Unlocking Project Management Software: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Uses and Features

Posted On April 8, 2024

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Imagine a world where endless Excel spreadsheets, cluttered email chains, and siloed to-do lists are relics of the past. It would be a world that’s far less costly for client-focused businesses, with the potential to save the 11.4% of investment project teams waste on average — and then some.

This place of dreams doesn’t have to remain fictional. Thanks to effective project management software, some businesses are successfully reshaping teamwork and project delivery and transforming productivity and profitability as a result.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the process and method of guiding a project toward its end goal — delivering something of value to a stakeholder or customer. Projects require the orchestration of stakeholders, their vision/goal, the resources required to achieve that goal, and the management processes and tools to make sure the project reaches those goals

Even the best projects with the most experienced team members need strong guidance. As such, project management is key to consistent, dependable, and replicable success. Because it’s such a broad field, project management includes the technology, methodology, and resources that enable project completion. Over time, project management technology and methodology have gotten incredibly sophisticated.

According to research from S&P Global Market Intelligence, business leaders in project-centric organizations like professional services and financial services firms said their top challenges when executing across projects include combining scale and agility in portfolio management, standardizing delivery methodologies, and adapting to fluctuating customer needs.


What is Project Management Software?

Project management software is a powerful tool that offers an array of features to enable project managers to control project costs, achieve milestones, and meet deadlines. The main objective of project management software is to help businesses deliver on the commitments they’ve made to project stakeholders, ensuring project execution drives desired results.

For professional services organizations that drive significant revenue from customer-facing projects, the focus is on executing projects on time, on budget, and in alignment with the scope agreed with the customer in the statement of work (SOW). Many project management software solutions targeted at the professional services industry will even help managers keep track of customer payments and manage project expenses.

Common project management software features include:

  • Project dashboards that give managers the ability to make fast changes and understand project performance at a glance instead of searching through exported data.
  • Time tracking software, where team members enter their time worked for specific tasks to support accurate customer billing and project burn rate tracking.
  • Task management tools, which give managers the ability to assign detailed work related to a project to resources, with modern systems allowing all of this to happen in one easy-to-control dashboard.
  • Gantt charts that define and control the flow of interconnected tasks that make up a project to improve utilization and hit deadlines. Gantt charts are often used in the SCRUM management style.
  • Project templates that allow for quick and easy replication of projects when creating similar work to previous projects.

Throughout the course of a project, project management software will provide both information regarding its performance and the controls necessary to change the work being done. Everything from conceptualization and contract signing to product delivery can be completed and tracked within a strong modern project management software tool. By living all within one location, organizations can be better equipped to control all aspects of work, as well as better understand where improvements can be made for future projects.


Who User Project Management Software?

Plenty of people use project-management software, including everyone from airplane builders to employees performing non-billable work. Some industries rely more heavily on project management software than others, with professional services organizations in particular needing the support of project management software to deliver complex projects while working with many different customers simultaneously. Consulting firms, IT services providers, marketing agencies, and technology companies with embedded professional services teams commonly use project management software to handle a massive project workload spread across many different customers.

It’s not just project managers using these applications – in these organizations, nearly everyone involved in providing services to customers across a complex project delivery lifecycle touches project management software. This includes sales teams who set up SOWs, resource management teams who assign resources to tasks, consultants who track time and expenses and provide updates on assigned tasks and finance team members who track project costs, payments, and revenue. These team members need tools that let them sustain high-quality work, fuel creativity, make the most of their team members, and keep clients engaged and satisfied.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s recent research report, “The Macro Technology Shift Impacting the Professional Services Industry,” there is a growing demand for stronger software solutions that can meet the growing demands of today’s professional services firms. According to the research, 41% of respondents want to break down collaboration barriers, 40% want to manage resources better across project life cycles, and 39% want to increase their agility and responsiveness to changes and scenarios based on data.

In professional services, each project is an opportunity to generate revenue. But it is also the chance to build lasting customer relationships that foster repeat business. This means more predictable profits and greater financial stability as a business.

Software that keeps track of the granular details that make up every project can help. But before choosing a project management software solution, you should consider the pros and cons of each option.


What are the Advantages of Project Management Software?

Project management software provides an array of advantages for companies seeking to optimize their operations, enhance efficiency, and maintain a consistent, seamless workflow. In a dynamic business environment, it is essential to maintain high productivity levels, and this is where project management software excels.

Improved organization and prioritization are some of the top benefits of project management software. These solutions allow managers to define tasks clearly, set deadlines, assign responsibility, and keep track of all project components in a centralized location. Its further aids in scheduling and resourcing, preventing bottlenecks or under-utilization of resources.

Project management software also enhances communication and collaboration, particularly vital in a distributed or remote work setting. Team members can exchange ideas, updates, and feedback in real time, leading to improved decision-making, higher customer satisfaction, and better customer retention. Also, project management software provides a clear overview of each team member’s workload and progress, facilitating equitable distribution of tasks.

Another significant advantage of project management software is risk mitigation. These tools provide managers with insight into a project’s potential pitfalls and how to circumvent them, thus ensuring the project stays on track. Through early detection of any deviation from the set plan, preventive measures can be undertaken promptly, saving time and resources.

Some applications reduce redundancy, particularly in businesses that are dependent on spreadsheets to manage projects and project resources — project management software consolidates systems so that information exists in only one place. This helps team members avoid file redundancies, which can contribute to what some call a “versioning nightmare.” In addition to mitigating the number of differing files, project management software also ensures teams use one method to track time, tasks, expenses, and other budgeting items such as invoices and more. Having one system encourages teams to work creatively within a given framework and prevents miscommunications and errors that often come from using multiple solutions for one project.

Finally, modern project management software can automate many different recurring processes and provide a central hub to manage resources, tasks, schedules, projects, and communication. All this information living in one system gives you a huge opportunity to run progress reports — whether daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, all on an automated schedule. Today’s advanced systems can offer real-time progress reports, so you can easily visualize and share information related to project health. This not only gives you insight into where you can adjust your resources to make smarter project-delivery decisions; it also enables you to give detailed, transparent responses to stakeholder questions.


What are the Disadvantages of Project Management Software?

Despite its multiple advantages, there are potential disadvantages to the use of project management software that is essential to consider before its implementation.

One of the primary drawbacks is the initial costs involved. The purchase of software licenses, equipment upgrades, and training sessions can pose a considerable financial burden for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Additionally, using project management software might increase complexity rather than streamline it. With the plethora of features that such software offers, team members might become overwhelmed. Unless proper training is provided, user resistance and reluctance to embrace the software can negatively affect productivity.

Project management software also runs the risk of depersonalizing project management. Over-reliance on the software can make team members less connected, reducing the interpersonal and spontaneous communications that are key in a dynamic work environment. It can create a false sense of security, causing users to neglect or overlook significant tasks, believing that the software will catch any oversight.

It also introduces the potential for security and privacy issues. The sharing of sensitive information on a platform accessible to multiple users can be problematic if proper protocols and controls are not implemented.

Lastly, project management software often requires an initial time investment for users to get acquainted with its features and functions. This could result in a temporary dip in productivity as users navigate the software, interrupting regular workflow until familiarity and fluency with the system is established.


How to Compare Project Management Software?

The project management software landscape is complex and multi-faceted, with hundreds of solutions vying for buyers’ attention. These solutions run the gamut from simple task management tools to collaborative work management applications to specialized industry clouds like Professional Services Cloud platforms that cater to the unique use cases of a specific sector. The good news is that the right solution for your business’s needs and core use cases almost certainly exists. The bad news is that it might be hard to find in a crowded project management software landscape, and there might be a lot of dead ends to explore on the way there.

Put bluntly, not all project management solutions are created equal. For professional services firms that have unique needs across the services delivery lifecycle, it is important to adopt software that is purpose-built to address the essential project management needs that come with managing revenue-generating, customer-facing services. This is where vertical-specific tools like Oas36ty’s project management software differ from horizontal point solutions.

Many project management software solutions are focused on getting work done, and not on the larger business impact of that work. In a survey from S&P Global Market Intelligence, businesses using popular project management tools in the collaborative work management category to manage client service delivery say their top three challenges with these tools are:

  • Difficulty integrating financial information into how they manage their projects
  • Difficulty doing detailed resource management and capacity planning
  • Lack of features specific to how professional services teams work

Using tools like these to manage revenue-generating, client-facing projects can leave project managers and team members clear on the next steps, but they need to be clearer on key performance indicators like utilization, burn rate, and margin. This is why professional services firms looking for solutions to improve project performance should explore industry-specific software solutions that include project management capabilities like Professional Services Cloud (PS Cloud) and Professional Services Automation (PSA).

Before you begin reviewing today’s project management software solutions, you should define what you want your new system to do for your organization. Once these are defined by a team of stakeholders that will be part of the decision process, you can begin your project management software research. Some trusted websites like G2 already provide reviews and rankings highlighting the best project management software out there to save you time.

Once you have narrowed down your search to a few leading solutions, use the following 5 steps to help compare and contrast software to find the right one for your company.

  1. Do your research. Use sites like G2 to conduct research that helps you find your most promising project management software solutions.
  2. Schedule a demo with a prospective software provider. Usually, this option appears on their website and will get you in touch with a representative.
  3. Assess the full cost of software systems you want to consider. Don’t forget to factor in the hidden costs of integration, inviting clients to use your system and training time.
  4. Get your team’s buy-in. These are the folks who have to use the software, so let them evaluate the product you are considering so they can alert you to the advantages and disadvantages they would know best related to actually using the software in daily work.
  5. Build relationships with the provider’s staff. Your interactions with representatives will show you the quality of customer experience you will have once you adopt their technology.

Together, these steps will lead you to a solution that will address your company’s needs both today and for years to come.


Project management tool for IT and Telecommunications

Project management tools tailored for IT and telecommunications must accommodate specific industry requirements. Additional requirements for IT project management software include:


  • Service Desk Integration: Integrating project management with service desks or ticketing systems helps in prioritizing and managing IT support tasks.
  • Change Management: Tools that support change management processes ensure that IT project changes are logged, reviewed, and approved systematically.
  • Capacity Planning: Understanding resource availability and constraints is crucial for managing IT projects, requiring tools with advanced resource planning features.


Project management software for non-profit and education organizations

Project management software tailored for non-profit and education organizations must address their unique operational needs, encompassing budget and grant management, volunteer coordination, and outcome tracking.

  • Budget and Grant Management: Projects often operate under tight budgets or specific grant requirements, necessitating tools with detailed financial tracking and reporting features.
  • Volunteer Coordination: Tools that can manage volunteer schedules, tasks, and communications are essential for non-profits relying on volunteer labor.
  • Outcome Tracking: For educational and non-profit projects, software that can track and report on outcomes relative to goals is valuable.

Each industry brings its own set of requirements to project management software, influenced by its specific challenges, workflows, and regulatory environment. Understanding these nuances is key to selecting a software solution that not only supports effective project management but also aligns with industry-specific needs, enhancing project outcomes and organizational efficiency.


The impact of project management software on business performance

Recent research underscores the value of project management software in boosting productivity and project success rates. For instance, a study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) reveals that over 75% of high-performing projects are supported by project management tools. This statistic highlights the critical role such software plays in achieving project objectives efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, the market for project management solutions is projected to grow, signaling the expanding recognition of their significance in successful project execution.


The choice of project management software can significantly influence the success of a project. By carefully evaluating the types of software available, understanding the main requirements, and avoiding common selection mistakes, organizations can select a project management tool that best fits their needs, thereby enhancing project outcomes and business performance.


Best Project Management Software Features

The best project management software platforms are versatile, offering far more than just task management or communication tools.

We’ll look at eight key features distinguishing a superior project management solution.


Project planning templates

Templates save time and offer an antidote to some of the limitations we mentioned above. Project templates are a way to achieve both flexibility and consistency — they make it easier to kickstart new projects and build scalable processes.

Don’t just use templates for projects. Improve efficiency with a platform that also features retainer templates, invoice templates, and more.


Gantt charts and Kanban boards

Everyone visualizes projects differently. Two of the most popular visual formats, Gantt charts, and Kanban boards help teams in equally important ways.

An advanced timeline view, a Gantt chart highlights dependencies and shows how tasks weave into project schedules and deadlines.

Kanban boards act as moveable task lists and are essential for keeping tasks categorized.

Never used these project visualization methods? Start with this Gantt chart guide.


Collaboration tools

One of the most useful functions of project software is as a central workspace for team collaboration. Collaboration relies on the basics of file sharing, commenting, and brainstorming, but it’s also more layered. To support true team partnership, all project contributors and account managers must have visibility of the most up-to-date project status and client communications.

Before you adopt new software, think about how you collaborate on a project — and how you’d like that to look in the future.



Built-in automation is no longer a nice-to-have feature. To stay competitive, you need to streamline all the facets of a project, including workflows, report generation, reminders, and client follow-up. The ripple effect of greater efficiency due to automation is big: Your clients will take note and your bottom line will reflect it. Search for software that supports an automated approach to project management as a start.

Here are four ideas for project-related business processes to automate.


Resource management

The success of your projects directly correlates with how well you allocate resources. A project management platform wouldn’t be complete without project scheduling, utilization data, and other resource management functionality. You don’t just need an availability calendar; you need to consider skillsets, project changes, and more to zero in on the most profitable resourcing.

Learn best practices for team scheduling and how a platform like Oas36ty’s can support you.


Visible metrics

You can get as far into the weeds as you’d like with reporting, but at the very least, you need to know what’s going on with your projects right now. Are they on time? On budget? Are there any overdue tasks? Don’t commit to software without a way to easily view your project performance.

Project management software can help you make the transition from relying on historical data to being driven by real-time data.


Mobile app

No matter what industry you’re in, there may be times when you need to make essential updates to client work and projects on the go. A project management app is a must-have. While mobile apps are now common, not all are as intuitive as they should be. As you vet platforms, don’t forget to explore their mobile interfaces and see if they have the essential features, you need when you’re on-site or away from your desktop.

What does an effective client work management app look like? Get a glimpse of Oas36ty’s brand-new mobile app.



Depending on the scope of features in a project management tool, you may need to connect several other applications to customize how your team completes client work. Native integrations could be the answer, although it’s important to check on their limitations and whether there is bi-directional syncing, especially for a CRM, accounting software, and other data-heavy tools.

Integration potential is a lot less restrictive when you have access to a powerful API. Read how one website management firm streamlined recurring tasks by building a site health check app that connects to Oas36ty.


How To Choose the Right Project Management Tool

Choosing software can feel intimidating, but there’s no need to rush into it. Pause and think about the following three factors.

  • Alignment with business needs: You know your business best. Your team size, client demographics, type and duration of projects, and growth goals can determine how well a given software will work. Envision your ideal internal processes and way of interacting with clients before searching for the right platform.
  • Scalability and adaptability: As you evaluate client work tools, think about whether they can grow with your business. If you’re looking to scale, can a given platform help you establish processes that will withstand the pressure? What about accommodating more users?
  • Adaptability is just as important: Can you customize things like sales and project statuses to adapt a platform to the way your team works? Software should be versatile enough that slight changes won’t affect your ability to use it to its full potential.
  • User experience and support: No matter how feature-rich a client work tool is, it will fall short if it’s not user-friendly. You need to work with a software provider that understands that your time is a valuable resource. Not only should navigating the software be intuitive, but reaching out for support should be simple and quick.



What is the project management software?

Project management software is designed to help businesses and individuals track projects, tasks, and schedules. The core value of this kind of software is its ability to bring structure to complexity. It's a great tool for staying organized and ensuring your team remains on task and aligned with project objectives.


What are the four main types of project management software?

The four main types of project management software include desktop, web-based, integrated, and client-server. Determining which type to use has to do with the number of people working on the project as well as the number and scope of the projects.


What is Oas36ty's project management?

Oas36ty's Project management helps teams organize and prioritize tasks to better achieve business goals. To handle the complex processes involved in projects like developing an app or onboarding a new employee, you need a modern project management platform.


Where is project management software used?

Consulting firms, IT services providers, marketing agencies, and technology companies with embedded professional services teams commonly use project management software to handle a massive project workload spread across many different customers.


Why is project management software used?

Project management software can help you with time management using features to build work calendars, make Gantt charts, schedule staff, track time spent on tasks, reserve equipment and spaces, and analyze where resources are going (and when).


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