Project management tools are an integral part of most businesses today and have been so for a few decades now. The tools are used for planning the project, allocating resources, assigning tasks, and tracking the progress thereof. Theoretically, there seem no issues in the entire process. But, if you have been part of several projects you must have noticed that some of them fail, despite your best efforts. While there could be several reasons for it, one of them could be attributed to the project management tool in use. Let’s try to understand it better…
Many-a-times Project Managers create teams, define the scope and requirements of the project, and then feed every detail neatly into their chosen Project Management Tool. And then the project is launched with great enthusiasm, only to fall off in pieces a few days into the project. This happens more often than not. There can be numerous reasons for this failure including lack of accountability, no track of progress and milestones, etc. Whatever the reason for the failure of a project management tool is, it eventually impacts the organization using it.
You certainly don’t want that. Do you?
So here is something you need to hear – Failure of a Project Management Tool may leave your team members feeling unproductive and frustrated.
So, you need to understand the reasons behind the inadequacy or failure of your traditional Project Management Tools these days. Knowing these will help you plan better for the future.
Now, allow us to give you 7 good reasons why project management tools do not work well anymore.
1. Non-Inclusion of the Primary Users in the Selection Process
The first reason behind the failure of project management tools these days can be the non-inclusion of the primary users in the selection process. Today we have a very long list of available project management tools. And, the selection of the tool to be used in a business is done by a few management-level people. Those people who take the decision as to which project management tool is to be used in the business probably won’t be using the tool very frequently. The primary users of project management tools in most cases are the team members who are not included in the trial and selection process.
Successful completion of any project requires every important stakeholder to be on the same page. Therefore, while searching for project management software your point of initiation should be to understand the workflow of your team. Your team’s requirements should be at the forefront of your selection process and your team should get the chance to go for trial runs. Just purchasing a license or subscription for a Project Management Tool doesn’t ensure that your team members would use it. By taking your employees on board while making a decision about adopting a Project Management Tool you can increase the chances of your success.
Modern-day businesses are way more complex than their traditional counterparts. Every project of these complex businesses has many moving parts that need to integrate properly. If your Project Management Tool doesn’t provide a holistic bundle of features that can take care of every requirement of a modern-day business then it is bound to fail. The overall productivity of teams automatically degrades when team members need to constantly switch from one tool to another. This switching between tools may not sound to be a big deal but it certainly creates a gap. When tasks and projects aren’t integrated into the same manager tool, it becomes tough for the manager to keep track of the progress of the project. There’s always a gap between the task done and its updation.
The non-integration also necessitates the use of different communication channels thus creating room for miscommunication and failure of tasks. The new generation of Project Management tools has a higher chance of success because they integrate all the critical tools required for the management of tasks and for transparent communication. When managers and employees do not need to switch between tools the successful completion of projects becomes seamless.
3. Unfriendly or Over Complicated Interface
Traditional Project Management tools with unfriendly or over-complicated interfaces are constantly losing battles as employees are not ready to dedicate their time to learning the nuances of the management tool. The aim of each employee as well as the manager is to get the work done and not to follow the system as prescribed. They are going to follow a prescribed system or tool only when it makes their task easier. The traditional Project Management Tools are no longer serving their purpose as employees are not ready to go through the steep learning curve. They have become accustomed to user-friendly interfaces in various tools and applications they use for their personal purposes on a daily basis. This has ignited their want for user-friendly interfaces in professional spaces as well.
The good thing is that many new-generation tools for the same purposes are intuitive and user-friendly. They have various easy-to-use features that ease the burden of tasks for the employees. These tools are not very pompous or intricately designed but they are meant to be simple, easy, and friendly for the user. With such simple designs, these tools are excellently seamless in their functionality.
4. Too Much Load of Manual Tasks
Many Project Management tools are not working very well and losing their shine in recent times because of a lack of automation. Every time a manager has to create a task, she has to do it manually. The same is the case with many tasks and responsibilities of the employees. Tasks that are repetitive in nature become boring and the responsible person starts losing interest. This is not only about keeping things interesting but also about avoiding probable mistakes that may occur due to someone doing it half-heartedly. The best way to avoid such re-occurring mistakes and keep the morale of your team members high is to ditch your Project Management Tool. No, we aren’t suggesting that you do not need any tool to manage your projects. We just mean that you need to leave what’s not serving your purpose anymore and adopt something that will be more helpful.
The new-age tools are coming with more automation features. The more tasks get automatized, the more manpower and willingness you will have for tasks that need pure human interventions. When your employees are not stuck in getting the same task done again and again they can use their intelligence for more out-of-the-box ideations.
5. ‘Build from Scratch’ Features
This may seem a continuation of the previous point. But both these points need to be mentioned separately. The traditional Project Management tools typically lack the feature of templates, if not recently updated. Different projects of the same business are typically of the same nature and creating the same thing over and over again from scratch is a huge time and energy sucker. If a business is using a traditional Project Management tool where every task and project needs to be created from scratch, it is bound to fail sooner than later. The ‘build from scratch’ feature is not something every manager or employee will love. In fact, most would see it as a burden.
The new generation of Project Management Tools is now coming with ‘in-built templates’. Working with templates is not only easy but it also increases speed and productivity. With template features managers can focus on more important tasks rather than creating tasks manually and assigning them individually to team members. AI-powered Intuitive templates can even learn a repeating pattern to make things easier.
6. Lack of Milestone Tracking
Another drawback that is making traditional Project Management tools fail is their lack of milestone tracking. Many such tools show the status of the task started and the task completed. But, you must know that there are many milestones in every project between the point of the task started and the task completed. A few task management tools may also have the feature of indicating the percentage of tasks completed. Though it is a very good thing it’s not the complete feature that a present-day Project Manager would expect from a Project Management tool. The feature of milestone tracking is a crucial feature required for the success of a Project Management Tool in today’s competitive world. So, a lack of it would certainly cause a tool to fail.
The advanced new generation Project Management Tools come with the feature of milestone tracking where you can’t only see the progress status but also the important milestones achieved and to be achieved. This gives a more holistic picture of the overall project. This not only helps the manager stay abreast with every important development in a project but also infuses a sense of accomplishment among the team members who visually see themselves reaching milestone after milestone on the dashboard of the management tool.
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7. Lack of Visual Comparative Analysis
Dependency is an integral part of any project. Many members work on the same project and they are all dependent on each other in the sense that the completion of one task leads to the initiation of someone else’s responsibility. In such a case, a visual comparative analysis is very important. Many traditional Project Management Tools fail to show this analysis very clearly. One has to dig deeper to find out the actual position of the task. This may lead to unnecessary delays, blame games, and failure of tasks. The new era tools have better view-ability of the critical dependencies. A person can view the task status of the person whose task becomes the base for his/her work. This creates a smooth cycle of completed tasks and projects without chaos and misunderstandings.
The new era tools do not leave the gap for miscommunications and the team members can go on with their tasks without sending dozens of emails to and fro. All the critical information of a task and projects at hand are visually available on the dashboard.23
It is imperative to invest an ample amount of time and energy in research work if you are planning to introduce a new Project Management Tool in your business. The best bet is to ask for a demo or take free trials so that your employees can give feedback and your decision is in line with their needs. If you are using a traditional Project Management Tool it is important for you to do an audit to ascertain that you are still benefiting from the tool rather than suffering loss. There’s no benefit in carrying the load of an outdated tool or system when you can get new-age technology without burning a hole in your pocket. It will be a wise step to check your existing Project Management Tool against the 7 major pointers discussed above. You can also use this as a benchmark for filtering out the best-suited new-age project management tool for your business.
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published May 23, 2023, Updated May 23, 2023