Don’t Be Michael Scott! Use Project Management Software to Manage Without Interfering

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Michael Scott did much to boost productivity.

Those of you who watched The Office know what I mean. For those of you who didn’t, Scott is a manager who:

  •  Interrupted the work day by forcing employees to run a 5k to raise awareness about rabies
  •  Hit an employee with his car
  •  Set the office on fire
don't be michael scott

Courtesy of NBC

Odds are that you probably don’t interfere with your employees’ productivity as much as Michael does, but have you ever considered the possibility that scheduling frequent meetings, demanding complex reports, and not communicating clearly with your employees is costing you more time than you can afford?

If you’ve ever had these concerns, consider the ways that project management software can help you better manage your employees and protect their time. It can help you…

Avoid burning out your employees by attempting the impossible

Project management software lets you base initial estimates on similar projects from the past. This helps you create plausible goals that your employees can steadily work toward instead of impossible feats toward which they slave. If you try to accomplish the impossible, then your employees will always be behind, and you will always be hounding them about their progress.

Get the right people on the job from the start

If you put the right person on the job and train them properly, they should become fairly self-reliant. If you put the wrong person on the job, you’ll constantly be fixing their mistakes or hovering over them to prevent errors. Obviously, neither of those things is good for production.

Project management software can help you get the right people by making it easy for you to define tasks and coordinate resources. Tasking tools help you see the bigger picture by linking interdependent tasks, and will keep things organized as you break down each into smaller sub-tasks. In addition, tracking tools can help you identify available resources with employee pages that show each individual’s workload and scheduled tasks.

Combined, these functions let you see exactly what needs to be done, what needs to be done first, and who’s actually available to do it. Best of all, you’ll know all of that before crunch time kicks in.

Simplify and accelerate reporting

The importance of reporting is obvious — it’s the only way to measure your progress. That said, if you ask your employees to pull data from various places, perform complex calculations, or process a large amount of data to create reports, you’re losing a great deal of time that could be better spent actually producing.

Use a project management solution to automatically generate a variety of customizable reports so that you can make informed judgments with real-time data and still save your team a ton of time.

Centralize communications

According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, 28% of employees’ time is spent reading and answering email. What percent of that time is spent reading and answering emails from you?

A project management platform lets you display deliverables and their due dates in a centralized location so that individuals can track progress for themselves. This helps avoid messy email convos or scattered communication regarding task assignments and specifications.

Track progress without interrupting it

When project management software gives you detailed data about the status of each task, you don’t need to constantly ask your team for status updates. Also, since project management software clearly displays billing information for each project and can track multiple projects simultaneously, you’ll be able to see when your employees’ time is going toward some projects and know why productivity on others has slowed.

Know when to be hands-on

Of course giving your employees room to work is great, but it’s also important to know when you should step in and play a more active role in what’s going on. Thanks to project management software, you’ll be able to see hold-ups or other indications that your presence is actually needed.

For example, included in many project management tools are risk management capabilities. They can help identify risks and then keep tabs on them so that you’ll be notified when you need to rescue a project from a specific risk. Project management tools also often include request management features so that you can keep track of new requests and identify when you’re needed to make sure they’re integrated smoothly with existing plans.

Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

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About the Author

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Alison Klein

Alison Klein is a Marketing Assistant at Capterra. She helps with all marketing-related tasks and reports on customer relationship management. When she’s not covering the software industry, you can find her writing, enjoying good food, and listening to Jay-Z.

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