Are you a remote worker trying to recall which projects have upcoming deadlines? Or maybe you are a manager trying to juggle multiple team members? Each project has a set of goals, issues, and every team member has the same.Each project has a set of goals and issues. Enter project management software. Click To Tweet
How do you keep this all straight in your head or on an Excel spreadsheet? The simple answer is you don’t. But what is the alternative? Enter project management software solutions.
According to Techopedia, project management software is software used for project planning, scheduling, resource allocation and change management. It basically gives project managers (PMs), stakeholders and users the ability to control costs and manage budgeting, quality management and documentation and also may be used as an administration system for managing employees. Project management software is also used for collaboration and communication between project stakeholders.
Do I really need project management software?
You may be saying I don’t have an unlimited budget nor time to learn a new software program. Most project management software comes at a low cost or is even free. As for the time factor, if you know what to look for in project management software, then the set-up and learning curve should be fairly easy.
Project management software will make your life easier. Here are some ways it can simplify your life:
- Organization: If you have ever misplaced files or missed deadlines, a great project management software can help you stay organized. Not only will it show you all your project details in one area, but will give you an overall snapshot of your entire workload.
- Communication: Whether you are in an office of one or manage a company, you need to talk to people. This is challenging with employees in different time-zones or when you’re trying to get a hold of clients for a quick question. Project management software lets you create boards where all of your communication can be stored in one central area. This simplifies the communication process.
- Planning: If your day starts off with a “to-do” list that suddenly gets derailed or you underestimate how long a project will take, project management software will help. With this software, you can look at your work history for similar projects and see how long those projects took. That way, you can plan timelines better in the future to keep your “to-do” list on track.
Is project management for Mac different than PC?
Before we get into what specific features to look for in project management software for Mac, let’s talk Mac. Chances are you use a Mac because of its design and functionality. Plus, Mac users tend to be creative and visual learners.
With that said, you’ll want to look for a project management solution that mirrors a Mac interface. Luckily, there are several options available today. Overall, the best project management software for Mac users will be something that is easy to set up, you can start using right away, and offers a great design.
Determining which one is best
But how do you determine which one fits best with your organization or for managing yourself? You can pay for more advanced features like resource allocation or timeline predication but when first starting out with a virtual assistant project management tool, look for simple features that will give you the most bang for your buck.
There are several free or inexpensive project management software for Mac users. Basically, you want this software to bring your team together or if you’re a freelancer, organize your projects to save you time.
We’ve compiled a list of simple key features to look for in your project management software for your Mac.
Manage people, not timecards
Simple online timesheets that reduce administration so you can focus on what’s most important - your people and clients.
Key features for Mac users to look for in project management software
- Task management: According to Software Advice, 70 percent of users in their 2016 buyer report for project management viewed task management as an essential feature of project management software. So this is a fundamental feature you too will want to have in your project management software. It gives the ability to create “to-do” lists and track tasks that have been assigned and completed either by other team members or for yourself. This function also helps you to view and improve your own productivity or that of your employees. Plus, this is visible to everyone in a central dashboard along with deadline reminders. Try MeisterTask, a newer project management app that does a great job of task management. You can simply drag and drop tasks to move them around.
- Time Tracking: This is another essential feature and one that will keep you on track and gives you the ability to tackle more projects. Using a company like Hubstaff, you can view employee screenshots to see what everyone is working on at any given time. This not only keeps employees on track, but keeps projects running on time. You can also see where there is room for improvement and make adjustments. Additionally, a built-in time tracking feature lets time be tracked without employees or remote workers even thinking about it. It simply tracks time automatically as you work. This cuts down on remembering what you did on which project and for how long.
- Communication: Although the best project management for Mac users will display everything visually on a central dashboard, communication is still key. You want to choose a project management system that allows you to communicate quickly and effectively. For example, Kanban apps like Trello are great for loosely spec’ed work. On the opposite end, JIRA is great for development or highly structured projects.
- Reports/Snapshots: A key feature in the the best project management software includes reporting. While some software offers advanced reporting like Project or Basecamp, you also pay a premium price for these services. When you are choosing an initial project management software, simple reporting is more than effective for your needs. Plus, you are not spending all your budget dollars just on project management.
To keep costs low and still get reporting features, look for a project management software that offers reports on project budget, project completion, and reports on activity level per employee. There are several free or low cost project management systems that offer this great reporting. Try YouTrack which is free for up to 10 users. With YouTrack, you can create a burnout chart, QA reports, timeline reports, and more.
How can I be better at project management?
Besides utilizing one of the best project management software programs for your Mac, you should also learn more about project management in general.
This will help you in your business and also with learning your new project management software.
Take a project management class
Try taking a class online. There are several worthy options available that will teach you more about the ins and outs of being great at project management. Plus, taking a course online lets you take it on your own schedule and keep your costs low at the same time.
Follow key industry experts
There are some great project management industry leaders today. As Susanne Madsen says, “When you give away some of your power, your team will take on more responsibility and will be motivated and learn to grow.” Words of wisdom for any aspiring project manager learning to meet goals and expand their business. Follow Susanne and other key project management leaders for the keys to success easily on Twitter. Another cost-effective way to learn the industry:
- Terri Bauman: @TerriBauman
- Susanne Madsen: @SusanneMadsen
- Michael Kaplan: @mkaplanPMP
- Lindsay Scott: @projectmgmt
- Hala Saleh: @HalaSaleh1
- Charles J. Pampliega: @CJPampliega
- Falk Schmidt: @FalkSchmidt
- Elizabeth Harrin: @pm4girls
- Daniel Ecceverria: @dnlecheverria
- Brad Egeland: @begeland
Subscribe to project management blogs
Project management can be a complex issue and it varies industry to industry. With that said, there are trends within project management that can work across all industries. These trends keep evolving and that’s why you should pay attention to them. Just like subscribing to a news channel, you should also subscribe to some of these blogs to stay on top of the latest and best project management practices.
What project management needs do you have?
Project management can be tricky to master. But choosing one of the best project management software for your Mac, will make your life easier. Only spend money on the key features that you really need and know that there are several free or low cost options available.
Are you considering using a project management software or do you already use one? Please comment below and let us know your thoughts.