Creative project management is crucial to a business' success. The right project management software will make planning, executing, and monitoring progress on a project easy, allowing you to centrally determine how your teams work and what they work on. This facilitates communication and allows you to keep a clear record of tasks, deadlines, and billable hours. 

However, with a wide range of project management tools on the market, it can be difficult to figure out precisely what you need. In this article, we'll run down the most important features to look for. 

What features should your project management software have?

Before we look at the features your chosen project management software should have, it's worth considering what is most important to you and your business.  

For best results, follow this simple process: 

  • Define your project management needs and budget
  • Research the various tools available 
  • Test the tool and encourage feedback from your workers
  • Buy and implement the software that tests best
  • Analyse how it has impacted your performance

You should also note that your company's needs can and will change over time. If you move from assigning tasks across a small team to managing larger, more complex projects, your software needs will shift as well. 

Make sure to reassess your needs regularly and, if necessary, go through the above steps again. 

The top 5 features for Project Management Software

1) Real-time updates 

When you're managing a project, you need to be able to stay on top of it as it develops. This means being able to view progress as soon as it happens. The best project management software understands this, and allows workers to report on their performance immediately. 

Even better, some project management software will automatically update as employees report on a task's progress. Scoro is especially good for this, as it can produce a Gantt chart based on automatic updates for all users. Project managers can then assign tasks through a simple drag-and-drop interface. 

2) Communication 

One of the most important elements of project management is ensuring proper communication among team members and between different teams. 

Poor communication can be a killer, leading to problems including: 

  • Missed deadlines due to calendars not syncing
  • Loss of key instructions and data
  • Time wasting, as multiple employees work on the same task 

Good project management software avoids these problems by letting you assign and manage tasks centrally, with quick updates on progress and clear deadlines for all team members. 

With more employees than ever working from home, understanding remote teams collaboration and putting a robust infrastructure in place to facilitate it will only become more important. 

3) Task automation 

Time is crucial in business, and the last thing you want to do is waste it by requiring employees to complete simple, repetitive tasks over and over. 

A good project management software allows workers to focus on what really matters by automating the basics. Rather than having to manually notify team members of a change, for instance, software can be set up to send automatic notifications and alerts. 

Some programs also support preset templates and bundles, again saving time by removing the need to manually set up each individual task. 

4) Billing and finance management 

Similarly, project management software can simplify billing and finances. It can do this with features such as: 

  • Automated billing and invoices
  • Automatically updated budget forecasts
  • Tracking of purchases, orders, and costs 
  • Comparison of forecasts to actual budgets
  • Comparisons across different teams, projects, and the company on the whole

5) Analysis and reporting 

Finally, project management software makes it easier than ever to produce reports and analyse performance. This is especially useful when assessing both campaigns and how well your project management tool is working. 

This also pairs well with assistance in billing: tracking projects through to completion can be crucial to overall success, and project management programs can help you produce more in-depth analyses by linking task completion, budgeting, and billing. 

The most important point to keep in mind when choosing project management software is to pick the one that's right for you. Of course, if you're part of a new startup, you might not know what's available. This is why it's so important to look at the different systems on the market and learn how you could help your business thrive.