Strong project management motivates teams, facilitates winning improvements, boosts customer experience and helps drive your business toward continual growth. On the other side of that coin, lackluster project management annoys stakeholders and teams alike, causing burnout while wasting your money without providing ROI in the long-term.
For those seeking to stay firmly on the former side, you may want to invest in project management software this year to help achieve your goals. Here are 11 ways Visual Planning’s solutions can help strengthen your project management this year.
1. Define Projects Better
Let’s start with the foundation. This is where the building first rises strong or weak. If you have a bad foundation, it doesn’t matter how much time and attention you put into building the rest. That’s true for projects too — if you don’t start with a strong definition of what you want to achieve and how, then you’re asking for trouble as you move forward.
Visual Planning supports teams as they define projects. That includes working together to brainstorm goals, attend to metrics and map out phases and milestones to help ensure your project has a great chance of success.
2. Map Processes for Visual Concepts of Business Requirements and Goals
Mapping processes can be an important part of defining your project. It also comes in handy throughout the project, ensuring everyone understands what you’re working on and how you want it to look. Here are just a few times you might put this type of feature to work in projects.
- Understanding the existing process. Here’s a common misconception among managers: Many think they know exactly how processes work. If you’re not down in the nitty gritty on a daily basis, though, chances are that some of those details have changed slightly as people found easier or more effective ways to deal with things or came up with workarounds to deal with obstacles. Taking time to map out existing processes with SMEs helps you understand what you’re actually dealing with.
- Vetting a future state. Another common mistake teams make is assuming that a great idea is going to work exactly how they think. But most business processes are complex, and integrating your new idea could have consequences up and downstream. Mapping out a future state helps project teams brainstorm all of those concerns and make decisions on how best to deal with them.
- Deciding on mid-project tweaks. Life is nothing if it’s not surprising, and that’s no less true when it comes to business. When you encounter unplanned obstacles or needs during a process, returning to your process maps and making changes there first can help you understand the best path going forward.
3. Create and Manage Milestones
Milestones are critical to project success. Saying you’ll overhaul a process by the end of the year isn’t enough; large resolutions of this type typically fail. But a step-by-step plan where everyone knows what they have to do by a certain date helps increase the likelihood of success — especially when you have project software that can track all those deadlines.
4. Let Everyone Contribute to Communication
Tracking deadlines and ensuring everyone is on the same page can take massive amounts of communication work, particularly if a project manager or admin staff member is doing it all with basic emails and phone calls.
Without central project management software, someone has to be responsible for reaching out to all team members and stakeholders and adding updates somewhere. It’s easy for deadlines and tasks to get lost in the mix. Project management software lets everyone be responsible for providing updates and checking in. It also lets you automate tasks, informing you if someone fails to check in before or upon reaching a milestone.
5. Match Resources to Project Tasks
Having the right resources and enough of them is a key part of the equation, but it’s still only a part. There always comes a time to ask yourself: Who is going to handle something, and do you have the materials on hand to complete a certain part of the project?
When it comes time to deploy your resources, project management software can help keep you on track. With project management software, you can tap your way through inventory and resource management lists, matching them to project tasks efficiently.
6. Monitor Progress for Smart On-the-Fly Adjustments
When you can easily see where everyone is with regard to progress, it’s possible to make on-the-fly adjustments to the project structure, plan or expectations. Consider the following:
- Stakeholders never want to be told the project is running over budget with regard to time or money. But they’re much happier when they hear this sooner rather than later so they can manage expectations and resources on their end.
- Life happens, and sometimes individual people fall behind on their part of a project while others finish faster than expected. When you’re monitoring progress, you can move resources around for greater project efficiency.
- Even the best project teams can make mistakes when deciding how to proceed. When you’re monitoring progress, it becomes easier to backtrack and correct mistakes sooner in the process before they begin to impact steps further down the line.
7. Keep Everyone in the Loop Regarding Expectations
Stakeholders and customers aren’t the only ones who need to know about project expectations — it’s important to keep team members informed, too. Providing clear expectations to your employees is key to ensuring that productivity goals are met.
Project management software with built-in communications and automations helps keep everyone involved and in the loop. This ensures that team members know who is waiting for them to complete a certain task and what depends on them — helping to support timely delivery of each milestone in the project.
8. Calculate Costs and Labor Time for Various Tasks and Phases
Do you want to sit with a pencil, paper and a spreadsheet for countless hours and still risk getting the numbers wrong on your projects? No one wants that, which is why you might want a solid project management software. Whether you’re managing construction projects or working with a team to develop a new IT product, automatically calculating expenses using data from previous projects and any new information you’re able to gather helps ensure accurate timelines, estimates and quotes.
9. Develop Custom Reporting Easily
Reporting is a bastion of solid project management. From knowing where team members are at to understanding how much of your budget or resources have been used, reports and dashboards let you manage progress and make quick decisions when necessary. Visual Planning’s software lets you customize reporting so you can quickly pull and view the exact information you need.
10. Support Mobile and Remote Team Members
It was a mobile world even before COVID-19 sent everyone home for months at a time, and it’s likely that the shift towards remote work is, at least to some degree, permanent. There’s little chance we’ll ever return to a world without some reliance on mobile and remote team members, and depending on your industry, this might not make sense to do anyway. Visual Planning supports work and monitoring from mobile phones and other devices so your team can be as mobile, agile and geographically diverse as you need.
11. Integrate Your Other Tools for a Seamless Experience
Finally, we know that project management software isn’t the only tool in your belt. But every tool gets a huge powerup when they work together, which is why it’s possible to integrate existing tools such as email, calendars and RSS feeds into the project management solution.
If you’d like to see how Visual Planning supports strong project management that saves you time, money and hassle, contact us today. Ask for a demo of our project management software.
Manale is a passionate about digital marketing. She joined STILOG I.S.T in 2018.
She brings SEO & SEA expertise, email marketing and creative content marketing to create a great brand experience for Visual Planning customers.