How to Improve Your Work with a Workload Management Tool
Everyone wants to be on top of their game in the professional world. In the current working environment, workload tools are key to successful project management.
Everyone wants to be on top of their game in the professional world. In the current working environment, workload tools are key to successful project management. These tools help with time tracking, time management, workflow management, and collaboration with team members.
First, we'll look at project management, why it is important, and how to build an efficient management plan. Then we'll talk about three basic workload management tools and how they can help you. Finally, we'll check out some of the most popular workload management software available.
What is Project Management?
Project managers oversee teams of professionals who are working together toward an objective. The objective might be the fulfillment of client needs or an improvement to a company's internal working. The project manager is responsible for keeping the project on track and within budget.
There are different methodologies for project management. Anyone who has been around the professional world for even a short time can tell you that different managers work differently. They should have in common the ability to or order tasks for the project in a logical order and distribute tasks to team members.
Teamwork and Workflow
About 31% of businesses report that the majority of their work is done in teams. Teamwork can be one of a company's greatest assets. Workflow can be managed efficiently and easily with workload management tools.
Workload management tools can bring your project management to a new level. They make it easier for you to check in with team members. Using workload management software with built-in templates makes collaboration easy for the project manager and team members.
Why Is Project Management Important?
Team collaboration is a fantastic way to work. But having a manager or point person who is keeping their eyes on all the moving parts of a project is a necessary component. Workload management software makes the manager’s job easier. Let’s take a look at the difference a project management plan can make for your team.
Effective Workload Management vs. Burnout
The last thing a project manager wants to do is burn out their team members with overscheduling, poorly defined tasks, and ambiguous due dates. Workload management tools will help you organize and clearly represent due dates. They make team collaboration easy by having documents and conversations all in one place, and they will help you see the distribution of tasks among your team.
Team Members and Team Workload Management
Team members will appreciate workload management software for many of the same reasons. 71% of workers say they lose up to five hours a week in meetings. Meeting notes and communication within a workload management platform will save time for all team members.
Another advantage for the project manager is the ability to assign tasks based on team members' skill sets. Team members can also see each other's roles within the project. Projects move along more efficiently when everyone is working to their strengths.
Workload management software gives you a strategy for streamlining your workload. You can quickly sort tasks based on priority. You can organize your incoming data within the platform so that tasks and due dates don't fall through the cracks.
No one likes a big red due date on their calendar, but deadlines keep work flowing and bring your projects to completion. With a workload management tool, individual team members don't have to worry about tracking tasks separately. Everyone is on the same page within the platform for due dates and prioritization of tasks.
Freelancers and Remote Teams
Freelancers and remote workers are taking up a larger and larger share of the workforce. Having workload management software is more important than ever for creating a shared workspace for geographically separated team members.
File sharing, updates, and notifications within the platform you choose make instant collaboration possible. Workload management software helps you create a work environment that is freelance and remote worker friendly.
How Do You Manage a Workload Plan?
As a project manager, planning is the key to successful project completion. You must consider your current workload and the tools at your disposal to organize your team and assign tasks. We'll talk about some tools to help you do that. First, let's consider resource planning and automation of repetitive tasks.
Resource Planning: Your Roadmap
Resources are limited, and you must allocate them effectively. The purpose of resource planning is to maximize the utilization of human and non-human resources. You also want to prevent overscheduling your team members. Workload management software gives you a dashboard on which to view your project. This is your roadmap for allocating resources.
Any project is going to contain tasks of differing priority. You'll have essential tasks that have sub-tasks. Within your workload management software, the team will quickly see which tasks are crucial and which sub-task need to be done to support the priorities.
You will also see some repetitive tasks. The most common is the need to update project information across tools. Monday.com, for example, has a feature that allows you to update information in one place. You wouldn't have to hand off information across departments manually. Team members can focus on getting work done rather than updating the same information for multiple departments.
What are the Different Types of Workload Management Tools?
Anyone who has ever attended a business webinar will have seen a Kanban board in the background. This is one tool that we will discuss. Workload Management Tools are visual representations of workflow. Before the computer age came about, these tools were all physical tools. The software platforms we will talk about take these tools and put them in digital form.
Three Basic Workload Management Tools
Here’s a quick overview of tools that have proven results.
Kanban boards are helpful for both personal and project-wide organization. The classic, physical Kanban board is a whiteboard divided into columns with post-it notes or cards in each column. Each card is a task, and the columns are stages of completion.
The columns may be labeled "order processed,” "fulfilled,” "shipped," etc. Team members move cards along as tasks are moving through the process. Apps like Trello and Asana are digital Kanban boards.
A Gantt chart is a scheduling tool invented by Henry Gantt between 1910-1915. The new school meets the old school in organization on sites like Smartsheets.com. A virtual Gantt chart is easier to update and share with your team.
Each task on a Gantt chart is a horizontal bar. Time increments are labeled horizontally across the chart. Long bars represent tasks with greater timeframes. You can also shade the bar for each task according to the level of completeness.
The third primary workload management tool is the mind map. This tool is best utilized by the project manager during the planning phase. A mind map helps you see how details relate to one another so you can prioritize them.
A mind map has a central goal with related details radiating outward from the center. The further from the center a detail is, the less significant it is.
Workload Management Software
Here we come to the main event. What are some workload management software programs, and what are their features? Some platforms are one of the basic tools above. Several platforms are a combination of them. We will take a look at several of the most popular platforms.
Asana is a digital Kanban Board program. It is iOS and Android compatible. Asana offers a free Basic level for those just getting started with project management. The Basic level includes time tracking, project overview, and includes up to 15 team members. You also get unlimited projects, tasks, messages, and file storage.
You can upgrade to the Premium level in Asana for more features. There is a small monthly fee per user. This upgrade gets you an admin console, task templates, and other customizations.
Business level Asana will cost about $300 per year for each user. With this upgrade, you get many more customizable features such as portfolios, goals, and workload. This level can be worth the fee considering advanced integration with other platforms such as Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, and others.
Jira is a workload management software for software development teams. It is much more than a Kanban Board because teams can develop unique workflow processes.
Jira is free for up to ten users. After that level, three more levels allow businesses to increase features and integrations as their business grows. Software developers should consider the features of each level of Jira and take into account their team's needs.
Trello is another digital Kanban board. The free level gives your team unlimited boards, members, and storage. A ten-board limit per workspace might make you consider one of the subscription levels.
Trello does have some customizable features and automation functions at its free level. It is also both iOS and Android compatible. Trello also has three more levels that will scale with your business. It is one of the least expensive workload management tools costing about $210 per user per year at the Enterprise level.
Monday.com can give you Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and many other ways to represent workflow. Automation and integration are specialties for this platform. They have the most connectors for integrating across platforms.
Monday also has scalable membership packages. Two-member teams can use it for free and enjoy over 200 templates, unlimited boards, and documents. After the free level, there is Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. You will have to subscribe up to the Standard level to get the Gantt chart features. Standard is the most popular level, priced at $10 per user per month. Integrations and automation also start at this level.
Contact Monday for Enterprise level pricing. But you won't need that unless you need more than 25,000 automation and integration actions per month. You can get those at the Pro level plus create a dashboard with up to ten boards.
Smartsheet is one of the leading workload management platforms in the executive world. Even companies as huge as PayPal and HP utilize this software. Smartsheet has a spreadsheet-type interface but can easily convert to Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and calendars.
You can try Smartsheet free for thirty days but then will have to subscribe. The Pro level costs $7 per month per user with a minimum of three team members. You'll also get 20 BG of attachment storage and 250 automation actions each month. Smartsheet's Business level costs $25 per month per user also with a minimum of three users. There are several extensions at this level and your attachment storage goes up to 1 TB.
Contact Smartsheet for their Enterprise level costs. If you decide to subscribe at that level, you'll get ongoing 24/7 phone support. This level also has many more features and unlimited attachment storage.
Over two million professionals use Wrike for workload management. It has Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendars, and personalized dashboards.
Wrike's free level allows you unlimited users and 2 GB of storage space. The first paid level, Professional, is $9.80 per month per user. This level will get you integration with other programs such as MS Project and Excel.
Wrike's Business level is its most popular. At this level, you'll also get 200 automated actions per user per month. You'll also have 5 GB of storage and integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. Two more levels, Enterprise and Pinnacle, require you to contact Wrike for pricing. As with the other platforms, these elite levels have the most features and highest security.
Choosing a Workload Management Tool
As you can see, there are myriad variables to consider when choosing workload management software. Consider the size of your team. Will you need to scale your business shortly? Which level of any platform will give you the most for your money? Many of these platforms claim that you can increase productivity by 50%. Only you can put those claims to the test in real-time.
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