Using a project management app to boost team productivity

Posted by Benjamin Schaye Benjamin Schaye on .

As a boss or project manager, you need to constantly ensure your team is on task and maximising productivity. You also are a human being and probably don’t want your team to hate you, so that rules out slave-driving them to project completion. That leaves you with one option - making changes so that everyone is working smarter and more efficiently, and that goes a long way to explaining the mushrooming market for project management apps and software since that’s exactly what they do.

We’ve found three key areas that are paramount to boosting productivity, and unsurprisingly, each of them is directly impacted by project management apps. It’s worth taking a closer look at each of them to gain insight on productivity in general. And if you’re already using a program to manage all of the smaller tasks within a project, thinking about these three things will help decide if the app’s features are helping as much as they should be. There is no single best project management platform; rather there are a number of well-made ones, each with their own features that may or may not make them the right fit for any given team.

Effective lines of communication

When a team isn’t working together in a project management app, communication issues are almost sure to creep up. Messages can be missed, people can get bogged down with too many memos that are irrelevant to their tasks, there’s very little accountability over poor communication problems, and trying to look back to find an older message can be frustrating and time consuming.

Think about all of the different ways you’ve received memos and messages before, even on the same project. Just off the top of our heads there’s email, printed memos, post it notes left on desks or the edge of a colleague’s monitor, minutes of a meeting (attractively and annoyingly presented all glossy and bound), and of course, the oral message - “I told you right after the Monday’s lunch meeting, what do you mean you didn’t know about it?”

If you’re making software, there may even be some added informal lines of communication as two programmers friendly with one another may exchange project ideas in a messaging app where they’re discussing after work drink plans. Having all of your project communication scattered over so many channels is a recipe for communication breakdown.

Just about any project management app will provide a better alternative to the usual mix-and-match of messaging that plagues so many projects that forego using the software. Having all of your communication in the proper place means it’s easy to find, only those who need to see it will have to read it, and provides accountability as no message can get lost or missed in the jumble. Being on the same page as everyone else on your team virtually ensures increased productivity.

Proper prioritisation

Our human attention spans are short enough as it is, and adding in a computer screen seems to crop them even further. Even the most diligent workers can get distracted or overwhelmed by a project with lots of moving pieces. By using a project management app to lay out all of the tasks that need doing, as well as the order in which they’re needed, there’s no issue of what to do next.

Being distracted by future work is pointless, and we know it to be, but it happens to most people anyway because our brains don’t internally prioritise tasks well. Great project management software shows everyone what they need to be doing so they can dive right into doing it, and not worry about tomorrow’s task.

A bird’s eye view

The biggest benefit of organising your tasks using a project management app is that it lets you step back and see the whole picture. Even more than that, it allows you different levels of zoom to look at the entire project, or to focus in on a specific task or even look deeper into subtasks. A well designed app will give you one place to see upcoming deadlines, the pace toward completion, places where you’re falling behind, and tasks that may require extra attention.

The dashboard area in well-designed project management software is like your own mission control centre. It lets a project manager check in on just about any part of a project without bothering the team members who are busy completing their own tasks. Seeing the whole picture lets the project manager anticipate problems and shift assets to cover them before they occur.

Updatey - lean and effective project management

We’ve recently launched version 3 of our own app Updatey. We thought it was pretty good before, and our users seemed to agree, but we’ve simplified it further and added in some features that we’re really happy with. Project managers can get a great view from above in the overview tab where they can see progress on each task either as time elapsed vs remaining, or as effort expended.

The workspace makes it super easy to see the whole project, or to quickly peer into the guts and goals of each milestone. Comments can be added to the task or subtask, and your main project notes can be centralised. Updatey also features time tracking, and a feature called Snapshot that makes fully customisable reports to share with clients, investors or other stakeholders without giving full access or any login information.

We know Updatey won’t be the right solution for every single project out there, but we’re confident that there are a lot of them that would see a productivity boost from its implementation. If you haven’t found the right software for your project, we hope you’ll give Updatey a chance. You can try it totally free, with no credit card needed. It may be just what you need to up your team’s productivity, without resorting to the lash.