The 5 Best Project Management Tools to Use With Digital Signage
No matter what initiative your company is working on, having everyone on the same page and working toward common goals is beneficial. Consider an army. There’s a lot we can learn about elite team building from some of the strongest teams in the world. Team allegiance is featured heavily in the oaths that soldiers take, and for good reason. Navy SEALs pledge that their “loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach.” US Army Rangers vow ”Never shall I fail my comrades.” Working together, trusting each other, and properly communicating are actions that a strong team engages in regularly. Obviously, teamwork can be the difference between life or death in combat situations.
It’s unlikely you’re facing anything so weighty within your organization. That being said, teamwork and collaboration are essential in the workplace. Collaboration and cooperation can have a profound impact on your bottom line. In fact, a study by Mckinsey stated that 97% of employees and executives believe that a lack of alignment within project teams negatively impacted an initiative or task. Additionally, they found that workers spend 14% of their week on communicating and collaborating – but they are able to reduce that time significantly when using internal tools to communicate more effectively.
Project Management Tools
That’s where a project management tool comes in. Regardless of project scope, size, or nature, it’s likely that a project management tool can help keep everyone on the same page. Project management is the concept of measuring progress in a formal way. Additionally, it gives team-members a heads up on any potential issues. Project management is a science all it’s own, but a project management tool can help leaders to monitor timelines, deadlines, forward motion, and upcoming challenges.
Project Management Dashboards
In project management, a dashboard is the tool that gathers data on key performance indicators across various aspects of the project and then displays them in a way that’s easy to reference and understand. These KPIs commonly include performance and progress (across variables like time and cost), workload information, resource allocation, and other critical project metrics.
A typical dashboard is a collection of widgets that takes the form of charts or graphs, and updates in real time. Project management dashboards can take several forms, from a custom solution built in-house, to any number of platforms available on the market. Usually, companies will get the most benefit by implementing dashboards that speak directly to the department managing projects, such as marketing, operations, etc.
Since dashboards offer one place for team members to see all of their project data laid out, there’s a tremendous benefit to installing project management dashboards across digital office screens. Similar to the army example, this information helps organizations drive toward their goals. Ensuring project information is visible and accessible to any people working on the initiative is critical. Furthermore, displaying dashboards in the office setting is a great way to boost employee engagement, which is a critical component of employee productivity and company growth.
Why display Project Management Platforms on your Office’s Screens?
There are several benefits to using your office’s screens to display project management dashboards or other reporting:
A good PM tool can help to mine, calculate, and articulate data in a way that lets teams see at a glance if their projects are on track. The inherent purpose of a PM tool in the first place is to expose that information in a way that’s helpful. Keeping this reporting transparent is easier said than done – but making sure it’s accessible in your office space is a good place to start.
Time and Money Savings
If you’re in the position of running a project within your company, how often do you find yourself asking for updates? What about reports, data, calendars, or paperwork? Without proper PM tools, staff needs to spend time pulling all of this and organizing it into digestible formats. All that time spent gathering and configuring could be spent actually working on tactics of the project! With widgets already created, managers can check on progress at any time without stepping away from something else to generate or ask for a report.
One of the key features of a PM tool is the ability to compile important information in one place. This is the main way that PM tools can enable efficient teams. People who need to be in the loop don’t have to toggle from one screen to another, use additional tools, or create their own reports.
Enable Data-driven Decisions
Any business leader wants to make choices informed by actual statistics. Data-driven decisions are naturally better ones, but sometimes the platform to make that data available isn’t present. Consider the benefits of giving your entire department access to figures that can help them make better decisions on a day-to-day basis.
It would be great if every project update showed that your team was right on track with no hurdles to worry about. Unfortunately that’s not realistic in a project management capacity. To get the results you truly want, you need to understand where things are falling behind. Better yet, your team should be able to see where things are falling behind before it becomes too much of a problem. Good or bad, staff can see what’s happening with key initiatives and take the necessary steps to keep things moving in the right direction.
The Best Project Management Tools
Hopefully, if you weren’t bought into aligning your PM tools with your digital signage before, you are now! In a recent post, we covered different types of dashboards that are beneficial to display for various departments. Do you have the best tools in place to create those items currently? Chances are, you can’t display the dashboards like we suggest if you don’t use the correct platforms. If you want to make sure employees can see the right information in the most concise, helpful way, take a look at our tool recommendations. These are PM tools that pair nicely with the ability to display on digital signage.
1. Free Versions
For many companies, investing in new and untested software is not an option. For teams with less than 5 people, who only work on one to two projects at a time, premium features are probably not necessary. In those instances, you might try creating a simple Gantt chart with something like TeamGantt. If you’d like to offer real-time activity streaming, you could look at something like Wrike. This is a great way to see open or delayed tasks in one view. For a color-coded view of scheduling that everyone can keep their eye on, try something like Bitrix24. A simple Google search will turn up plenty of free PM tool options – but not all of them display nicely on a larger screen, in a way that will help collaboration and communication.
This tool has been rated the best “All in one solution” by thedigitalprojectmanager.com. Companies like Starbucks and Uber use it to manage key initiatives and improve collaboration. Not only does the platform offer AI-based analytics, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and so much more, Hive’s viewing capabilities are flexible and intuitive so that all teams can quickly observe information and understand the takeaways. The activity streams you can set up look really nice on digital signage, but can also be customized for individual use. (Cost is $12/user/mo.)
For teams that are comfortable working in Excel, but need a little more, this tool provides really crisp and colorful sheets that are flexible and customizable. You can set up shared views of things like detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports. They also integrate with important platforms like MIcrosoft, Google, Jira, and Salesforce. (Cost is $14/user/month but they offer a free trial.)
For brands with a customer service focus, this PM tool is a comprehensive web-based platform. Their real-world project schedules take into account different time zones, work schedules and absences. So that anyone viewing it can be assured that those day-to-day factors are being considered in what they see. Make sure the entire customer support team is in the loop by setting up dashboards to gather 360-degree real-time insights around project health, tracking actuals vs estimates, team utilization and profit margins. (On-premise use costs $450/user one-time.)
Best for creative project teams, the tool aims to make it easier to organize projects and tasks. By making to-do-lists, creating boards and timelines, managing resources, and collaborating with teammates. In terms of the boards and timelines, you can customize dashboards for entire teams to view quickly. Because of their intuitive interface, users don’t need an in-depth understanding of project management – which means any team can better collaborate no matter their project type or experience level. (Cost is $8/user/mo. and up.)
Best Practices for Sharing PM on Digital Signage Screens
Even if you’re not using one of the tools above, you can use what you have available to share better information with your team members. Here are our best tips for teams wanting to improve outcomes by applying transparent PM methodologies.
Go Beyond the Numbers
Just sharing hard statistics won’t be that helpful for most people and in fact, could be frustrating. What are you trying to communicate with these numbers? There must be some takeaways that you want people to understand – trends, challenges, upcoming milestones. Create dashboards that distill this information down into information your project teams can actually use.
PM dashboard should fit your office design
It’s important to make sure that any screens are integrated into your physical office space. Ideally, everyone can see them in a way that’s beneficial. For example, placing a screen in part of the office where people will need to consistently get up from their desk to view it is not smart. In other words, it would likely waste more time than it saves. Similarly, it makes sense to show only data that applies to that department and the company overall. So, don’t simply rotate department dashboards across the entire office, for example. If there is a project team working on a certain initiative, it might make sense to group them for the duration of the project. And then have screens in their physical space with the relevant visuals for them.
Don’t simply use your PM tool’s reporting suite as a default
The beauty of some of these platforms is the ability to customize. Which is important when you’ll have multiple people looking at the same information. With so much detail available, you need to pick and choose what’s most beneficial for your team. Build your own dashboard using widgets, and create custom reports within the platform to pull the data you actually care about seeing every day. Are tasks due most important to understand? What about open tickets? Or customer support calls currently in the queue? Only you understand your project timelines and what is most motivating to employees. But get creative in how you use the data supplied by your PM tools.
According to PWC, digital PM software increases performance and found that 77% of high performing projects use project management software. Imagine the impact that your company could experience if you could share the benefits of this functionality across departments and teams?
Furthermore, more informed employees are more engaged employees – and more engaged employees are more productive, more efficient, and more loyal. For more tips on using digital signage to help with project management, or creating more engaged and successful workplaces in general, contact us at 866.310.4923.