Project tracking can easily get messy, especially as the number of team members, tools to manage, tasks, and resources increases.
One of the most beneficial ways to transform your team’s workflow is by using a project tracking tool for your project life cycle.
When choosing a project tracking tool, it can be overwhelming to consider so many features and get lost in the sea of “Kanban boards,” “Gantt charts,” and all the PM tools out there.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What a project life cycle is
- Three features of project tracking tools you need in 2022
- How monday.com Work OS makes it easier to manage, plan, and execute tasks
What is a project life cycle?
Project tracking tools and software are paramount because they help you stay organized and accurate throughout something called the project management life cycle or project life cycle.
The project management life cycle is typically divided into five stages:
- Monitoring and controlling
If you follow this basic sequence, it’s easy to identify where different features and functions of a project tracking tool can help you along the way. To put it broadly, a project tracking tool provides you with a hub to log all details, task owners, and progress throughout each of these phases. Let’s dive in further into the world of project tracking tools.
What are project tracking tools?
Project tracking tools are web or cloud-based software platforms that allow teams and individuals to plan project schedules and track progress to improve team collaboration. A few softwares that can help you track your initiatives include:
- monday.com: monday.com is a Work Operating System (Work OS) that helps teams of all sizes plan and manage any kind work.
- Microsoft Project: MS Project is built large and complex waterfall projects, though it may not be as suitable for agile approaches.
- Trello: Trello’s board and list-making features help teams organize projects, specifically focusing on Kanban boards.
- Evernote: A popular note-taking app, Evernote lets users store and organize notes and other items from the web.
- Jira: Jira is the software of choice for many developers. Specifically, the software is known for tracking bugs and managing code development.
No two project tracking tools are the same. For project managers and team members who want to manage projects on an intuitive and flexible platform—and create project dashboards and beautiful reports automatically—monday.com Work OS is a great software for work management and beyond. But more on this later.
With post-it notes, scraps of paper, and email, why do we even need project tracking tools? In simple words, project planning tools help you get more done, faster. They’re a crucial weapon in any project manager’s arsenal, as they help them manage small and large teams in a number of ways.
What are the benefits of project tracking tools?
With the right tool, project managers can make sure projects stay on time and within budget, all while improving the workflow experience for their team members.
Here’s what else they do:
- Facilitate project planning – the most comprehensive platforms offer in-platform document sharing, Gantt Charts, Kanban views, plus other agile workflows.
- Assign tasks – to efficiently plan projects, you’ll need a tool where you can divide tasks between team members as well as tag them on the platform so everyone stays aligned on what they need to do.
- Track time – a platform that helps you manage any kind of project will also provide a way to track time spent on each task and the progress made.
- Monitor project task status – Statuses are a fast, easy way to assess where the team stands. Some of the more user-friendly softwares use colorful, customizable labels so anyone can see project progress, task progress, and subtask progress at a glance.
- Setting project timelines – Whether you’d prefer a visual representation of the timelines of all your projects or need a view into how long you and your team have to complete an item or project, it’s essential to define all important project start and end dates so everyone stays on the same page.
Every project management system looks and feels different, but the best ones make it possible to effectively document work activities end to end while inspiring team collaboration. More specifically though, here’s a little snapshot of the kinds of features to look for.
What are the top features to look for in project management tools?
Every project tracking tool has something unique to offer. However, at the core, workflow automation, mobile applications, and software integrations reign supreme in the realm of features.
In the following sections, you can see how they look on monday.com.
Workflow automation is one of the biggest contributors to project efficiency, as it prevents your project team from having to perform repetitive, time-consuming actions like moving tasks along the project pipeline or notifying team members as soon as you finish a task.
Automations allow you to create your own workflows and on some softwares (like monday.com), you can choose from pre-prepared templates to get started or completely customize your own to fit the team’s needs.
For example, you could create an automation that says: ‘when a contract changes to signed, notify the team lead.’ In this example, the team lead saves time from having to look for status updates and just receives a notification when someone signs the contract.
On monday.com, creating automations is simple. Here’s a sneak peek inside our notification center:
2. Mobile apps
Project management software is about productivity, and there’s nothing less productive than a platform that doesn’t support mobile access.
Though monday.com is more than just a project management app, your team can still access tasks and communicate in context on the go, from any device they like.
This is invaluable to project managers working remotely or remote teams because they can track project progress and assign tasks on the fly.
On monday.com Work OS, teams can run projects from A-Z and manage due dates, all while letting you customize any workflow to optimize every workflow, project, or task.
3. Software integrations
Just because you are looking for a centralized project tracking tool doesn’t mean you should (or can) give up your existing favorite tools.
Naturally, whichever project management software you choose, you’re going to want it to play nicely with the rest of your tech stack. monday.com seamlessly integrates with all of your favorite tools, so you can truly have all of your team’s work in one place.
Should you need to create something unique for your team, you can use our low-code Apps Framework to tap into your creativity and build unique tools.
If you typically rely on MS Teams or Microsoft for projects, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s just one of many integrations offered by monday.com. You connect it with our software and enhance it with embedded workflow and project management capabilities.
By now, you’ve picked up a few reasons as to why you may need a project tracking tool. But what should you look for?
The top functions of a project tracking tool
Any project tracking tool’s effectiveness will be a moot point if you don’t set out with an intentional framework for using it. There are several capabilities that will help you get the most out of your project tracking tool or project management software. Keep an eye out for these key attributes when looking for the most robust option:
- The ability to create a project outline
- A way to determine clear deliverables, deadlines, and milestones
- Features that help set realistic, clear, and measurable goals and decide how you will measure them
- A way to schedule regular meetings with your team and stakeholders
- Full transparency in all aspects of the project
We know, you’re probably thinking, is it possible for one software to support all of these functions?
We have one word for you: monday.com.
monday.com: the Work OS project tracking tool
At monday.com, we define ourselves as a Work OS — a new software category that lets anyone manage any kind of work.
To quote our Head of Enterprise Marketing at monday.com, Oren Ezra,
“A work operating system (Work OS) is a cloud-based software platform where teams create custom workflow apps to plan, run, and track processes, projects, and everyday work.
With a work OS, every team can create the apps it needs for [any kind of] work. And when several teams in an organization use a Work OS, they can achieve even more together.”
We do that by empowering teams to manage their own workflows in the way that works best for them, such as tracking resources and creating project reports all in one place. The features and capabilities of our platform not only encompass the three features we mentioned earlier, they surpass them.
Take our workflow views for example. monday.com doesn’t limit you or your teams to a single workflow view; you can switch instantly between different board views depending on your needs. Users can choose the board view that works for them, without making everyone else conform to their need to work within one visual paradigm.
With monday.com, teams can also collaborate simultaneously on multiple projects — even editing lists and tasks in real-time. This greatly reduces dependencies and bottlenecks that prevent someone from making new updates or changes.
In the realms of accurate tracking and transparency, monday.com also features several ways to view and share project progress, including timeline views and dashboards. All of this information can then also be shared across an organization, and even with external clients.
Finally, if you’re not sure how to get started with your project tracking, or you want to see how other users have used the platform, monday.com hosts an extensive template center with ready-made templates and all the information you need to build the perfect project tracking board.
Transform the way you work with monday.com
Whether you’re looking to improve team communications or simply speed up project timeframes, a project tracking tool is the best way to bring all vital information and collaboration in one place.
The best and worthwhile project tracking platforms will not only increase productivity, but also help you maintain project scope and budget through automation, integrations with your current tools, and the flexibility to work on mobile devices.
Check our our team task management template and discover why thousands of teams choose monday.com as their project tracking secret weapon.