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Team Productivity

3 Questions You Need to Ask Before Switching Project Management Tools

Stephanie Gonzaga
March 13, 2017
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Switching project management tools takes time, team effort, and money.

It’s a process that could either open doors to opportunities or create disaster within your organization.

The first step is to make sure that you and your team are on the same page with regards to making the big switch. There should be a general consensus that the current system isn’t fulfilling your needs, and that it’s vital to choose a better solution.

The easiest way to find out is to survey each member of the team. Ask yourself these three important questions that address important issues about your organization’s system.

1. Does it hinder you from completing your projects on time and on budget?

Do you often miss or extend project deadlines? Are you struggling with stalled projects, backlogged tasks, and hundreds of post-its suffocating your company cork board?

A lack of visibility and communication can cause any organization under-deliver. This can lead to lost opportunities, angry clients and stakeholders, and miscommunication within the team.

A good project management tool prevents any of these from happening by centralizing communication and giving you full visibility of your project’s progress.

2. Is it faulty?

You may not be receiving in-app notifications on time, causing you to miss out on important tasks that need your attention. Or the tool is badly designed that it takes 3-5 clicks to create a project or access your account settings.

Don’t waste time on a tool that hinders you from getting work done, especially when you know that the company behind the app doesn’t have plans of improving the product anytime soon.

3. Is it unable to fulfill your project management needs?

It’s equally important to determine if your current project management tool can keep up with the demands of your team. If the tool doesn’t support the features you need to get work done, you may want to invest in an app that can provide.

Based on our experience, many of our customers request for features like time tracking, cross-platform sync, API, and additional file formats for export and import.

Use these questions to determine if it’s time to make the switch. Sit down with your teammates to discuss needs, issues that are hindering progress, and what to look for in the next PM tool.

Project management milestone examples

Milestones make it easier to keep projects on track by calling out major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables. Here are a few examples of project milestones you might include in your plan:

  • Start and end dates for project phases
  • Key deliveries
  • Client and stakeholder approvals
  • Important meetings and presentations
  • Key dates or outages that may impact your timeline

Let’s dig a little deeper and explore 3 specific examples of how using project milestones can benefit your projects.

Monitor deadlines

No plan is ever complete without a list of deadlines! The best way to make them noticeable is to use the project management milestones and deliverables technique. What does this mean? Make the deliverables project milestones!

Why do this? Well, it’s no secret that not everyone wants to pore over your beautiful project plan to find key dates. Most people—your teammates included—want a top-level view of key dates and events. Milestones are great for this purpose because they’re called out in a special way—usually with a diamond—in project plans.

While you should list the tasks and effort leading up to a project milestone, be sure to present the milestone at the end of those tasks to signify a delivery, or even a presentation of, the deliverable.

Here's an example of how Washington Hyperloop uses milestones to track an important deadline in their project.

Spotlight important dates

Are there days from now until the end of your project that could impact your project in some way? Maybe your team will need to be out of the office for a mandatory training. Maybe there’s a board meeting you’re expected to attend.

It’s important to keep all of these important events in mind when you’re planning a project because they could possibly impact your project schedule. So why not include them as project milestones so you can track them all in one place?

In this example, the team’s off-site strat-op meeting has been added to the project plan as a milestone so work can be scheduled around it.

date milestone in gantt chart

Identify potential project bottlenecks

Many projects rely on the work produced by external teams or partners to make forward progress. If you’re not tracking those external factors somewhere, there’s a great chance you’ll forget to follow-up on it.

That’s why it’s important to list these deliverables as project milestones if you’re working on a project that depends on someone or something outside of your project. Here’s an example of what that might look like for a client approval.

deliverable milestone in gantt chart

Want to hit major milestones on time more often?

We’ve got a free class to help you get everyone on board with your plan! Register for Plan Up: How to Create and Sell a Winning Project Plan to see why planning sets the stage for project success, and get a free Guide to Project Planning when you sign up.

How to create a project milestone

Creating milestones for your project plan can be simple, especially with TeamGantt. Once you’ve mapped out your overall process and plan with your team, you can easily add tasks, identify gantt chart milestones, and determine task owners. Adding a milestone (or converting a task to a milestone) is very easy in TeamGantt.

Once you’ve signed up for a TeamGantt account, here’s a quick video on how to create milestones:

Project milestones are easy to create and even easier to track because you’ve called out the most important points in your project.

How to share project milestones with clients and stakeholders

Want to give clients and stakeholders a high-level view of the project? Simply follow these steps to share a PDF of key project milestones in your gantt chart.

1. Filter your project by milestones.

From your gantt chart view, click the All Dates menu at the top of your gantt chart, and select Only Milestones from the drop-down.

filter gantt chart by project milestones

2. Export your filtered project to a PDF file.

Navigate to your project's Menu, and select Print/Export PDF from the drop-down.

export gantt chart with project milestones to PDF

Customize your PDF settings, then click View PDF to complete the export. From there, you can download and/or print your PDF to share with clients and stakeholders.

share PDF of gantt chart filtered by project milestones

Who would have thought such a critical step could be so easy?

Hit every project milestone with ease

TeamGantt makes it easy to create, track, and collaborate on all your project milestones so nothing slips through the cracks.

You’ll have all the features you need to ensure projects finish on time and under budget—from drag and drop simplicity and team collaboration to customizable views and workload management.

Best of all, it’s all wrapped up in a simple and intuitive interface your whole team will love. 😍

Give TeamGantt a free try today!

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