What project management tools should every business be using?
By: Jill Huettich
Are you wondering whether your business could benefit by using project management tools? Wonder no longer, let’s cut right to the chase—yes, it absolutely could!
Project management tools can make a huge difference in how effectively your business orchestrates and implements projects that are critical to its success.
This isn’t just idle conjecture either. In fact, research shows that a whopping 77% of high-performance projects use project management tools.
And interestingly enough, statistics indicate that some of the major causes of project failure are related to problems that good project management tools are designed to prevent.
For instance, the top five causes of project failure are:
- Change in the organization’s priorities (39%)
- Change in project objectives (37%)
- Inaccurate requirements gathering (35%)
- Inadequate vision (29%)
- Poor communication (29%)
Arguably, the two most common causes of project failure may not be avoidable, even with project management tools.
However, it’s possible that had those businesses used good project management tools to begin with, they would have fleshed out their projects more carefully in the beginning. Having done so, they may have gotten their organization’s priorities and project objectives correct the first time.
As for the last three causes of project failure, project management tools most certainly would have helped, since they’re specifically designed to prevent those types of problems.
So, clearly project management tools are valuable, but which ones and why? That’s what this article aims to explore—which project management tools are essential to businesses of all sizes, and how those businesses can benefit as a result of using them.
Two project management tools to use at your company
There are two different PM tools that are enormously helpful to businesses in virtually any industry: project management mind mapping tools and project management visualization tools. So, let’s go over each in depth, reviewing what exactly these tools do and how they’re helpful.
Project management mind mapping tools
A project management mind mapping tool makes it easy for businesses to track related ideas in a visual way. Think for a minute about your typical Internet experience. You might start out reading a political article and the next thing you know, you’re on a blog learning how many letters there are in the Hawaiian alphabet (we’ll save you the time: 12).
That’s a good example of how our brains work. They jump from one subject to another, forming various connections along the way. In short, they don’t proceed in a logical, Point A-to-Point B fashion.
A project management mind mapping tool is useful, because it allows you to visually see connections between related topics. This provides you with a big picture overview of an entire project management process. That big picture overview is enormously helpful when you consider the statistic shared earlier in this article, that 29% of projects fail from inadequate vision.
Additionally, project management mind mapping tools are incredibly versatile and can be used for such diverse tasks as:
- Jotting meeting minutes visually
- Defining a project’s scope
- Breaking that scope into smaller tasks
- Managing a team
- Conducting effective presentations
- Planning a project
- Solving specific business problems
- Collaborating on key tasks & projects
- Making better decisions
- Storing relevant ideas
Plus, project management mind mapping tools can also save time.
For instance, mind mapping tool, MindManager, has what we refer to as project management map templates. These templates, along with the software’s pre-built map topics, help businesses ramp up quickly when they need to create project charters, plans, statuses, and timelines.
Here are some downloadable examples of MindManager’s project management mind map templates.
Project management template
Project charter template
Project timeline template
Project Management Visualization Tools
Project management visualization tools integrate data visualization tools with communication, reporting, and task management. This is one reason they’re ideal for streamlining project management while, at the same time, boosting team collaboration.
For instance, think about the typical project … usually it consists of data related to resources, timelines, costs, task dependencies, and even more than that, but you get the general idea.
This mountain of data can definitely be overwhelming, especially when relevant project management information is scattered among multiple spreadsheets and stand-alone documents.
By contrast, a project management visualization tool enables everything to be stored visually in a single place for greater efficiency, better time management, and deeper insights.
So, we’ve definitely covered a lot here. Let’s quickly sum it all up. The main benefits of a project management visualization tool are that:
- It saves time.
- It simplifies data by storing it in a centralized location.
- It shows the impact on a project when important variables change.
- It helps you make informed decisions.
- It makes it easier to focus on key tasks.
- It lets you see and adapt to risks before they cause your project to implode.
- It communicates your metrics and progress in real-time.
- It improves team/project collaboration.
- It keeps the vision initially established for your project on track.
And with project management visualization tools’ numerous data visualization features, it truly can be said these tools offer something for everyone. For instance, MindManager provides the following different ways to visualize data:
- Gantt charts
- Process management
- Project planning
- And much, much more!
As you can see, good project management tools are fundamental to business success. If executing on the basics of project management is the first step toward success, then using the right visual project management tool is the secret weapon to take you across the finish line.
Not only do these tools provide teams with more direction, but they also make it much simpler to see the forest from the trees, so key project information can be obtained at a glance.
Still, having said that, not just any software will do. When it comes to something as important as project management, you need the right software.