10 min read
May 27, 2014
Project Management

How to Make the Simple Switch to a Project Management App With Shortcuts

To help you make the most of your project management efforts, and to help you find the right project management app to meet your needs.

Todd SpearContributor

Effective project management comes down to your ability to plan, assign, monitor, and measure all aspects of the work your team performs. Factor in the pressure of your budget on top of the demand for high quality outcomes and it becomes clear that the project management app you choose can have a dramatic effect on your business - and your bottom line.

To help you make the most of your project management efforts, and to help you find the right project management app to meet your needs, we’ve put together this little how-to. For those of you who are seasoned when it comes to project management, think of this as a refresher that might help you smooth out any rough edges in your present implementation of project management.

Let’s dive in and take a look at painlessly moving project management to the cloud.

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Tip #1: Project management is still project management!

The first thing to understand as you transition to a project management app is that such apps are simply tools. They are only as good as your plan. The success of your project ultimately depends on the strategy that you put in place, and the execution of that strategy, of course.

To get started implementing a project management app, you’ll want to hammer out your project management flow, carefully reviewing it to make sure you are using the best project management app for your business’ specific needs. Only then can you successfully apply your existing project management regiment to the digital realm.

Before you get started, let’s recap the steps in creating a project management

  • Determine the purpose of the project

  • Set clear, measurable goals for the project

  • List all resources needed to complete the project- including personnel

  • Research the project

  • Assess the ultimate scope of the project to determine its feasibility

  • Establish a completion date for the project

  • Create milestones

  • Consider incentivizing (or “gamifying” the project

Once you have mapped out the above considerations, you can put together your plan and get started with your project.

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Tip #2: Cloud-based project management offers new possibilities

If you’ve been running your projects with Word documents and spreadsheets, the move to any one of the current project management apps may come as a bit of a jolt. But you owe it to yourself to move your project management into the cloud all the same.

When you make the leap to a project management app, gone are the days of writing out memos to be lost or simply forgotten by the assigned employee. In the cloud, every assignment is tracked from the start and the app will prompt your employees to interact with you as they take real-world actions, keeping you in the loop all the while.

Caption: Clarizen is a project management app that offers plenty of data to help you track your progress.

As an example of the changes you should be prepared for as you transition to cloud-based project management, Clarizen is a project management app that will introduce you to a world of social collaboration and tracking of projects that defy the usual constraints of teams distributed across different geographic regions, giving even the biggest project management teams a sense of collaborative closeness. And that just one of the more immediately noticeable new possibilities.

Another glaring benefit of using a project management app is that it brings teams spread across disparate regions together in one place, presenting them with all the communication and collaboration tools they need, all in one place. An app like Confluence even negates the need for team members to venture outside the app to an email account because it has such a comprehensive set of engagement tools within.

Sciforma is a project management app with a particular slant towards scalability on-demand, and it’s been at it longer than anyone - since 1982. Sciforma adds some truly unique possibilities, in contrast to some of the other current apps. Sciforma has enhanced risk and resource management functions, on top of an already otherwise robust feature set.

Of course, as you look to start to use and get quick benefit from a project management software, certainly usability and intuitiveness are some serious priorities. We like Wrike collaboration and project management because it allows you to view your projects progressing along Gantt charts, and already integrates with the tools you’re using every day like Google Docs, Dropbox, Box and your Outlook and Apple email.

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Tip #3: Avoid the common mistakes

Since project management apps put so many new tools and resources at your disposal, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Worse still, you can sometimes get caught letting the app do it all for you. That won’t work because you’re still steering the ship!

Here are some common mistakes to avoid as your transition to a cloud-based project management app:

  • Don’t set due dates and forget them! - stay engaged and make sure deadlines are being met

  • Don’t forget to assign everyone the tasks they need to complete - including yourself

  • Set priority levels - is it majorly important or mission critical?

  • Be specific - set reasonable expectations and be detailed as needed

  • Follow up - tasks left undone? Help get them done by following up in a timely fashion

  • Do some housekeeping - when a task is complete, clear it off the list

  • Stick to the strategy - revise as needed but don’t let the app manage the project on its own; manage the app!

And that last point may be the most pervasive issue of all when it comes to using a project management app. When you switch over to a project management app, the convenience of disseminating instructions to your team members certainly frees you up to tend to other aspects of your business.

But that’s a big mistake. You are just as much a part of your team as anyone. In fact, your leadership is the most important part of it. So the best piece of advice we can offer is that you use the communications and social tools in the project management app you choose to manage your team, set expectations, and drive results.

As the screenshot below shows, an app with robust management functions like Comindware puts you in the drivers seat, leading the team to get the job done.

Caption: Comindware screenshot showing Alex Scott in the leadership position.

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Tip #4: Compare several project managements apps before buying

The good news is there are plenty of project management apps tailored to suit a variety of organizations. The bad news is, many of them are not one-size-fits-all solutions. The size of your team, the number tasks involved in a given project, and the company culture of your business can all effect your decision of which project management app to buy.

Do you like to have a lot of fun at work? If so, you will find that some project management apps will offer more in the way of incentives and gamification than others, Do you need surgical precision in project execution? You’ll need to find a project management app that brings the pertinent information into focus with all the clutter if so.

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Are you ready to pick a project management app and make the switch?

To make your life a little easier, GetApp maintains a complete list of the current project management apps.

In addition, we’ve got plenty of head-to-head comparisons of project management apps to help you find the one that’s right for you.

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