Project Management Tools: Benefits and DrawbacksThe Flow TeamLast Updated: June 4, 2020
Teams everywhere are trying to do more with less. But it’s not about minimization; it’s about maximization. Streamlining processes that take up a lot of time frees up space for us to apply our creative efforts in more productive ways.
Project management tools are certainly not a new invention. Teams have been using, swapping, and updating tools long enough to understand the many benefits—and some of the missing pieces to those solutions. And that enduring search for better options is likely why you’re here.
It’s time to look beyond the project management tools’ benefits that are considered common such as to-do-lists, chat apps, or calendars. Innovative teams have been demanding further innovation of these productivity solutions for years. But if you know where to look, you’ll find comprehensive options that maximize the benefits your team cares about while eliminating many of the drawbacks of the traditional piecemeal approach to project management.
What Are Project Management Tools?
At their most basic, project management tools are software solutions designed to organize and track projects. These tools are used in many office settings, and they take on additional importance for distributed and remote teams. In fact, cloud-based project management tools lie at the heart of remote teamwork. At their best, these tools allow teams to work together in smarter, more efficient ways.
Some of the most popular tools include:
- Slack: private and group communication
- Todist: to-do lists
- Google Calendar: shareable calendars
- Harvest: billing and time tracking
- Zoom: video conferencing
Each of these tools is designed to address a different element of the project management process. If you need to brainstorm together, you can hop into Slack for a group chat. If you want to set up a Zoom meeting that works for multiple participants, you can easily check your teammates’ calendars for availability and send invites. In other words, project management tools help you connect, share ideas, and get things done more efficiently.
Many of these kinds of tools work very well together, but they don’t offer an inherent strategy for integrations. So, teams that continue to rely on various tools like these are piecing them together manually, which can dilute some of their productive potential.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Single Project Management Tools
For many teams, the benefits of cloud-based project management tools make productivity and collaboration possible. But singular tools also present limitations.
|Project Management Tools’ Benefits|
> Cloud-based tools allow for collaboration from anywhere
> Used together, tools can enhance communication and organization
> Some versatile tools offer free basic versions and paid versions with more advanced features
|Project Management Tools’ Possible Drawbacks|
> Some tools address only one aspect of project management
> Limited utility means team members have to keep track of multiple tools, which can be time-consuming and open the door for errors
> A single tool may not have all the features your team needs for a specific task
> Many tools are standalone and cannot communicate with each other
> Paying for multiple tools can add up
Of course, these benefits and drawbacks don’t speak for all project management tools. But they raise important questions as you search for the right solutions for your team. Keep in mind, too, that some software limitations may not be immediately apparent before you try out the tools yourself. Fortunately, many project management tools offer free-trial versions so you can test out their usefulness before you commit.
Project Management Platforms Offer a Holistic Solution
Individual project management tools aren’t your only option to organize and track projects. As the needs of diverse teams are better understood, project management platforms are becoming more popular and offer a powerful alternative to many of the simpler solutions teams have relied on in the past.
Unlike narrowly focused project management tools, cloud-based project management platforms are designed to be holistic. They take a project lifecycle approach rather than focusing on only a piece of the puzzle, giving you a centralized space for collaboration. With a comprehensive suite of features, these platforms let you break projects into smaller components, create and assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress. This way, teams can zoom in or out as needed to see exactly where they are and where they’re going.
But project management platforms aren’t just a replacement for project management tools. The Flow team knows that some of these tried-and-true tools are invaluable—we use them ourselves. That’s why Flow easily integrates with tools like Slack, DropBox, Zapier, Google Suite, and Harvest, giving you the opportunity to create a work environment that makes sense for your team.
|With seamless platform integrations, your favorite tools make up an important part of your team’s centralized ecosystem. Integrations address many of the drawbacks of piecemeal project management tools.|
By bringing all of your most important solutions together in a centralized platform, Flow helps you reap the benefits of project management tools and makes them more useful than ever before. Flow also evolves with you by offering customizable solutions to support your team’s unique goals—even as those goals change.
Whether you are looking to replace tools or bring them together in one place, an all-in-one productivity platform like Flow helps your team communicate, innovate, and succeed.
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