Choosing Project Management Tools

Project Management ToolsProject management software ranges from digital to-do lists to communication suites to online Kanban boards. Many project management systems combine several of these functions to enable the team to collect ideas and come up with a solution. But what functions do you need? What functions are nice to have? And what is unimportant? We’ll share a few tips for choosing project management tools that provide the functionality you need to bring together your team and their ideas.

The Ability to Collect and Collate Ideas

Product design really starts with the concept for the product. You want to collect all the input coming in during brainstorming sessions, and handwritten notes or sticky notes on a whiteboard just don’t cut it. You could forget to record a key product performance requirement or insight on customer marketing. This is where most project tools fail. The best product management tool suites systematically collect all the input during the brainstorming phase and feed it to product requirements and test plans down the line.

Product data management tools do this to a degree, but most of those are designed around document repositories. Any feedback is saved as notes and saved conversations that someone must read through and try to incorporate in drawings and documentation. Another issue is that they tend to focus on drawings and technical documents, while many businesses are trying to manage content creation and marketing campaigns. The tools centered around version-controlled 3D models don’t make it easy to collect fifty people’s opinions on graphics before they’re posted on social media, and they may not let you create a separate task for publishing content online. The best product management tools support any type of product, be it creative or physical.

The Ability to Manage Projects

Project management tools tend to be Kanban charts, Gantt charts, and other related tools. It must combine the breakdown of work and the time frame in which it must be completed. A few product management systems provide Gantt charts, Kanban charts and automated workflow management like sending people notifications that work has been assigned to them and reminders when tasks should be completed soon

The ideal project management suite allows managers to see the status of the project at any given time. For example, you could log in and see who is working on what, what percentage of work has been completed, and what critical tasks are behind. Then you can focus your efforts on providing resources to critical tasks and resolving problems on which everything downstream is dependent.

The Ability for Everyone on the Team to Use It

Far too many project management tools are selected by IT based on how easy it is to maintain or by managers who like the project dashboards. You should select project management tools based on ease of use. Otherwise, your team members won’t be logging into to update project statuses or feedback until they have no other choice. You lose insight because you can’t get real-time feedback. Therefore, ease of use is essential for any project management system if you want it to deliver the promised benefits. A related issue is an interoperability. You want people to easily be able to review documents, give feedback and update statuses without having to come back to their computer to do so. Craft.io integrates easily with all your favorite tools, including any project management and requirements management tools your team may already be using. Now you can collect all your information in one place without having to go through a massive migration and user training.