How PM Software Can Save Your Life
Project managers need a vacation every now and then, just like anyone else. But what happens when your project manager is out of town and their responsibility falls on you, a newly hired marketer? I recently had this experience here at IMA, and it was a challenging close to a busy week. We had multiple projects preparing to be completed and launched, and suddenly I was tasked with managing these projects. Needless to say, it was intimidating for a fairly new employee, with an increased fear of making a mistake. But fortunately, I had Teamwork PM, a project management software, to help me shoulder the responsibility.
Chickens Running Around With Their Heads Cut Off
That’s the scene I imagined happening in our office when I heard the news our project manager would be going out of town for a few days. And for a brief moment, during the first day of her vacation, I felt like I was doing exactly that. But when I logged into Teamwork PM and was able to check and update the status of each project, things quickly started to come together for me. The daunting task of managing all of our projects became a lot more reasonable when it was all drawn out for me on the software.
Staying On Task
The most used feature of Teamwork PM or any project management software is task assignment, and it’s by far one of the most helpful. Being able to organize assignments into a task list is extremely useful because you are able to map out a project into individual steps. Each step of a project can be assigned to one or multiple people, and dependencies can be set to make sure the tasks are completed in the order they are intended. For me the task lists became essential to knowing where a project stood. Because of them, I was able to quickly find the status of the project and know the person responsible for the next task. On top of that, I can also make a template of the task lists and reuse it for projects that require the same steps.
So I Missed a Task
One thing about taking on the responsibilities of a project manager when they are away is that it can make you forget about your own responsibilities. This happened to me when I forgot about putting together the weekly metrics report, but once again Teamwork PM had my back. When I didn’t complete the report, it went into my late task folder and the red notification button set off an alarm in my mind when I saw it. Not only was I able to see my late task, I was able to check on our entire team’s tasks. This was a huge help for project management because it serves as a visual notification of when a project or assignment is falling behind.
Working in Real-Time
One of the most important things for keeping a project on schedule is communication, which prevents slow-downs in the process. Teamwork PM allows us to work together as a team in real-time, without having to get up from our desks to say when we finished a task. The second a person marks a task as completed, a small notification pops up in the bottom corner of the screen, similar to a Facebook chat window. These notifications are also provided when new tasks are assigned, due dates are changed, or comments are left on a project. For a project manager, this provides a visual of how the workload is being completed. It also serves as a quick way to reference what has been completed that day.
Project management software is an extremely useful tool, and becomes exponentially more valuable when the actual project manager is not in the office. With your tasks and assignments inputted properly into Teamwork PM, your team can continue working for days without the project manager being on site. Without such software in place, the absence of a project manager can have a significant negative impact on the completion of project.
My brief experience in our project manager’s shoes was an eye-opening one, realizing the amount of thought and planning required of the position, and the stress that comes with it. But it also made me realize how fortunate our company is to be using project management software and why the software is so valuable. When our project manager went out of town, it was sink or swim for me, and thankfully Teamwork PM was a life jacket.