Are you a project manager of a software development team? Then you could greatly benefit from project management software, as it can enhance team collaboration, streamline your workflows, and boost developer productivity.
With so many PM software solutions on the market, it can be tough to pick the right one to fit your needs. That is why we came up with a list of features you should look for in project management software. Look at the features and jot down the ones that fit your software development team’s needs the most. Then start shopping around for PM tools that offer such features so you can make an informed decision.
- Task Management
- Time Tracking
- Resource Tracking and Allocation
- Customizations for Workflows
- Issue Tracking
- Multiple Views
- Kanban Boards
- Gantt Charts
- Document and File Sharing
- Reporting and Advanced Reporting
Example of Monday.com Planning Tools
Being tasked with completing a complex project can lead to a ton of confusion at the start. That is where planning features in PM software can save the day, as they give project managers a systematic approach to execution. Planning features let PMs create a roadmap for success by defining objectives, creating schedules and deadlines, identifying risks, and allocating resources. They let project managers ensure all team members are aligned and on the same page. And planning features also help mitigate risks, monitor progress, and improve decision-making.
Examples of planning features found in the top project management tools include predefined templates for specific project types, time estimation, scheduling, resource allocation, cost management and budgeting, task dependencies, and milestone tracking.
Monday.com is a great example of project management software that has plenty of planning features. Check out our Monday.com Review to learn more about its benefits and pricing.
Task Management Features
Example of Task Management features in Wrike
Task management is an essential part of project management software for many reasons. It provides the organization, structure, and tracking necessary for project execution. Task management lets project managers take complex projects and break them down into more manageable tasks. And it also lets them set deadlines, assign resources, and track progress to ensure goals are met. Pick a PM tool with robust task management, and you can enjoy benefits like improved communication, accountability, optimized resource allocation, minimized risk, and increased productivity.
Examples of task management features include abilities to create tasks with details and assign them to specific team members. Task dependencies let you link related tasks together, and dependency tracking ensures they get completed in the proper order to prevent delays. Other task management features to look for include prioritization, progress tracking, task comments and discussions, file attachments, filtering and sorting, and reminders and notifications.
Wrike is an excellent project management tool for task management. Check out our Wrike Project Management Software Review to learn more.
Example of ZenHub collaboration
Many project managers look for PM software simply because of its collaboration features. The right collaboration software can promote communication and teamwork, ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and provide transparency amongst all stakeholders. Without the proper collaboration tool, giving and receiving feedback can be impossible, which can prevent problems from being fixed and prevent products from reaching their full potential. And without collaboration software, development teams will also find it much harder to work toward a common goal.
Some features collaboration software should have include real-time communication via chat, conversations, or discussions, task comments, @mentions, team dashboards, activity feeds, tagging, notifications and alerts, file sharing, document collaboration, user activity tracking, access control and permissions, and video conferencing. And if a project management tool lacks some of those essentials, it should have integrations with third-party apps like Slack.
ZenHub has some great collaboration features worth checking out. You can read our ZenHub Project Management Review to learn more.
Example of time tracking features in LiquidPlanner
Time tracking lets project managers, developers, and programmers see how much time is spent on specific tasks. This lets them know if a project is progressing and if resources are being utilized properly. Time tracking can also pinpoint bottlenecks or inefficiencies so project managers can easily spot areas for improvement or concern. This essential project management tool feature also promotes accountability between team members, boosts focus and productivity, and helps with scheduling, forecasting, and budgeting.
Some time tracking features to look for when shopping for PM software include a built-in timer, manual logging, categories (billable, non-billable, etc.), timesheets, calendar integration, reminders to log time, and reporting.
Resource Tracking and Allocation
Successful project execution will be a tough feat without resource tracking and allocation features, as they allow project managers to ensure that resources like team members, budget, equipment, etc., are being used properly. Resource tracking and allocation simplify decision-making so that resources are allocated where and when needed. And by ensuring resource utilization is optimized, these features help project managers avoid conflicts, minimize risks, meet deadlines, and achieve goals.
Examples of such features include resource dashboards that offer real-time insights into resources’ availability, utilization, and allocation. Others are resource request and approval workflows, resource allocation charts, resource utilization reports, availability notifications, and cost tracking.
Customizations for Workflows
Custom workflows are essential for any software development team since they define how a project’s work is structured and executed. Through customized workflows, project managers can ensure their preferred terminology, approval processes, stages, dependencies, etc., are used, which can also reduce onboarding time.
Examples of such features found in some PM tools include workflow templates, custom task statuses, task dependency and sequencing rules, automated workflows and triggers, and approval processes.
Dashboards give project managers and stakeholders insight into project performance via a consolidated view. Comprehensive dashboards will offer valuable information regarding tasks, project progress, key performance indicators, milestones, resource allocation, risks, and more, and they are essential for transparency and data-driven decision-making.
Many project management solutions will feature dashboards with a project overview, Gantt charts, milestone tracking, risk and issue tracking, resource allocation, and financial tracking. Dashboards are typically customizable too.
Example of issue and release tracking in Jira
Issue tracking can convert PM software into a valuable developer tool. It lets project managers and developers spot, document, and track issues before they balloon into more significant problems that can stall projects.
Examples of issue-tracking features include detailed issue logging, prioritization, assignment, status tracking, comments, documentation and attachments, notifications or alerts, progress monitoring, and reporting and analytics.
Jira from Atlassian is particularly well-known for its issue tracking features. You can learn more in our Jira Project Management Software Review.
Having multiple views in project management software allows stakeholders to view and digest essential data in ways that fit their needs. Through enhanced comprehension, they can make data-driven and confident decisions faster and enjoy a higher level of transparency.
Examples of multiple views found in PM software include calendars, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, lists, tables, grids, customizable dashboards, etc.
Kanban boards display tasks and their progress. They allow team members to instantly view work status and spot potential bottlenecks, while also boosting collaboration and workflow efficiency.
Many Kanban boards come with features like drag-and-drop functionality, customization, task cards, columns and swimlanes, task assignments, work-in-progress limits, and due dates.
Example of TeamGantt Gantt chart features
Gantt charts help project managers plan and allocate resources by displaying project tasks, dependencies, timelines, and milestones. A Gantt chart shows task duration, sequence, critical paths, and overall progress.
Many project management solutions offer Gantt charts with task dependencies, task durations, constraints, milestones, critical path analysis, baseline comparison, filtering, and progress tracking.
TeamGantt is a popular PM solution for developers and project managers looking for Gantt chart functionality. Read our TeamGantt Review for more details.
Document and File Sharing
Collaboration software needs document and file sharing for transparency, version control, and the exchange of detailed information and feedback between team members. By accessing critical files and documents from a single spot, PMs and developers can ensure they are looking at the most up-to-date information.
Document and file-sharing features often include document editing, commenting, access control and permissions, linking, search and filters, updates, notifications, file versioning, and cloud storage integration.
With integrations, PM software users can access all of their favorite tools in one place. They can extend the functionality of the project management software to give it whatever it is lacking and ensure that project data remains up-to-date across all tools.
Most project management software comes with a plethora of integrations with third-party tools for collaboration, time tracking, scheduling, document storage, reporting, financial management, issue and bug tracking, version control, and more.
Reporting and Advanced Reporting
Reporting and advanced reporting features in project management software provide transparency, progress tracking, performance evaluation, and clarity for data-driven decision-making. Reports also promote communication and strengthen relationships with stakeholders, giving them easy-to-digest insight into how a project is progressing.
Project managers and developers can typically find burndown charts, velocity charts, bug and issue reports, and team performance dashboards in many PM tools. Some offer custom reporting as well.
Project management software can vary significantly in terms of price. Some PM tools have free forever plans and free trials, so you can test the features before investing any cash. Be sure to shop around until you find the PM software that fits your budget. Know that by choosing annual pricing, you can typically enjoy a discount versus taking the monthly route.
Final Thoughts on Project Management Software Features
As you can see, the ideal PM software can pack a ton of functionalities in its feature list, including collaboration, file sharing, task management, and third-party integrations. While your programming team may not need all the features listed above, make sure the project management tool you choose has the essentials required for your software development projects.
Now that you have a firm understanding of the types of features to look for in project management software, check out our list of the Top Project Management Software and Tools for Developers.