Reason Why You Should Use a Project Management Tool #1: Have One Source of Truth
Having one source of truth is incredibly important for a business. This essentially means that you have one version of the truth, instead of multiple places where the same data is stored, and when something changes (i.e. a customer updates their phone number) then someone needs to remember to update the data in all the right places.
Inevitably, this never actually ends up happening! You end up with spreadsheets and documents on various people’s computers with out of sync data, post it notes scattered around with important information, and everyone is tapping on each other’s shoulder several times a day to get little pieces of information that should be readily available in a self-serve platform.
A good project management tool can help you ensure that all information is in one place, not all over the place.
Reason Why You Should Use a Project Management Tool #2: Discussions in One Place
The real reason why email sucks for internal communication is that it's not tied to any actionable items or a todo list, and then people start to use their email inbox as a todo list, and that discussions start to spread across various different email threads with different people.
Having on-topic discussions is key to moving things forwards fast.
This means that you know the one place you can go to find that particular topic, and you'll find all the opinions and documents related to that particular subject, so you can take your next steps to help things happen.
Having to use multiple apps (file storage, meeting minutes, email) just to find out what's happening for a particular topic is a great
Reason Why You Should Use a Project Management Tool #3: Promote Transparency.
Transparency is a good thing. It gives team members the required information and context to make great decisions, and it can also be used to create positive peer pressure. For instance, you can make your team expense requests public across your entire team, and you can then rest assured that expenses that would normally be filed but are either invalid or unnecessary, will stop being filed as the entire team can now see them, and so there is a greater level of accountability.
The other fantastic way that good project management tools can promote transparency is when someone joins a project half-way through. This will happen way more often that one would imagine, and the usual problems then start surfacing:
How do you get everything our of everyone’s email inboxes to show the new guy/girl what’s been going on? And even if you do forward this unfortunate person 50 or 60 emails and all the replies to their inbox, how can they possibly make sense of it without having to take days or weeks to get up to speed?
By having an activity feed or a timeline, great project management tools also act as a historical record of everything that has happened. This means that anyone joining the project at a later date can easily get an overview of what happened when, and get up to speed in a fraction of the time they would normally take.
Reason Why You Should Use a Project Management Tool #4: Create Good Process
I used to hate the word “process”, because to me that would mean “bureaucracy”, but that’s not actually the case.
Bureaucracy is actually process gone crazy. I've worked as a consultant for a significant number of large companies, and the litmus test for bureaucracy is that it is actually funny, if you take a moment to step back and asses the situation.
"In any bureaucracy, there's a natural tendency to let the system become an excuse for inaction." Chris Fussell
However, it doesn't have to be that way. Good process has a certain number of characteristics that set it apart from needless bureaucracy:
- It's simple - Good process is actually simple and clear, and does not requirement anything other than a set of bullet points with descriptions, and perhaps a flow-chart if there are a lot of choices to be made during the process.
- It reflects reality - Process must be grounded in reality. It cannot ask the impossible from team members or expect that there will never be a mistake.
- It can be changed - The key point here is that following the process is not what is important, but getting the results that one is looking for is the key idea. Changing process to adapt to new conditions or situations is important, otherwise you might find yourself doing something really stupid in the name of "following the rules".
Reason Why You Should Use a Project Management Tool #5: Cut Down On Meetings
Meeting are quite a large hidden expense for organizations. If you have a two hour meeting with your team, with a total of eight people attending, this is not a two-hour meeting, it's a 16 hour meeting!
Multiple that by the wages being paid to everyone, and these meetings can become expensive fast.
In addition, meetings are not always the best way to hash things out. By writing down your points and posting them for everyone to see, you give time for people to read and digest the information, and then to reply in their own time with their ideas and points.