As companies compete in today’s fast-paced marketplace, the need for project management software has never been greater. And not just any project management software: Software that helps project managers foresee what’s to come and that helps teams visualize their work.
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Visual project management software can alleviate some of the common pain points managers face, including:
- Ability to effectively communicate
- Collaboration with busy team members
- Meeting timelines and staying on budget
- Reducing work-related stress
There are several varieties of project management software tools on the market today. Let’s take a look at some common types of project management software and compare the benefits of each.
Types of Project Management Software
While some project management tools are list-based, others are visual. Let’s examine the differences between these:
|Visual Project Management||List-Based Project Management|
|Data Presentation||Data is presented holistically using a visual interface that is easy to interpret.||Usually presents data chronologically or in list form. Users must read through a list to get data.|
|Change Management||Changes to a project can be instantly reflected in a visual way.||Changes to a project entail extensive communication, recalibration, and effort to roll out.|
|Communication||Team members can easily understand what work is being done and provide input / feedback where they see related work going on.||Team members may become siloed and rely on chance encounters / unusually proactive project managers to engage in collaborative communication.|
|Visibility||All levels of management and team members can see the status of a project at a glance whenever they want.||Management and team members must devote more time to understanding the status of a project. This may require more status meetings and correspondence.|
|Laughing Bacchus Winecellars||Yoshi Tannamuri||Canada|
|Risk Management||Cause of bottlenecks and delays can be quickly identified and corrected. Risk of delays and project overages can be mitigated before they become an issue.||Cause of bottlenecks and delays must be researched, and improvements are difficult to put into place. Risk of delays and project overages cannot be easily identified, therefore cannot be mitigated as easily.|
|Continuous Improvement||Processes and work flows can be visualized, analyzed, and improved on an ongoing basis.||Processes and work flows are difficult to visualize.|
List-Based Project Management Software
List-based project management software may function as chronological logs of questions, answers, comments, requirements and other general feedback that is contributed by a team, for a team, into a central location. Other list-based project management systems are nothing more than a shared spreadsheet and can be quite cumbersome if you are trying to locate specific information or if you just want a broad overview of a project without getting into the weeds.
List-based project management tools serve to capture data, but they do little to overcome the inevitable “too much information, not enough time to process,” a state in which many project managers find themselves. It is not uncommon for project managers to spend over half their time deciphering information, searching for information, chasing information and generally spinning their wheels. Furthermore, it takes even more time for a project manager to convert the information from the project documentation into a simple format with which the rest of the team can easily digest and work.
Visual project management software allows users to see the full view of a portfolio, project or task without needing to read through a correspondence thread or interpret data from a spreadsheet.
It has become the number one choice of project managers today because it saves so much time.
Visual Project Management Software
People learn more efficiently when there are visuals to accompany the information being learned. So it would make sense that visual, versus list-based, project management software is more effective at helping teams comprehend the complexities associated with most projects.
With visual project management software, you can:
- Create workflows that accurately represent the real-world
- Identify bottlenecks in workflows
- Anticipate risks by having an accurate view of pending, current, and closed activity and associated priorities
- Leverage reporting tools to improve efficiency
What to Look for in Visual Project Management Software
The best visual project management software is flexible, effective and easy to use. The flexibility of a visual project management tool allows the project manager to use the tool alongside existing tools without having to go through a tedious integration process.
Project managers should also look for a tool that is built for mobility. It is common for teams to work remotely and to be widely distributed.
Project teams have had to adapt to a new style of working by using technology to bridge the physical gap in location. Visual project management software offers visibility into not only the work being done but who is doing the work, providing an elegant way for teams to feel more cohesive even though they may be working thousands of miles apart.
Visual project management software should also be effective at increasing efficiency among a team. Using a simple, easy-to-understand visual project management tool allows team members to quickly decipher what work needs to be done and when. Effective project management software should make it easy for everyone stay on target with their work by spending less time chasing information.
Finally, the best visual project management tool should be easy to use. A fabulous tool that you thought would revolutionize your team’s productivity will not be worthwhile if you find out later that either nobody is using it because it is clunky and takes more time, or nobody understands how to use it.