Benefits of Project Management Software

How project management tools can help you deliver higher quality outcomes on faster deadlines with a cohesive (& happy) team.

Project management looks different for everyone and every business. Trust us. Over 20 million people have worked on a project inside Basecamp, so we’ve seen it all. And this front row seat has reinforced our belief in the power of projects.

To us, project management is a no brainer. But to some, they don’t quite see the point. Usually, because they don’t really understand the benefits of project management to begin with.

  • Can’t people just do the work assigned?
  • I doubt my team will want to work like that.
  • It’s not going to save that much time, so what’s the point?

We hear it all the time by those who haven’t tried it.

Whether you’re a freshly hired exec at a remote company, working for a non-profit, an agency who needs to loop in your clients, kicking off your startup, or even if you’re a middle manager looking to rally your team in a traditional in-office job, there are benefits of project management to consider when shaping how you do work—especially if you want to do good work with less effort.

What are the benefits of project management software?

We’ve already talked about project management principles, so we’ll save you the reading time there. What’ll do you better is understanding the reason to implement project management in the first place.

1. A single method of organizing & communicating

Most companies have several systems they use to work—especially remote companies. Whether it’s software for uploading documents, a place to keep track of your to-do lists, email, group messaging apps like Slack or Discord… the list can go on (unfortunately).

This is a problem. A fundamental one. One that’s costing you.

When you have a dozen different places for your employees to be checking in and out of on a regular basis just to move a project forward, you’re creating distractions and slowing them down.

Both of these result in bare minimum work on an ever growing timeline.

Having a single place to store all communication, goals, progress, and files makes it much easier to find bottlenecks, celebrate milestones, and ultimately helps keep your team on track.

2. Everyone knows their part

There’s no confusion when you have a project in place that’s managed well. This is one of the biggest benefits of project management. In our experience, the majority of projects that don’t get completed on time struggle with this.

Your employees don’t want to ask what they’re supposed to be doing. It makes them look bad. Even if this is a reflection on you.

So what do they do instead? Nothing. Or worse, they pretend to be doing something while they try to figure out what it is they’re actually supposed to be doing. Or they open a chat channel to ask their coworker, who also doesn’t really know.

Either way, when your team doesn’t know what part they’re playing in your overall goal, they simply won’t do it. Creating a project management system ensures everyone knows what to do, when, and with whom they should be collaborating with in order to do it.

3. You get to know how your team operates better

There’s little worse than a manager who doesn’t quite know how to set their team up for success. This can only lead to fragmented work at best.

Do you know each person’s strengths?

Are you aware of how they best like to communicate?

Is their teamwork evident or are they scattered in silos?

One of the best outcomes of project management is that the feedback you see and receive helps inform you as a manager. What’s working? What’s not working? What was your team most engaged in?

Prioritizing project management prioritizes your ability to lead your team well, which only produces increasingly better results over time.

4. Happier employees

People take pride in their work. They want to do good work. The bulk of unhappy employees’ concerns can be boiled down to: they don’t know if they’re doing well and they don’t see how their work is making a difference.

Both of these issues are solved by good project management practices. They make more progress, which allows them to feel good about their work. They can also visually see how their part plays a role in the larger pictures.

Bonus Tip: Make sure your team sees how their individual role plays into the overall goals of not only the project, but the business as a whole. Feeling like a part of something bigger is crucial to job satisfaction.

5. Progress is seen at a glance

You no longer have to check in with every single person working on a project in order to understand how it’s progressing. Good project management makes this known. You will always be able to have a pulse on where things are at, who’s doing what, and if you’re moving ahead on the designated timeline.

Do I Really Need Project Management Software?

Project management has two sides. The first is having any system in place, the other is using tools and software to make your system more streamlined from the beginning.

The single best way to get your team on board with project management and its benefits is to make it as easy as possible for them to implement it.

Don’t get bogged down with spreadsheets, daily check-ins, time-wasting status meetings, and having work stored across multiple apps and devices. Instead, consider using project management software to keep your projects organized.

Aside from the obvious, there are many more benefits of project management software to consider.

1. The kinks have already been worked out

Someone’s already been there. They’ve already made those mistakes. They’ve already fixed them… and then structured the tool in such a way that the problem can be avoided evermore.

We won’t lie. We’ve made mistakes at Basecamp in the way we’ve run projects in the past. But we’re proud of that, because that’s how you learn. Or rather, that’s how we learn so you don’t have to. Using a project management software just expedites the success of your system.

2. Everything is in one place

This is how it should be, at least. If you’re using a project management software that’s most effective, you won’t need five other apps or tools to get it done.

You should be able to set goals, track progress, collaborate with others, move things forward, store files and other assets, and assign specific functions to someone from a single source. There should be zero need for your team to have a dozen tabs open just to work on a project.

3. They have capabilities that would take you hours to replicate

Your job as a manager is to lead your team, not manage their tasks, progress, and if they’re doing their job. Tools and software to help you do some project managing will shave a ridiculous amount of wasted time spent just trying to figure out the status of the project as it relates to your goals.

Most good project management software does all of that for you. Which means your time is freed up to spend on higher level duties to help the company grow.

4. They allow you to customize the type of project management you want to do

There are dozens of project management structures out here. We highlight some popular ones in our Guide to Project Management. You’re able to customize the experience with most project management software.

You create the plan (like the 30, 60, 90 day plan, for example), and the software simply aids in your progression of the plan. In fact, it allows you to see if the strategy you’re using is effective in the first place. Over time, you’ll be able to find a method that works most effectively and will have hard proof that it’s the one that works.

5. Higher quality work on a faster timeline

When everyone knows the goal, the timeline, and what they’re supposed to be doing, more gets done. It also gets done better. Less time is wasted on getting that thing from your coworker that you need to do your job when that thing is a click away, stored in the same place. This allows your team to spend more time in deep work.

When Should You Not Use Project Management Tools?

It’s not all rainbows and benefits with project management software. Considering there are hundreds of them out there, not all will actually help. Some are exploiting your own ignorance by making you think certain features are beneficial when we’ve found the opposite to be true.

We’re not about that at Basecamp. So here’s what to look out for in project management tools that will slow you down instead.

  • Too many features: More is not always better. More creates clutter, a bigger learning curve, and worst of all: distraction. Many project management tools will boast about the number of their features as if higher is better, even charging more because of them. We keep it simple, to the only things that matter, and get rid of the rest.
  • Lack of integration with other web applications: A project management software isn’t a benefit if you still need three other programs to use it effectively and are constantly linking to other tools. Find something that integrates well so it’s all still connected in a single place.
  • Distracting notifications & unnecessary add-ons: Distractions are the bane of productivity’s existence. The more notifications, dancing emojis, and chat bubbles popping up on screen, the less work your team is doing. While these might seem fun and exciting—or even like they’ll add to the “culture” of your team—they’re mostly vanity functions that reduce the effectiveness of the tool. While you can often adjust these notifications in your settings, we found starting with fewer is optimal.

We’ve built Basecamp with all of this in mind. We aim to reduce distractions, not make them a part of “interaction” within the project. Bringing all files in house while also providing space to integrate with outside networks is key.

Simple is better.

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