Project Management

5 warning signs it’s time to look for a project management tool

Should you or shouldn’t you? It’s a question many teams ask when trying to decide whether to invest in a project management tool. The warning signs are there, but you’ve been meeting your expectations, to varying degrees of success, with simple workarounds thus far.

Now, however, the workarounds are becoming more numerous and you’re trying to decide if it’s finally time to say enough is enough and invest in a project management tool of your own. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of our top signs that it’s time to look for a project management tool. If any of them apply to you, it’s probably time to step away from your workarounds and embrace all that a project management tool can do for your team.

Reason #1: Work is executed at unpredictable and off-schedule times

Simply put, if this is happening to you, the flow of work is not consistent. This results in people sitting around waiting on bottlenecks, hampering productivity. Then when work does finally arrive, your team members feel they have to cram to finish their part. This flow of work is not affording for consistent slack between the various people doing the work. A project management tool, however, would provide insight into current and potential future bottlenecks and help you smooth out these workflow concerns before they become a major problem.

Reason #2: Deadlines are missed at random intervals

This is a big one, and a reason many teams decide to turn to a project management tool. You may have started your project with the best of intentions and established a proper timeline. However, despite your efforts, your team inexplicably misses deadlines. The problem is that the flow of work is not coordinated. A project management tool can help you establish a single source of truth that allows team members to work together toward a common goal and lets everyone know what’s expected of them at every stage of a project.

Reason #3: Your team never seems to have the right information at the right time

When a new person starts a task, they should have all they need in front of them. In many cases, however, this simply isn’t true. Project management tools can fix this by helping to organize the flow and storage of information. Without consistently having the right info at their fingertips, deadlines will be missed, and people will scramble around assembling data instead of doing their own tasks. It’s better to head this potential concern off early and allow your team, both new and experienced, to carry on with what they should be doing to keep the project moving forward.

Reason #4: Your team claims to be overworked, yet metrics do not reflect that

The data and the environment are telling you two different things. However, teams often feel overworked when stress levels get high and work is sporadic. Even though on paper your team may not be over on hours or producing as much revenue/quantity of work as expected, they are experiencing burnout from the lack of organization. Listen to your team and dig deeper into why they feel the way they do. Chances are a project management tool can solve the issues they are facing.

Reason #5: Your best resources do not feel valued

This can be especially true in the creative world. Companies sometimes splurge on top talent in an effort to shape their internal or client efforts and push their business into new territory. Yet these investments are often wasted when the technical environment is not strong enough to get the most out of the talent that was hired. If you have strong people on your team, but feel their quality is less than what you’d expect, examine how work gets to them and the time they are afforded to complete this work. Are they victims of a shabby system? If so, it’s up to you to right that wrong and make use of the considerable talent already within your org chart.

A Note on Transitioning Systems

If you’ve made the decision that now is the time to implement a new project management tool, take heart that the prep work is always harder than the follow-through. Choosing your new project management system is always the scariest part. Once a new tool is purchased, if you’ve done your up-front work and are confident it will fit well into your system, your team should be able to transition just fine.

And as the transition process begins, remember that over-communicating is best. Explain to your team why the change is needed, how the new system will address those needs, and what is required of them to make the change. Rely on your provider as much as possible to make this change easy and know that while the initial search can be nerve-wracking, the resulting benefits to you and your team will be worth it in the end.

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