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The only constant in the world is change, and the same is true for project management. As technologies have evolved and paradigms shifted, the processes by which managers and business owners have organized and tracked their teams have transformed. Fortunately, almost all of the changes have been for the better.
With innovation in areas such as social media, and the development of project management software, life has been made easier for everyone in the office (or working from home). Managers don't have to keep track of every project in a spreadsheet any more, and employees no longer have to physically clock in for every shift.
Plus, the advancements in project management technology have improved productivity. In fact, companies that use project management technology are more likely to hit objectives (76%) than those that don't (61%), according to a study from PMI.
So how exactly has technology changed project management? For the better! In this article, we'll explain some of the specific ways technology improved project management, while also providing some examples of the best options for your business.
How Technology Has Changed Project Management
In just a few short decades, project management has gone from a pen-and-paper type of process to an automated, organized powerhouse of time tracking, project progress, and team communication. Here are some ways that technology has changed project management in the last few years for the better:
Filing cabinets, once essential organizational tools, have become all but obsolete when it comes to project management. Technology makes it possible to back up all your data on an ongoing basis, and keep records on file even when your computer crashes.
By storing everything in the cloud or on a secure and separate hard drive, you can be certain your project will not fail due to a computer glitch.
Advances in communication technology via messaging, email, telephone, video calls, and more have provided the opportunity to telecommute and work from any location, whether in your own home or on the road.
One study shows that nearly 4.7 million Americans are currently working from home at least half the time. Projects can now be managed more flexibly, involve a wider global workforce and suffer fewer delays.
Keeping up with deadlines
Without an interactive technological platform, keeping up with multiple deadlines across company divisions and project stages can be extremely difficult at best. With new technology and software, collaborators can stay on schedule and complete tasks in a way that everyone is comfortable with.
The invention of Excel spreadsheets was revolutionary when it came to keeping track of business expenses, but the formulas are complicated, especially when you have multiple varieties of expenses to manage.
Modern project management software and business budgeting programs have simplified that challenge because they pretty much do the math for you. And it works! 50% of large businesses, 55% of mid-market businesses, and 64% of small businesses see an improved ROI from using budget tracking technology, in the first year.
How much time did you spend on that last task? You probably weren’t watching the clock, even though it’s an essential part of managing your project and properly billing the client.
New project management software will help you calculate or track the time spent on each project so you don’t have to pay such close attention to the clock.
Websites that host and encourage a high amount of social interaction not only help you to reach out to customers and clients, but also help you stay on top of your tasks. You can now receive task status updates through Twitter, and communicate with team members and clients through Facebook and other social media platforms.
The value of social media for sharing information between project managers is substantial as well. In fact, 61% of managers use social media as a means of gleaning information about a project, which means you should probably give it a try as well.
Project Management Software
Arguably of the biggest technological change to project management has been the development of project management software. These handy platforms are designed to make it as easy as possible to manage your team and track progress through your many projects, bringing all the above benefits and more.
Some of the best solutions include:
If you're new to project management software, monday is going to be the perfect pick for you. This platform offers an incredibly easy to use interface, even for beginners, so you won't spend a lot of time training your team on how to use it. Additionally, monday offers a lot of customization and a strong support team, so you can get it to work how you want it with a little help from the experts.
Check out our monday.com review for more information
On a budget when it comes to project management software? Wrike not only provides a stellar experience, but it also offers a surprisingly robust free plan that can get you started at no cost to your team, forever. It can be a bit complicated to use on mobile, but the platform overall is quite easy to use and shouldn't create any problems for your team during the learning process.
Check out our Wrike pricing guide for more information
It can take a lot of power to manage a whole team's projects, and ClickUp is up for the task. This robust software offers a lot of features to handle your team's every need, with some serious customizability behind it so you can mix and match your tracking needs as you see fit. All these features and customizability can be a bit intimidating to new users, but it's more than worth it when it comes to all you get.
Check out our ClickUp pricing guide for more information
For a further glimpse into the industry, take a look at the table below, and see all the top software solutions that are changing the game for project managers today.
BEST ALL ROUND
BEST WORK OS
BEST FREE TIER
A great task management system due to strong customizablity and support team, with a generous Free Trial period.
Slick, simple software with a powerful core, plus a genuinely usable free tier for individuals, and great value plans for teams.
A feature-rich service with a plain interface that's easy to learn, and has a free tier option to try.
All-around great software, thanks to ease of use and a scalable pricing scheme.
A solid project management solution with an attractive free tier for small teams, as well as great automations that can help speed up workflows
Best for client-facing businesses, since it offers great service features.
A simple project management platform with a strong feature set and an impressive free tier.
A fairly-priced, stripped-down option best for small teams.
A great tool for spreadsheet-natives, which can take your Excel-based task planning to the next level, and there's a free trial, too.
An enterprise solution aimed at large companies.
A pricey service best for companies invested in Microsoft.
A feature-rich software with a pricing scheme best for mid-sized teams.
A management tool with a complex functionality.
Taking Advantage of Technology
If you're looking to get started with project management software, we don't blame you. It improves productivity through automation and organization, so you can focus on big picture items rather than data input.
There are a few things to consider before making a decision though. With so many options and so many pricing plans available from each, the right software can look very different from company to company. Here are the factors you should think about before you commit:
Size of your company
Project management services are aimed at different sized businesses. They offer different limits on projects and users, so you want to make sure you consider the size of your company before deciding on a platform. Additionally, each platform offers different pricing plans aimed at different sized businesses, so be sure to check those out while doing your research.
You may be looking for a specific feature when it comes to project management software. Each platform offers a wide range of features, but not all of them provide the same offerings. You can typically find a feature list that will give you a bit more insight into exactly what each platform offers, so you can pick the best fit solution for your needs.
Are you new to project management software? Then there's a good chance you're going to need some help getting everything set up. Fortunately, most platforms offer great support options, but you'll want to compare hours and methods of contact before you buy, so you know what you're in for.
Technology has made project planning and execution so much easier today. With the right tools up your sleeve, you can see significant improvements in your processes and bottom line.
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