If you’ve ever managed a project, from a big important one at work to a small personal one like planning a dinner party, then you know just how much time it’s possible to lose while you track down missing information and tie up loose ends.
The more complex your project, the harder it gets to keep track of everything that’s going on.
For a personal project, the solution may be as simple as using labelled folders to organise your communications, and keeping a to-do list for yourself and for everyone who’s helping on your project. You can choose to do that with real old-fashioned paper, or digitally with email folders and online checklists.
But what can you do when you need a more productive system for managing a business project?
What Cloud Project Management Tools Do For You
Project management in the cloud has many benefits. One of the biggest benefits for business is that SaaS project management applications are typically highly customisable, giving you lots of configuration options and allowing you to choose the settings that suit your needs.
Some of the other benefits of cloud computing for project management include:
• Easy online access – you can log in to your SaaS project management application from any internet-enabled device, whenever you need it.
• Scalable multi-tenant configuration – give your team online access to the relevant areas of your project management software online, and you’ll get real time information about their tasks and progress.
• Oversight and insight – see what’s up whenever you like with built-in metrics, analysis and reporting modules to help you stay up-to-date and fully informed.
• No need to install any software or hardware – this saves you time as well as money, and you won’t need an IT technician at your office to get everything working.
• Customisation without coding – configurable SaaS tools mean that you don’t need to understand programming to adjust the software to your requirements.
• Collaborative working – many cloud-based project management applications include teleconferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, file sharing, and other online collaboration tools.
• Resource and information sharing – create centralised resources like databases, document libraries and calendars in the Cloud so that the right people have access to the latest version at all times.
• Technology maintained by the service provider – with SaaS, your service provider spends their time and effort on maintenance, upgrades, and other technical concerns, so you don’t have to.
How to Find Your Perfect Project Management Tool
If your projects are too large or too important to entrust to basic pen-and-paper or a legacy user-created project management system, how can you work out which of the many project management software options is the right one for you?
It’s important that the software you choose should boost your productivity without first forcing you to waste time tackling a long, slow learning curve before you get up to speed. So ideally, you’ll want to seek out project management tools that require little or no training to use.
The other thing to look at is the feature set: does it offer everything you need now and everything you’re likely to want in the future? Look at the cost of the different packages and options available, too. If there are several pricing tiers, is the package that includes everything you need offered at a price that fits with your budget?
One last thing to check for is a free trial or evaluation account so that you can test out the tool with your own projects and see exactly how it works for you before you make any commitment. Try out your top choices for long enough to get a real feel for them, so you can make your final decision with confidence; then go with the tool that improved your productivity the most.