Starting a business has never been intimidating, and running it successfully has never been harder. Staying abreast with the development in the business is a must-do task, or you will be left behind. The aim of a business is to deliver the best of products and services on time. In order to achieve that, small to large-scale industries have been taking up steps to maintain better customer relationships.
Read More: Best Project Management Software
All those methods such as maintaining spreadsheets, generating invoices, sending promotional emails in bulk manually, have become the talk of the past. We have come a long way to the future where better management of customer relationships has become more automated.
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You have a business and you have been meaning to choose the best project management tools that centralize and automate the entire workflow, in order to increase customer satisfaction, generate leads and improve efficiency among the employees. Or, you have already been using such a system and want to tilt-shift to a more efficient and newer one that is more suited for your business. This article is all about those bits.
Whatever your purpose is, since you are here to learn how to choose the best project management tools, I presume you have a basic understanding of CRM tools. Anyway, I will try to give you a brief about these tools.
What Is A Project Management Tool?
Businesses have become more complex than ever, and customer behavior has been rapidly changing as they are exposed to numerous options in front of them. The best CRM strategy is a hoax. You cannot come to a CRM strategy that is going to last for long. You need to adapt.
The primary function of a project management tool is to streamline the workflow among the employees. Secondarily, it is utilized in ways that businesses find suitable. While the customer relationship management (CRM) tools are used to manage projects predominantly for external activities, of which, project management tool is a part.
The paramount goal is to elevate the customer experience.
With the best project management tool, you can smoothly take part in the functions of a company from a project’s inception to completion. It helps you with planning, implementing or executing and monitoring a project.
The ideation of a project can be perfect and its execution may seem perfectly aligned, but without the existence of a perfect project management tool, everything can be a total waste of time and resources.
Not just any project management tool, you need to have the best of them that suits your business needs.
Deciding on a project management tool is not an easy task, the efficiency of your team members depends on it. There are several features that you must look after before you redirect your team members to a new platform.
What Project Management Tools And CRM Platforms Have In Common?
Both project management and customer relationship management have different purposes to serve. Then how is it a good idea to merge both these platforms? What will you get out of it? Will it increase the overall productivity and serve your goal?
Well, the basis to run a business is to provide products and services to your current consumers or generate interest among prospective customers. Then, why would it not be a good idea to join forces and work towards the same goal collectively?
Productive project management practices and giving out positive customer relationship experiences go hand in hand. The best project management tools and techniques ensure how far you’d go as a business.
Project management tools made on a CRM platform enable translating customer concerns into request tickets, upon which, employees will work in a unified and streamlined manner.
CRM platforms and project management tools bring data from two sources and align them to serve better to your customers, thus, keeping your company in business.
Benefits Of A Project Management Tool
As a project manager, I have to handle multiple projects at once. Handling several tasks in one go is, naturally, not easy. Just like me, you can easily end up in chaos and everything might seem disorganized. That’s where a project management tool comes into the picture.
With the best project management tool, you can efficiently keep track of all your projects, their progress and plan out strategies that suit them best.
1. Improves Planning And Scheduling
The major part of a project is spent on planning and scheduling. You need earlier data and records of your team in order to plan out a strategy and schedule it for a team that is a perfect fit for that project.
A product management tool enables you to prepare a steady management plan and prioritize tasks. You can easily set deadlines, allocate resources, create project deliverables and identify dependencies smoothly.
2. Allows Working Remotely
We all know how the workforces have been increasingly moving to a remote setup in the post-pandemic era. And in my experience, I can tell that it is even more difficult to manage a project with scattered workforces.
When you use a project management tool, you will be given a better opportunity to become more efficient with the remote project management features that come along with it.
3. Enables Better Collaboration
I have worked on several projects where resources and workforces needed to join hands and reach a common goal. Very often, there will be such a project where you have to collaborate with different departments to gather their expertise. And believe me, you will see a large communication gap between departments that will only delay down your project than doing any good.
The best project management platforms come with tools that enable collaborating with different departments easily. You can have easy access to project insights including timeline and status updates with simple clicks.
4. Allows Easy Access To Files
While performing different tasks, having access to different documents and sharing them is a crucial aspect.
Accessing and sharing documents using project management tools is the most practical and viable process to handle a project. The best part is, you can allow your teammates to suggest changes, annotate and share feedback on them easily.
As a part of the feature, these documents keep logs of several changes made and you can access the history anytime you want.
5. Allows Integrating New Members Easily
In my experience, a project’s efficiency is increased when it is kept dynamic. And you know what is the key feature of a project being dynamic? Inclusivity!
You will be always in the need of new members joining the project as it takes a sweet turn during the process. How would you integrate a new member in between an already complex workforce?
Effective project management tools will allow easy and smooth integration of a new member within a team. You can save time in inducting the new member as he or she can have all the access to previous data that is relevant to the task.
What Project Management Tool Is Best For Your Business?
Just like the versatility of businesses, project management tools come laden with different features. The first challenge as a business runner is to decide upon which project management software goes well with your business preference. There is an equal requirement of the best project management tools for small teams and the bigger ones as well.
These tools can largely be categorized in different sections based on their productivity and usability.
1. Client Server-Based
This type of tool is custom-made and installed on the server of a company. Different stakeholders of the same company can have access to this tool. This tool possesses centralized data and shares them with different members through its collaboration tool.
When you are largely involved in handling projects remotely, this type of tool can come in handy. This allows you to write, read and make changes to different project-related activities across geographies and departments. Data and information are stored in the cloud and with just a computer, you can access them all.
3. Free Proprietary Tools
This type of project management tool comes with limited functionality. When you have started a new business, you might want to take things slow and look for the best project management tools free. These tools can be installed in small business setups with having a limited budget.
4. Open Source Tools
These project management tools offer available source codes. These tools come with increased functionality that balances your productivity and cost.
5. Proprietary Tools
This is the full version of the free proprietary version. This type of tool comes in the cloud or standalone client-based format.
How To Choose The Best Project Management Tools? Features To Consider
Not to stretch but the advantages of the best project management tool based out of CRM platform are being acquired the most by agile companies. They are wired to innovate, adapt and consolidate in line with the everchanging customer demands and behaviors.
Whether the best project management tools for individuals or organizations, based on the kind of business you run, the criteria for choosing the best ones can be relatively easy if you are sorted what do you expect out of such tools that would enhance your team’s productivity.
Let’s dig in and find out what are the most common and reasonable features that you must expect from the best project management tools. It is crucial to learn how to select the best project management tools.
1. Centralized Dashboard
While running a project, you wouldn’t want your data, information and workflows to be scattered everywhere. Distributing different aspects of a project in different locations of your device will look messed up and you may not find the right data at the right time whenever you need it.
Having a unified dashboard containing centralized data regarding your projects will not only save time and money but will also help you ideate and strategize your next step efficiently.
2. Easy To Implement
When your projects are more important than that of misspending time in setting up a new platform and training your teammates its utilization?
Always look for such platforms that are put to use from day 1 of its implementation. This way, your team members will not be dissuaded from continuing their tasks.
It is further important to check whether importing all the existing data sets is time-saving or takes away a major portion of your time. You should always expect to have a learning curve while establishing a new project management platform. It is all the more important to ensure that the learning curve is met with as little friction as possible.
3. Increased Collaboration
Like I mentioned, the success of a project lies in it being more dynamic. Inclusivity is necessary to keep a project dynamic in nature.
As a project manager, you should ensure that the new tool enables your company to work collaboratively. Not only that, collaboration should be backed by proper channels of communication and accessible data sets.
4. Easy Team Management
The key to a project is its teams and what would serve your team with the exact resources that it requires? The best project management tools will provide hassle-free features to manage your teams in the best way possible.
I understand what goes on in managing a team during the process of a project workflow. You need a better tool that ensures you are well suited up in handling all the requirements of your team.
5. Type Of Project Management Tools
Although, based on the type of your business, you have to decide the type of project management tools. However, you can never go wrong with cloud-based platforms.
It is found that over 60% of businesses are moving towards cloud-based solutions. You also have to ensure that you keep up with the trend and stay ahead.
There are several benefits of a cloud-based project management tool. You and your team can access the data from anywhere and anytime. This enables you to make amends to the information or check for feedback without having to wait for Mondays.
6. Product Reviews/Testimonials
This is something that no other website will suggest you — Checking out product reviews. It is crucial to vet your knowledge about a product with used-case scenarios. You might want to go through several project management tools examples.
A crucial comparison of a product with others in the market opens up a number of exploration opportunities. Trying and testing out each and every product can sometimes become tedious. So you can have all these products ratified through review sites.
7. Pricing Plans
You have to take into consideration a lot of factors before deciding upon the best project management tools. Pricing plans are one of those factors that are crucial.
A tool is considered to be the best that not only suits the requirements of your business but also doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
When selecting a project management tool, you must consider how you can deliver a project in a cost-effective manner. For startups, this factor plays a major role.
8. Built-in Time Tracker
Each project’s success rate depends on its completion within a said deadline. It can be intimidating to keep track of several projects and check if any one of them is lagging.
With a built-in time tracker, you can always keep an eye on each project without having to stress out your nerves. You can check who is working on what, the amount of time spent on each project and ensure your team is meeting deadlines.
9. Accessible And Sharable Files
Easy access to relevant files is crucial to completing a project on time. It saves you from hassle to custom-delivering every file to your team members as and when they require them.
Choose a project management tool that allows you to easily store all the files in one place and share them with the team.
10. Generating Report
It is tiresome to manually collate documents and generate detailed reports. And when you have to do it regularly, it can take ages. What should you do instead?
You should check out the best project management tools that come with report generating features in different formats.
That tool must detail out the progress of your work and let you plan the next phase to execute the project.
11. Generating Invoice
What is a business for when you lack generating invoices? Where will the money come from? It is, therefore, all the more important to not only create an invoice for your clients but generate them without having any mathematical error. One mistake can cost you dollars and trust.
Therefore, it is important to choose a project management tool with an incorporated invoice generator. It will enable billing your clients within seconds, automating timely bill generation processes, sharing bills with team members and clients smoothly and others.
12. Managing Task
What is a project management tool for without its ability to manage tasks? It is the most crucial and primary feature that is pretty obvious you should be looking for. What is more important is that how easily does a tool lets you manage tasks.
The best project management tool must allow you to personalize task management of an individual team member, prioritize and assign tasks based on deadlines and dependencies, automate every step of the project, visualize the progress and day-to-day activities among others.
13. Managing Resource And Workload
As a project manager, handling tasks manually can never be replaced. However, you still need a platform that automates as many tasks as possible. It should give you an overview of the upcoming and current commitments all across projects and teams.
It must enable visualizing the projects’ expected outcomes, cost-to-date, and budget. You must be able to reduce overloaded workflow and assign new work to a varied number of team members with such platforms.
14. Effective Communication
There is the active involvement of effective communication in order to complete a project without friction and hassle. As I mentioned, more businesses are moving towards cloud-based solutions and remote setups, communication has become a crucial factor like never before.
You need to assure that your project management tool comes with a built-in messaging application for a quick chat with your team members. There is also a need to have an in-built video/voice calling application that will enable you to have a real-time exchange of ideas and solutions during meetings.
15. Intuitive User Interface
Sailing through a project can often become tiresome and boring. Giving a treat to your nerves becomes all the more important to keep you pumped. Although for many of you, attractive design is not among the top priorities, you must not still avoid it entirely.
However, a cluttered platform with several tasks spread throughout is the last thing you and your team members would want. You need to have a clean, professional, and simple interface to avoid hindering your productivity.
Despite finding out a project management software that suits your business goals, you still need to set the platform based on your preference. Each project comes with a special set of requirements and you don’t want to change to a new platform based on your varied needs.
With the customization feature, you can selectively choose to display parts of data to your clients or team members that are important. You can also single-handedly integrate enough external tools that would pull your business up high.
You will definitely find a plethora of project management tools but, will they be among the bests? That is the question that you must ask yourself. There are several factors responsible to decide the right platform to manage projects based on your company’s preference. Some factors depend on how your organization works:
- Management style
- Team collaboration
- Ways to store and assign tasks
- Team’s agility
- Steps to approve tasks
In this era of remote work, an additional feature has added up to the list of requirements for the best project management. You must consider if your virtual team can easily operate the features of the tool.
The success of a project results out from the best project management techniques that a manager follows. There are several other factors you have to take into account such as time efficiency, comprehensiveness, better communication, pressure handling among others. You should sit back and ease your nerve. Let us guide you through the process of selecting the best project management software.
Got your answers right? If not, we are here to help you. Write down your queries and we will surely attend to them right away.