We have all been there. An important deadline is looming, crucial tasks have not even been started and tools that are supposed to make things easier have suddenly stopped working. Welcome to the world of project management! These dire situations are usually caused by a combination of procrastination, poor time and resource management and unrealistic expectations. Fortunately, all this can often be avoided by setting clear goals, understanding what has to be accomplished to achieve those goals and using project management software designed to keep everyone focused and on track.
What Is Project Management?
It isn’t easy to effectively manage a project without first understanding what a project is. A project is a series of tasks that must be completed to achieve a predetermined goal. Projects have a beginning phase where goals are identified and tasks are assigned, a middle phase where most of the hard work is done and an ending or implementation phase. However, the key to successful project management is being realistic about the time and resources needed to complete the required tasks and anticipating the setbacks and frustrations encountered along the way. Fortunately, there are several project management solutions available that can help bloggers to avoid these pitfalls and be far more productive.
The Productivity Trap
It is often said today that no plan survives contact with the enemy. For bloggers, the enemies are usually scope creep and believing tasks that take a long time to complete can be taken care of quickly. We have all put off work that seems unappealing only to find ourselves facing a deadline crisis. These pitfalls happen all the time because even the smartest and most talented people tend to overestimate their abilities and underestimate the problems they will face. Jobs that we avoided because we believed we could complete them in minutes end up taking us hours and the time we have to get things accomplished dwindles far more quickly than the pile of work to be done.
Project Management Software
The good news is that project management software can help bloggers coordinate and work more effectively with their teams and save them valuable time by automating tedious tasks. The bad news is that there are a dizzying number of choices out there, and every software company claims their solution is the best. Here are a few of the things you should consider before choosing a project management solution for you and your team.The number of users: The cost of project management software is usually based on the number of people who will use it. Inexpensive and free solutions are available that may be sufficient for smaller teams, but enterprise plans with custom pricing are probably more appropriate for 15 or more users.Complexity: Project management software offered at little or no cost is often fine for simple projects, but a more robust set of features will be needed to handle complex tasks. The pitfall to avoid here is underestimating the challenges you will face during a project as not all of the solutions available are upgradeable or expandable. Managing tasks: Before choosing a project management solution, you should analyze the tasks that will need to be completed. Does one task have to be completed before the next one can be started or will you and your team be working on multiple tasks at once? Will tasks be handled by individuals or will it be a team effort? Will your project involve recurring tasks that must be completed each day, month or year? Customization: Is your blog growing quickly? Do you expect your team to be larger a year from now than it is today? Are the projects you will be working on in the future more complex than your current workload? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should limit your project management software choices to solutions that can be customized to meet your evolving needs.
Cloud-based or On-premise
Cloud-based project management solutions are extremely popular among bloggers because they can be accessed anywhere and do not require any infrastructure. They are normally offered on a subscription basis, with the monthly payment being determined by the number of users. On-premise project management software, which is installed on your computers rather than cloud servers, offers a higher level of security. However, it can only be accessed by devices connected to your network, is generally more expensive and an in-house maintenance team could be needed to handle updates and fix problems.
A Few Suggestions
The following is a list of five of the most popular project management software solutions currently available and the attributes that help them to stand out from the crowd. Zoho Projects: Bloggers choose Zoho Projects because it is scalable, capable of handling complex tasks, available for free and paid plans start at just $3 per user per month.Wrike: Huge companies like Google and Dell would not use Wrike project management software unless it was good. Known for its real-time communication features and custom dashboards and workflows, Wrike is available for less than $10 per month for teams of 15 or less. Teamwork: This software is especially good for bloggers who have team members who work remotely. Companies like Disney and Netflix use Teamwork for this very reason. You can pick and choose the Teamwork features you need, and prices start at $10 per month. Asana: If you want an impressive feature set but don’t have a big budget, Asana could be just what you need. The software has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and allows users to automate tasks. Asana’s free plan can be used by up to 15 people. Smartsheet: This software has been designed to handle extremely complex projects, which is why it has been chosen by three out of four Fortune 500 companies. Larger companies are offered custom pricing plans based on the size of their teams and the features they will be using, but up to three users can choose the Business plan for $25 per user per month.
Doing Your Homework
The right software can help you and your team to avoid anxiety, stress and slapdash work that are the hallmarks of poor project management, but identifying the ideal solution can be challenging. Poor choices can cast long shadows, but they can be avoided by doing proper due diligence, reading project management software reviews and finding out what both happy and unhappy users have to say. Once you have decided how you will handle projects and get the most out of your team, you can turn your attention to happier tasks such as finding new ways to make money from your blog.