics, stakeholders evaluate performance. This ensures everything runs smoothly while avoiding misunderstandings about expectations during the final stages of the project.

Deliverables. When the project is near the finishing line, parties involved expect certain deliverables. Therefore, it's crucial to include those in the project management system. It is a good idea to list details about deliverables as well, like quality and quantity information. If you include deliverables, you have a written record of expectations, which allows you to avoid misunderstandings at delivery.

Work breakdown structure

Another significant part of the project management system, the work breakdown structure, defines tasks necessary to complete a project while meeting goals and expectations. It also defines the team's responsibilities and ensures members understand their expectations and roles during the execution stage.

Timeline. The project management system assists you in managing scheduling throughout the execution of a project by offering a timeline for individual elements and the overall project. A project management system uses different apps or tools to help team members figure out their timeline expectations and track progress for individual tasks.

Budget. It's the project manager's responsibility to keep a project within budget. But, if you have a project management system set in place, you easily track overall spending and allocate funds successfully. Project management software allows you to monitor the spending of an allocated budget without too much trouble. This helps you determine whether some departments in your organization need additional funding.

Quality control. This process ensures that production and deliverables on a project meet necessary standards. A project management system measures quality levels and signals when they have fallen below a set threshold. This way, you quickly recover by making sudden changes to improve quality levels and meet targets.

Staff management plan. A staff management plan guides team members working in human resources. This plan is an important part of a project management system because it offers structure to HR staff when collaborating with other staff on the project.

Stakeholders. They are parties who have an invested interest in project success. They are owners or investors within a company. Stakeholders are active participants or simply benefit from the project. They also state their project goals.

Type of communication. Communication is crucial to any project, and your project management system makes communication significantly easier. Meetings and events are a form of formal communication. Also, the software you use within an organization helps you improve communication by forming messaging systems and chat rooms to discuss projects.

Risk assessment. Effective planning isn't possible without risk assessment. The risk section of the project management system evaluates the potential cost of risks your company faces when executing a project and the likelihood of facing the risks. You include financial, quality, and time-based risks at this stage.

Procurement plan. Sometimes you work on a project that demands outside resources. In that case, knowing how to get them is important. They are physical resources you complete, a project, or labor resources like a task that requires you to contact another organization or a professional.

What are the project management tools' benefits?

Project management software like ActiveCollab, have different benefits that help you manage you projets and workflow, as well as time and task management in collaborative way. Main benefits of project management applications are listed bellow.

Scheduling and planning. One of the most constructive features of project management software is the scheduling and planning of tasks and activities. This tool allows you to delegate and plan work, divide responsibilities among all team members, and have everything in one place, including tasks, subtasks, templates, workflow, calendars, and folders.

Collaboration. Emails are no longer the only form of communication when transferring information from one team member to another. You effectively use a project management tool to ask for approvals and proofing, assign tasks, organize dashboards, and add files or comment on tasks.

Documentation. When working on multiple projects, expect some files to get lost. Most of the time, there is no way to recover them. To avoid similar mistakes, project management software provides features like editing, saving, and storing files, making your life much easier.

Assessment. This software provides functionalities like reporting and resource management, which help project managers evaluate and track productivity as well as growth.

Remote working. Modern projects aren't bound to a physical location or a department. Now, the workforce is scattered worldwide, and managing them has become quite challenging. With the help of project management software, you manage projects remotely, as these help project managers lead their teams successfully.

Easier integration of new members. Projects tend to be quite dynamic, and sometimes new members have difficulties fitting in. However, you easily handle this issue with the help of a project management tool. This software has the option to maintain a project log automatically and simplistically envision the entire project.

Budget management. As we discussed, a major benefit of using project management software is its ability to manage every resource efficiently. During a project lifecycle, your project sometimes goes off track. However, project management tools prevent project costs from skyrocketing.

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The key project management tool requirements

Projects. Projects are the primary component of a project management tool. Specifically, this software oversees projects and all their parts. It also allows project managers to define projects for their teams, lay out crucial information like assumptions, risks, and scope, centralize information, prevents time-wasting, and confirm project expectations.

Many tools have pre-built plan templates, which is incredibly useful. You don't have to start from scratch every time you initiate a new project. Keep in mind that pre-built templates apply only to standard projects. For non-standard projects, you create your own custom project templates.

Tasks and requirements. Part of managing projects is managing people as well as getting work done. Project management tools offer a wide range of features that help managers organize their teams. You set milestones or divide large goals into smaller ones by breaking them into manageable structures.

These tasks also have due dates, ensuring the project stays on schedule. Another feature project managers explore is task dependencies. It means you connect tasks that depend on other tasks and reschedule them if necessary. This ensures all activities stay organized and on track.

Users and roles. Since projects tend to involve sensitive information, role-based access is crucial. The project management tool allows you to grant guest account access and invite clients, freelancers, vendors, and other participants to assess the project to some degree.

Managers also create user groups. For instance, freelancers see some project sections, but the manager accesses everything. This minimizes confusion between teams.

Workflow. The project management tool helps users design customized and automated workflow. It means they use already designed workflows with standardized task tracking or choose to create their own.

What is a simple project-tracking tool?

Simple project tracking is a project management method that tracks the progress of tasks in a project. By tracking progress, you identify issues and keep your project on schedule and within budget.

Project tracking assists stakeholders and project managers in knowing how much work has been done and what resources have been used. It's necessary to mention that project tracking isn't possible without specific project management techniques and tools.

For instance, we have a Gantt chart that provides an overview of milestones, workload, and tasks at every stage of the project life cycle, ensuring project managers easily track project progress.

Project tracking software is the best way to track your project. It overviews all the tasks linked to the project and helps project managers stay on schedule.

The majority of project tracking tools aren't used for tasks only; they also track resource management and budget. A project tracking tool is highly beneficial even before the execution stage of a project. During planning, it helps you with the resources you require to complete tasks.

Once you move to the monitoring and control stage of your project, the software really shows its value, allowing you to see whether your actual progress fits the timeframe you hoped to accomplish. This tool is superior to project tracker templates made with spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel because it allows project managers to access data in real-time.

What to look for in work planning tools?

Aside from business resource planning, the success of your project mostly depends on the project planning apps and software solutions you choose because they help you optimize this phase.

First, project planning strategies include apps or tools that help project managers gather teams and compile documents at the outset of the project.

Moreover, you want your work planning tool to have a feature that facilitates capacity planning. Capacity planning helps you organize your resources so that you accomplish project goals with the resources you already have.

Lastly, you'll want your tool to have a resource planning option to use your resources efficiently while avoiding project delays and burnout.

Don't forget about task management, which is another highly desirable feature. Many work planning tools allow you to create tasks and subtasks, set deadlines, assign task owners, and approve, review, and organize tasks according to priority.

The ability to integrate your planning tool with other apps significantly facilitates your work. Some names include Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, Gmail, Slack, and others.

Now that you understand the purpose of the project management tool, you wonder what is the best tool for your needs. While there are many solutions available on the market, the best project management software for your organization includes several factors like pricing structure, the number of users, scalability, user-friendly, and key features required.

We strongly believe that ActiveCollab ticks all the boxes. If you have already tried it, tell us your impressions, and if not, check out How the best project management tools compare.

How does project management work?

Project management isn't something you learn overnight. It takes years of experience and hard work to master this particular set of skills, especially when you have to complete a project within budget and on time.

Each project has its ups and downs and poses a distinct set of project management challenges. But whatever project you are working on, you probably face high expectations and tight deadlines.

Unfortunately, project management isn't a system of trial and error, and experimentation, in most cases, leads to failure. To succeed, you abide strictly by principles. If we were to define project management, we define it as a process of planning, executing, and completing projects.

Project managers apply specific processes and methodologies and use specifically designed software to deal with resources and guide their teams. Nowadays, most companies use project management tools like ActiveCollab, which allows them to manage costs, resources, plans, and teams in one place.

The main goal of project management is to finish a project within budget, on time, and quality. Projects, of course, have a life cycle since none of them lasts forever. Their life cycle starts when the project is initiated and ends when it is completed or terminated. At the end of each stage, stakeholders decide whether to terminate the project or to continue with its flow.

Apart from boosting project transparency and productivity, project management brings many other advantages to the table:

  • A clear vision of the team
  • Efficient resource management
  • Effective communication
  • Better customer satisfaction
  • Retrospective learning
  • Improved team morale