In 2019 and 2020, managing projects is an activity aimed at reaching clear business goals with regard to the scope of work, resources, time, quality, and risks. To process and analyze large volumes of project’s data managers use specialized software. Usually, this software is designed as a multi-user platform that helps track progress, implementation, and accomplishment of tasks or projects. In this article, we will uncover the aspects to consider when planning to build project management software. Before proceeding to this topic it is desirable to consider how you can benefit from the specialized software.
What are the benefits of using company task management software?
Whatever your type of organization is, a small, medium, or large enterprise, PM tools address a lot of problems. Here is how you can benefit from using such solutions:
- Collaboration in real time. All team members can focus on their own tasks whereas project managers can keep track of multiple tasks or projects.
- Cost control. One of the major objectives of PMs is to control and mitigate expenses. Specialized software ensures accurate estimations and cost projection.
- Documents sharing. Team members and project managers are able to share project papers and work on those simultaneously.
- Monitoring. Obviously, monitoring is one of the prime objectives of PM tools. With the help of the software, you are able to monitor the workflow, progress on all stages of work, and provide forecasts on the time when the project will be accomplished.
- Decision making. Specialized built-in analytics instruments help make data-driven decisions and analyze the results.
- Risks identification. With proper tools, you will be able to identify what projects are in danger or face the risks of failure and pay due attention to those projects on time.
- Customer satisfaction. The implementation of project management software allows building stronger relationships with customers. PM tools help deliver projects on time and under budget.
- Prioritizing. Determining what is important can be a daunting task for any executive. By building project management software, you will be able to determine top priorities for your company or project and pay attention to the things that make a difference.
What project planning tools to use?
Any project has its life cycle which is typically divided into the following stages:
- Initiating and starting the project
- Organizing and preparing
- Carrying out the work
- Completing the project
A four-phase project life cycle helps you focus on what needs to be done at particular points in a project, phase, sub-phase, work package, etc.
At any starting phase, you should define the objectives and what is needed to achieve those objectives. With the help of project management applications, you will be able to answer the following questions:
- What are the main objectives of the project?
- What is your business case? What problems will the app address?
- Who is going to manage the work?
- Who is going to do the work?
You should document the answers to these questions using your software so that they are available to all team members. These answers will serve as a basis for discussion and SRS documentation writing.
Depending on the scope of the work and requirements of the business, all of those points could be covered in a couple of pages. The important thing is that the task manager lays out an argument that is well-defended and needs no additional input to be convincing.
The toolbox used by PMs to plan their work includes network diagrams, critical path method, program evaluation and review technique, gantt chart, work breakdown structure, project documentation.
What is Basecamp project management tool?
To show in details how PM tools work let’s review a popular tool called Basecamp. This communication software organizes the assignments of all team members in the same place so that everyone knows what is currently going on. The tool allows spending less time for face-to-face or stand-up meetings.
According to the statistics published, basecamp.com, 3,677 companies signed up for the services provided by Basecamp. The company describes its main goal as a struggle against chaos in the workspace. We all have ever faced the problems with emails, files, chats scattered across and hard to find. Basecamp promises to solve the issues and make the entire workflow clear, neat, and organized. In 2019, the Basecamp apps are available on Android and iOS, web, PC, and Mac.
A comprehensive basecamp features list
We use Basecamp here as an example to demonstrate what features your own project management software may include. Below is a comprehensive list of features offered by Basecamp:
- To-do lists. Make lists of tasks, assign them to others, and track the progress. You are also able to attach necessary files, notes, and comments to the lists.
- Message boards. Have you ever been at a total loss while searching for the needed email? Basecamp software offers message boards where you can organize the entire conversation about the project in a single place. By the way, you will be able to embed files or images into your discussion. These files can be easily shared with selected individuals or everyone.
- Schedules. Every task and work to be done include a schedule allocated in Basecamp. You can add tasks, meetings, and other events with other details including dates, times, people, changes, etc.
- Documents. Keep all helpful papers in one place accessible to every member of your team. You can link your Google docs and discuss them with your colleagues.
- Chats. Have a separate chat group for your projects. You will be able to mention people, share docs and images with them, send quick questions and get quick responses.
- Check-in questions. Use check-in threads instead of status meetings. Communicate with your team on a regular basis at the time that is convenient for all.
- Customers access. Every data in Basecamp is private until you want to share it. Your clients will know what is going on and will be able to share their ideas and requirements.
- Hill charts. See the entire history of the project with the help of Hill charts. They show the dynamics and demonstrate the updates.
- Pings. Have a private chat with your colleagues at any time you want.
- Forward emails. Send important emails to your coworkers to discuss them. Reply to emails when you are ready with the answer.
- Reports. Get valuable reports on every single project in your company. You will know what is due and what is overdue, what tasks are in progress and what has been already completed, etc.
- Notifications. Get notified by email at the desired time. Disable notifications if you don’t want to be disturbed.
- Search. Search by person or keyword directly in Basecamp.
Now you see something of what PM tool has to put up with. You learned of a bunch of functions offered by communication software however, this list can be extended greatly. A lot of software providers offer custom-designed tools like Basecamp which is very convenient if you want to get only those features and options that are required by your business goals and employees.
What to consider if you want to build your own project management software
If you have to pick up or build your own project management software like Basecamp by 2020, you should consider the following features as well:
Projects and tasks
Every project may contain an unlimited number of tasks collected into milestones. You should be able to discuss these tasks, get the updated and changes via email or RSS.
Companies and contacts
It is very convenient to have all the contacts in one place, grouped by companies.
This type of boards helps create a shared clear project documentation, FAQ, requirements for the projects, etc.
In-built messenger is a perfect place to share images and files required for work. It must allow communicating in groups or in person.
It’s quite important to track the time of a single task as well as of the entire project. You should be able to see what every team member does and how much time he spends.
Create invoices for payment based on incoming data and the engagement model chosen by your clients.
Craft pricing strategies according to your customers’ requirements, needs, and goals.
How to choose apps like basecamp?
It is obvious that it is footless to choose an app by the number of available features. There is a chance that you will choose a giant app with a bunch of functionalities but with a non-usable interface. First off, you should pay attention to the usability of the platform, how easy it is to learn how to use it, etc. It is recommended by some experts to use the following platforms according to your goals:
- Web systems for project management: Teamwork Project Manager, Worksection, Basecamp.
- PM systems based on your own hosting: activeCollab.
- Building project management software: customized or custom-designed software is the best way to solve your PM problems.
If you search for a long project management software list you can google and find relevant results but is it worth looking through these listings? Are there any alternatives?
6 steps to start developing your own tool like Basecamp from scratch
It takes a lot of time to build a project management app. You have to remember this and calculate the costs. But if you do make up your mind to create the app that fits your needs, follow these clear steps:
Define if your company has a workflow. Do your employees do repeatable actions every day? Analyze all business processes you have and organize them on a single page. You will see what activities are repeatable, orchestrated, etc. This will help you identify what features your future project management application should have.
According to your workflow and in-depth business analysis, write a list of features you would like to see in your app. Ask your employees what additional features will be useful for them. The list will serve as a basis for an SRS documentation.
Build a development team or find a software development vendor. If you work in the e-commerce industry, for example, and have nothing to do with software engineering, it’s better to outsource development to professionals.
Get your SRS written by a professional technical writer to have clear requirements on paper. Provide a written document to your vendor in order to get accurate estimations.
Choose an engagement model for payment. Most vendors offer time-and-material, fixed budget, or hourly rates. Depending on the scope of the project, choose the one that is best suited to you.
Meet your development team. Make sure you know who is responsible for the web development, design, QA and testing, project management, and implementation. Once you get acquainted with every single member of your team, you will be able to communicate with them and get reports on the work progress.
Outsourcing project management
The proper software is not the only thing affecting the productivity of your PM processes. In some cases, you will benefit from outsourcing PM activities and tasks to professionals. Below are the key reasons to think long and hard about outsourcing:
Lack of PM experience. It may happen that your staff doesn’t have enough experience to undertake PM responsibilities. When searching for PM specialists, take their specialization into account. For example, if you work in a construction company, you will surely need a project or a task manager with engineering skills plus a reliable construction management software. By the way, hiring new employees can be unprofitable in case your project is temporary. It is better to find a reliable BPO provider to save costs.
Choosing the right vendor is a challenging task. Here are some tips! How Scrum tools and time tracking help keeping outsourced teams productive
How DICEUS can help you
You have read this article because you wanted to know how to build project management software, haven’t you? Hope that you got the answers to your questions. However, we would like to tell you how our team can help you deal with your PM issues.
In which cases may you contact us?
- You need recommendations on choosing the right PM tools similar to Basecamp, given by experts in the domain.
- You want to build management software based on your company’s needs.
- Your existing PM software needs to be optimized, customized, or modified.
- You want to outsource or delegate your PM tasks to a qualified individual.
- You would like to get professional PM consulting services.
In case you don’t see your reason among those we mentioned above, feel free to contact our specialists.