Over the past few years, the nature of collaboration has changed. Team members aren’t strictly confined to the office setting anymore now that remote work has become more widespread. These days, it’s not unusual for teams to collaborate from different parts of the country, or in the case of big corporations, from different corners of the globe. And if you’re in charge of multiple team members working on various projects, email communication and spreadsheets aren’t enough to ensure efficient collaboration. You’ll need a smart management solution that keeps you connected with your team members at all times.
But with so many management platforms out there, it might be difficult finding the right one for you. Here is a list of four must-have features to look for in any collaborative platform, so that your projects will run smoothly, regardless of your specific goals and expectations.
1. Cloud-based technology
A decade ago, most software solutions stored data on hard drives. This made remote collaboration challenging, as you were restricted to the computers your software was loaded on. These days, collaborating has never been easier. Cloud technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms enable you to retrieve data from anywhere, not just office computers. Now you can also access important information from your mobile device and home computer and share documents with team members with the push of a button.
To get the most of cloud technology, look for a collaboration platform that allows you to upload documents onto cloud storage, where you can then share and collaborate with team members and stakeholders. That way, everyone has access to the same information at all times, and it eliminates problems arising as a result of computer malfunctions.
2. Workflow management tools
A good project management solution is one that brings everyone together. For remote collaboration to be effective, teams must keep an open line of communication at all times. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done when project managers are assigning tasks over email.
Then came the development of digital planning tools. Features like Kanban boards and Gantt charts allow managers and teams to:
- Organize tasks more efficiently. Managers can delegate assignments to team members based on priority, as well as arrange tasks based on their current status.
- Increase communication. Most workflow tools have a built-in communication platform where members can share information and change objectives when needed.
- Track progress. With workflow management tools, you can schedule deadlines for one or more tasks, track milestones, and even chart out your progress visually in graphs to get a better understanding of what has been accomplished.
Another helpful feature that you might want to consider is time tracking. Depending on your project, you could be expected to record the hours employees spend working on tasks. Time-tracking tools automate the entire process for you, so you don’t have to devote your time to calculating the hours each employee has worked.
3. A visual representation of your workload
Along with the workflow tools mentioned above, it’s important to have a solution that allows you to map out your workload, letting you arrange projects by their status and priority. Moreover, having a visual representation of the workflow from start to finish enables everyone to know what’s been accomplished and what tasks are remaining, making it easier for managers to delegate tasks more efficiently.
Platforms that update the status of a task in real time increase the accuracy of the project’s reports. As such, managers gain a better sense of how long it will take for projects to be completed, as well as what additional resources (if any) need to be allocated to ensure project success.
4. The ability to track multiple projects
The purpose of project management software is to make collaboration easier. To ensure this is the case, your management platform should actively:
- Remove barriers inhibiting collaboration.
- Make it easier for managers, stakeholders, and team members to track the status of various projects.
Having access to information is an essential part of project management. For tasks to be completed smoothly and efficiently, managers need to know:
- What resources they have on hand and where resources are being allocated.
- Up-to-date reporting on the progress of all tasks within a project.
- What tasks team members are working on.
One of the bigger challenges project managers face is tracking down and compiling these metrics. Even with the help of project management software that automatically records this information, having to locate each individual performance indicator is time-consuming and inefficient. For this reason, consider rolling out a software solution with a built-in dashboard that delivers all your project information in one convenient location.
Project Management Software Combines Accessibility with Efficiency
The success of your project depends on how well you’re able to collaborate with your team members. When people are thrown head-first into a project without any communication or structure, the result is chaos and inefficiency. On the other hand, when team members are included in a platform designed to increase collaboration and keep your workflow organized, people tend to work smarter and get more accomplished.
While project management software is useful for everyone, regardless of how big or the task, it’s especially helpful for managers in charge of multiple large-scale projects. If you’re the project manager of an enterprise-level company and you’re not using collaborative tools in your day-to-day operations, you’re not working as efficiently as you could be. Regardless of whether you’re collaborating remotely with team members or working together in an office setting, these tools make it easier to record and track progress, share updates, and ensure that everyone is working on the right tasks.
What’s more, project management solutions that include the four elements mentioned above further enhance the workflow by increasing project transparency. The advantage of that is that you always know the status of your projects, just as if you were working the tasks yourself.
By rolling out a project collaboration solution that includes these elements, you’re able to maximize collaboration without having to double the amount of time spent overseeing your projects. This is because effective project collaboration platforms automate key parts of the management process, measuring progress and generating reports, which leaves you with more time to spend planning new projects.
Increase Productivity by Working Smarter, not Harder
In today’s fast-paced world, project managers are often expected to get more accomplished in less amount of time. Fortunately, smart collaborative work management software makes it easier for teams to organize and work together by removing communication barriers and workflow opacity. By working on a platform that makes it easier for team members, managers, and stakeholders to come together to share ideas, you’re able to reduce the likelihood of human error or scope creep, both of which can be detrimental to your project’s success.