11 Signs You Need a Work Management Tool

1) Forgetting critical information/tasks

Busy manager

If you have a lot of work, handling multiple client interactions, tracking team tasks and managing them manually could be a hassle as a person’s memory has its limitations. Recalling every single interaction and work details is just not humanly possible, which is why we need to off-load critical information/data to an external brain. A shared to-do list with reminder notifications is the best alternative.

2) No clarity on accountability

The very definition of a team is one where mutual accountability for outcomes is there. The team is only effective if the members hold each other accountable for the commitments that are made. But sometimes a teammate’s accountability is hard to track. Productive teams have clear role definitions and regular discussion regarding who’s responsible for what and making sure there are no big overlaps or gaps between each person on the team. This is where a work management tool shines it gives a clear overview on who’s responsible for what.

3) Work slowing down

As a manager if you feel that your team is being unproductive it may be because of a number of reasons, one of them could be they do not have a clear enough view on the project and its progressing. In this case, having a tool that shows a Gantt chart for the project could be useful.

4) Limited Time and Resources

Resources like people, material, and time are always limited. It’s important to ensure the right member is allotted the right task in the project and they carry the appropriate skills and knowledge to facilitate their assigned tasks. You can get insights on resource allocation through a work management system which will, in turn, save a lot of your time.

5) Customer requirements and delivery don’t match

Without back and forth communication with the customer, there’s a high chance that the information they provide you and you provide them would fall through cracks and when the product finally arrives, it’s not what the customer asked for. You’d need a system that allows you to have constant communication with your stakeholders and customers regarding the project and if the current requirements match or not. Some tools specifically allow you to add Guest Users with limited rights to collaborate with your internal team.

6) You rely mostly on Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are useful in the early stages of a business. They are free and mostly easy to learn, but being easy they are prone to errors. Additionally,

  • Spreadsheets don’t provide notifications.
  • Spreadsheets don’t have a good enough view on mobile phones as you’d have to zoom in too often to view your data.
  • A spreadsheet has no activity feed. As anything changes, the spreadsheet does not maintain the prior value for auditing/control.
  • Spreadsheets, especially those installed locally on each individual workstation, do not provide real-time or multi-user editing. In an era where more and more individuals are accustomed to such features in cloud-based or work management software, this can lead to lost, incorrect and overwritten information rendering the spreadsheet useless.

As the business scales up excel sheets become redundant and cause confusion. Plus there’s no track of who’s doing what. A project management tool would provide you a clearer view of the project.

7) Using multiple tools for communication

A study published by Edith Cowan University suggests that not having a centralized place for communication is one of the reasons why most projects fail. It happens so often in companies that utilize verbal communication, email, WhatsApp, etc. to know the exact progress of the task and who is doing what by when. Though they work to some extent, it is really hard to keep track of all the different messages in all these different platforms. In this case, a timeline that shows you individual allocations across several projects could save you from the headache.

8) If you (the manager) have to ask too many status related questions

Project meetings are good but meeting way too often just to discuss the current progress of the project would certainly be a huge waste of time of both the manager and the team. If this sounds familiar to you then you must try a system that shows you Analytics which not only shows you the current progress but even the deviation from the original plan and what is the optimal path forward. Which in turn will give you an eagle’s eye view of the project and the team’s progress.

9) If your business is growing

As your business expands the number of processes increase exponentially. And the number of employees may also increase. With this expansion, it would be harder to track each process and what each employee is doing. The work overload on the manager also increases holding so many loose ends together. Thus it’s useful to have a system in place to track all the individual processes and progress being made in the project to ease some workload off the manager. Moreover, having a work management system in place would help you speed up your growth.

10) You use a lot of different tools for the same task

Do you feel like you are using way too many tools? Are you using emails, WhatsApp, to-do list, diaries, time tracker, calendar to manage your daily work? If all this sound familiar to you then you need all information in a single tool. A good all-round work management tool will do that for you.

11) Your competition is already doing it

Believe it or not, in a growing market you always have to assume that your competition is one step ahead of you only then you’d get the motivation to overtake them. And the fastest way to get around a project is to utilize a work management system that provides you automation on anything remotely necessary for your project. If you waste all that time manually managing things that can easily be managed by a simple work management system then you are probably doing something wrong.

Shyamal Parikh

Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that's helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who's doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team's productivity.

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