As the manager of a marketing or creative services department, you have to make a lot of decisions. From hiring to assigning individual projects, you need to consider both the big picture and the granular details to ensure success for your team. But making decisions is always easier said than done. To be confident in your choices and become a better leader for your organization, you may need a little help.
Here are 3 reasons why a new project management tool could be the key to making better decisions and unlocking your potential as a true leader.
1. Keeping an eye on the big picture
One of the main responsibilities of any manager is to keep your department’s budget in line and limit unnecessary costs. But it would be a mistake to base business decisions solely on dollars and cents. While your projects should ultimately benefit the bottom line, you also need to consider the effect your decisions will have on team culture, employee satisfaction, interactions with company stakeholders, and so on. If you’re not looking at the whole picture, your team and company culture is going to suffer. In other words, as a marketing manager, your goals should be different from those of your accounting department.
Project management tools help make that holistic perspective readily available by highlighting all of the nuanced ways your team works. It shows you what your team needs to be successful so you can make decisions based on what’s best for the team and your processes, not just the bottom line. This is how project management software not only helps ensure you’re following best business practices, but can also help you foster a stronger company culture.
In sharing reports with leadership, you may get pushback from C-suite personnel who tend to be more focused on the financials than the creative and process side of things. But you can justify your decisions and gain the confidence of leadership more easily if you have the right data.
2. The importance of data accessibility
Most project managers know they need to be tracking top KPIs and using robust reports to inform their decision-making. But it’s the accessibility and immediacy of that data that’s really important. If you’re wasting hours compiling reports from Excel documents, you won’t be able to make the timely and effective decisions necessary to best support your team. Having the right data available when you need it is crucial for becoming the best leader you can be.
This is perhaps the greatest benefit of a project management tool. From dashboards that show team capacity at a glance to building more in-depth reports, software puts data at your fingertips. You can then use those insights to be a more effective manager.
For example, if you see that one of your team members is getting behind on their projects, you can reach out and see what they need to be more successful. This will not only strengthen the relationship by showing your employee that you care about their well-being and workload, but it will also help you avoid major delays and missed deadlines. In other words, the tool gives you the insight you need to make the human decisions that will most benefit your team. But that only happens if the data you need is readily available.
Ultimately, if you’re still waiting for the end of the month to compile reports, you can’t be the dynamic leader and decision-maker your company needs to maintain productivity and ensure a strong company culture.
3. Validating your decisions
We’ve already touched on how project management tools can provide the reports you need to justify decisions you’ve made to your C-suite and leadership teams. This will certainly be important for gaining the trust and buy-in you need to successfully lead your team. But project management software can also help you validate decisions to yourself and help you grow as a leader.
In using a project management tool, you can see exactly how your decisions are playing out, almost in real time. If reports show a new employee is exceeding their expected productivity levels, it reinforces the fact you made a great hire. If the reports show you made a misstep in how you structured your project workflows because things continually get delayed in the same way, you can immediately make corrections. The key is that you will have both the visibility and the consolidated data you need to validate your decisions and make even better ones in the future.
Also, because everyone is working in the same system and following the same procedures, it provides a level of predictability for your processes that can help ensure consistently positive outcomes. In other words, a project management tool provides a mechanism for both implementing and measuring your decisions to make sure that you’re always moving in the right direction.
There will always be some level of intuition involved in decision-making, and there’s an argument to be made that some people are just naturally better leaders than others. But when you have a project management tool, you can elevate your decision-making process. By helping you maintain the necessary perspective, putting data at your fingertips and helping you justify decisions to yourself and others, project management software can give you the tools to become the leader your organization needs.