One of the biggest challenges managers face is finding the right software tool for their teams. Some lean toward the cheapest option without the right features, while others buy all the bells and whistles regardless of the cost. Both of these methods are flawed, as they fail to evaluate what the team members actually need and how to give it to them.
We’ve previously discussed the challenges managers face during the process of onboarding team members to a new system.
Without employee input or buy-in, you could easily end up with a vendor that many team members ignore, preventing future collaboration and project tracking.
Fortunately, there are many options to choose from when looking for a project management service. Here are a few common features and types of project management software to consider when shopping for a tool.
Reduce Pressure on Overwhelmed Team Members
Between 65 and 75 percent of employers report having overwhelmed employees. One of the main causes is multi-channel communication in the modern workplace. Between meetings, calls, emails, and chat apps, instructions come from several different channels and don’t stop when an employee leaves the office.
Overwhelmed employees are less productive, require more stress-related sick days, and have a higher turnover rate. This means your rockstar employee who works until 10 p.m. and never takes any vacation time could actually cost you more in the long run than some who clocks out at 6 p.m.
To do list project management software takes all of the noise from the workplace and channels it into one central platform. Instead of digging through long email threads and chat conversations to find a deadline or client instructions, employees can use workflow-based software like ours and find everything they need in one place.
Not only does the software reduce stress by eliminating noise, but it also helps your employees take projects one step at a time to hit their due dates. Your employee only has to look at what their day and week entails, and won’t have to think about other project assignments until the future.
Identify Visual Learners and Creative Thinkers
One of the top reasons for investing in project management software is to make sure nothing slips through the cracks in any project. However, before you can decide on the right tool, you need to understand why your instructions or tasks are getting missed. If you’ve ever rattled off a long list of items that need to get done in a meeting, only to have half of them come into fruition, it’s possible you’re surrounded by visual learners.
More than 65 percent of the population consists of visual learners, while less than 20 percent are auditory learners. No matter how important a long list of client tasks are, your team is unlikely to remember them all unless they’re written down. This is where visual management software comes in.
At the very least, your team can see everything that needs to be done in a prioritized list and has a better chance of remembering what’s assigned to them.
However, visual software tools go deeper than that. They can map out the project through completion with assigned touchpoints for every employee. They also use colors to report status updates and engage creative thinkers.
Not only are visuals more engaging, but they also set your employees up for success. Images process faster than text, and they are stored in the long-term memory whereas written text and verbal instruction stays in the short-term memory.
By opting for visual management software, you’re creating opportunities for your employees to remember more in meetings to produce better results after them.
Quantify Your Tasks With Metrics
While we champion the learning style of visual learners, not everyone has that mindset. Your managers and more technical departments might want a snapshot of how the project is coming along and where any hold-ups are.
For these employees, look for high-level dashboards that provide a quick overview of projects and their completion rates. The dashboards should allow managers to quickly see whether a project is on time, on budget, and in the right hands. If not, those managers should quickly be able to see how far behind it is, and what (or who) is causing the issue.
This is typically what CEOs look for in project management task software. They want to make sure their teams and employees are getting work done, but don’t want to micromanage their staffs. Account representatives also use these tools to report progress to a client, without giving too much away or breathing down the necks of the production teams.
The beauty of high-level reporting is that managers can immediately know what’s going on, but employees can click into the dashboard for more detailed tasks. Everything they need — from instruction decks to client feedback — is there for them to use, without their managers checking to make sure they have it.
Look for Offline and Remote Options
More companies than ever are offering work-from-home options as a way to recruit prospective employees. Fast Company has even suggested that half of the American workforce will have work-from-home options by 2020. Even employees who can’t technically work from home find themselves answering calls and emails long after they left the office. All of these factors emphasize the value of a Windows task management software with offline and remote options.
Your employees need to access their projects from anywhere, whether they’re preparing for a meeting on their train to work, checking in when their flight is delayed, or balancing client meetings with summer camp. They don’t always have the time and ability to log into the company’s servers.
If there’s a chance your employees will use your project management task software outside of your physical building, you want to make sure they can sign in on the go, from their personal laptops, or via smartphone apps.
These are just a few criteria to look for in your project management tools. We recommend bringing in a few early adopters to test drive your options before deciding on a vendor. Your employees will quickly tell you what they like (and what they don’t) so you know how to prioritize their needs.