Best Team Management Software & Tools in 2021
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Table of contents
- Compare the best team management software
- What is team management software?
- Team management software features
- Industry and departmental team management software
- Benefits of team management software
- Creating buy-in for team management software
- Choosing the best team management software
Compare the best team management software
What is team management software?
Team management software is a type of software that gives a company a centralized view of employee activities, project-related tasks, necessary files, and collaborative discussions. The software may also include time tracking, budgeting, or sales and marketing tools.
- Which team management software is right for you?
Simple team management software
The most basic of team management tools give organizations and individuals a place to assign tasks to individuals, track projects, and store important documents and project assets. These tools combine the usefulness of a cloud document storage tool with collaborative features like multiple users on the same document and task management.
A robust document creation and task management tool like Notion works for team management as it provides a place for all team members to collaborate around shared documents, delegate tasks, and build projects. Similarly, a communication and productivity platform like Zoho Workplace that brings together documents, messaging, and video calls in a single location can help teams align.
Team management software vs. project management software
Team management software is an extension of project management software. They are similar tools, but most team management software includes some features that specifically help managers understand the resources they have available and the state of multiple projects, like task scheduling, file sharing, time tracking, and budgeting. You may find some of these features in a robust project management software.
Team management vs. business process management software
Team management software overlaps significantly with business process management (BPM) software, as the two help companies map out their projects and processes. BPM software is highly reliant on automation, however, and prioritizes the mapping and optimization of workflows. Team management software, on the other hand, attempts to organize and centralize the information that is required to keep a team engaged and productive while working on projects.
Team management software vs. ERP
Team management software overlaps with many enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, although ERP software is designed for multinational, franchise, or enterprise-level corporations. Team management software helps companies of all sizes manage their human and digital asset resources, while ERP software centralizes operations for highly complex companies. The difference between these two software types is a matter of scope. A multinational organization may use an ERP at the company level and implement team management software that integrates with their ERP to keep teams organized. Or a small business may use team management software to optimize their project processes until they need extra features afforded by an ERP.
Team management software features
Team management software covers many different features that may also be found in other software. Check to see that your preferred software has all the right features with this list of essential tools.
To accurately understand your team’s resources, you have to be able to budget their time well. Time tracking tools in team management software give insight into the amount of time each team member spends on a project, the number of billable hours you can charge a client, and where the team might need more resources in order to complete the project. A robust team management software might also connect time tracking to billing and invoicing tools, either as integrated features or via an API connection.
Task scheduling tools give teams control over who completes tasks, when those tasks get completed, and what priority those tasks take. Task management features are a major part of any project management tool, but in a team management tool, you will see these features with an integrated calendar to ensure the timely completion of tasks within the context of other projects and priorities.
An organized and efficient team should be able to access all of the project-critical assets they need whenever they need them. Team management software will allow users to store vital documents and files in a shared folder or according to the project. Look for tools that allow varied access levels for different team members so your team can practice least privileged access.
Messaging tools work best when they’re contextual and searchable. A good team management software will organize messaging around projects or within teams. If the team management tool doesn’t have a native messaging feature, look for your software to connect with the software your team uses to communicate, whether it’s Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Salesforce Chatter.
Businesses thrive on data, and easily accessible and publishable reports are vital to productive team management. The best team management tools have prominent reporting dashboards with customizable views and the option to publish those dashboards to stakeholders, either as an embedded app or via PDF downloads. Alternatively, if the tool does not include built-in data reporting, look for a tool that allows data exports to business intelligence tools or .CSV files that you can use to transfer your data to an analytics tool.
Of course you can use a stand-alone video conference app, but if you’re already doing all of your work in your team management tool, having a web conferencing app in the tool helps you save money on another subscription and keep all of your links readily available for team members to join. Look for video calling to have all the bells and whistles you might need to conduct the majority of your meetings: breakout rooms, whiteboard or drawing tools, and video recordings.
Team management software that helps you coordinate client-based work or contractors will need a budgeting tool to help you ensure that your resources are used correctly. Budgeting features will let you set overall, departmental, and project budgets. They may also include invoicing, work order, and payments tools, although you may need to connect to accounting software to take full advantage of these features.
Project management features
A major component of effective team management is understanding how the team’s work gets done. Ensure that your team management software has useful project management features to assign and organize tasks, visualize due dates across projects, automate approvals, and understand resource allocation.
Industry and departmental team management software
Many software options that eventually turn into team management tools start out as a department-specific app. By adding more and more features, these tools may be useful for all departments but are designed with a single team in mind.
Sales team management tools are designed with customer-focused organizational features at their center like a CRM, lead management, and outreach tools. Good sales team management software should also include a way to import client call notes directly to contacts, a document storage tool, and advanced lead tracking features.
Team management software with sales tools: Scoro
Marketing team management software will include connections to social media apps and content management systems, but will largely be focused on outreach capabilities. Look for team management tools that centralize the marketing team’s content calendar, document storage, and email capabilities. You may consider asset storage space when purchasing these tools, as team members will need full access to video, audio, and graphic design elements.
Team management software with marketing tools: Bitrix24
Benefits of team management tools
In order to fully understand the scope of a project, a team has to break it down into tasks. When teams work on multiple projects simultaneously, this information becomes even more critical to success. A team management software goes beyond the task management of a project management software by organizing workflows and approvals, giving managers a clear view of resource allocation for employee time and budgets, and integrating business-critical apps. Document storage tools, communication features, and automated workflows all help the team keep track of their project assets and speed communication to help everyone understand their role in the project.
In-team and cross-team collaboration
Do you know if collaboration within your team is a problem? How often do your team members reach out to their colleagues for help or clarification on a problem? By centralizing your communication around projects, you can get a better idea of which team members value collaboration. The same is true for cross-team collaboration. A team management software that centralizes communication around a project and its assets will give you a clear indication of what types of communication happen at the company and how you can improve those channels.
A team management software will reduce the amount of time it takes to chase down old documents and find the right person for a project. The tools can also help you take advantage of your most productive contractors and understand which of your clients pays early every month. Save time by centralizing your projects and the apps you use to organize each of those projects.
Central source of truth for files, messages, budgets
A team management software organizes and centralizes all of the documents and information that pertains to a particular project. Whether that project is closing a deal with a client, building a software app, or bringing a new product to market, a team management software can manage all of the assets. This can help your product department understand the bottlenecks that slow the projects down. Your accounting department always knows where to go to find client information or your marketing department can find the customer audience they need to target—all from the files, messages, budgets, and project notes located in the team management software.
Lower software costs for all-in-one tools
Young companies often use lots of free and inexpensive tools to manage their work, but the need for customization, more users, and more useful features often drive up the subscription prices and overall cost of these tools. Moving to a full-service team management software can bring down the company’s overall software costs by coalescing many tools in a single space.
Creating buy-in for team management software
Individual contributors often have their own, highly complex systems for organizing their own work, and most people fear and actively avoid change. In order to get individual contributors to move from their own systems to a team management software, make sure that you highlight the time savings for them in their individual workflow. How can the software reduce the number of hours they spend on follow up, chasing down files, or waiting for an approval to go through? Quantify these improvements and back them up with proper training documents and videos to ensure that everyone knows how to use the new tools.
Managers need to spend less time on oversight so they can spend their time working directly with reports or making big changes that move the needle for the department. Make sure that managers have full training on dashboards and reporting, how to set up automated workflows, and communication oversight to give them the information they need.
Corporate officers need to see how a software can impact the bottom line before signing off. Use case studies from your team management software vendor and examples of workflows or process improvements that back up your decision. Quantify the choice by showing the cost savings in your technology stack, the amount of manual work each team member has to complete, or the hours gained in a typical employee’s day. Don’t forget to include examples of dashboards, reports, and metrics that will now be readily available to the executive team.
Choosing the best team management software
Ultimately, your decision will need you to take into account the types of features you need to complete your work efficiently, the price point that your company is willing to pay, and the amount of customization you require from the vendor.
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- Which team management software is right for you?