Key Capabilities for Effective Project Tracking Software

March 16, 2024
11 min read

Project management has evolved over the years, driven by the need to enhance productivity and efficiency to address today’s complexities. This has seen organizations embrace digital solutions to automate, optimize, and simplify different aspects of project management, like tracking, planning, resource allocation, task scheduling, etc.

According to Gartner, over 85% of businesses use project management software. While this is impressive and a notable step towards digitization, there have been rampant cases of software underutilization, particularly in sectors like construction and manufacturing. Occasionally, teams revert to traditional and familiar tools like Outlook and Excel to track projects.

Yet, modern project management tools provide robust capabilities to enhance and optimize processes like tracking. Industry-specific solutions even offer specialized features, templates, and customization abilities to cater to unique processes and methods. Thus, project managers should be at the forefront of harnessing the full potential of modern software solutions.

This is particularly important for project tracking, which is increasingly becoming complicated, given today’s projects have multifaceted dynamics. However, exploiting the power of project software capabilities can make a difference, allowing you to track every moving part, like tasks, subtasks, deadlines, resources, costs, and time, from a central place.

This post explores the different project-tracking software capabilities and how they can benefit your team and project.

Understanding Project Tracking Software

Project tracking software is a tool for monitoring and managing the progress of a project. It offers several features that enable project managers to track various aspects of a project, such as tasks, resources, timelines, budgets, etc. Plus, it allows you to centralize your project data and collaborate with your teams regardless of their location.

As organizations adopt agile methodologies in project management, tracking software has become a transformative factor, supporting frameworks like Kanban and Scrum to ensure operational agility. Project managers can now iterate quickly, collaborate efficiently, and prioritize tasks to ensure project performance and delivery success.

Given the nature of modern projects, the software couldn’t have happened earlier. Its presence has truly redefined tracking, edging out traditional tools like paper-based logs, whiteboards, spreadsheets, etc. It has also digitalized and consolidated various tools and features like Gantt charts, communication, mobile, builders, etc.

Traditionally disparate systems now work together seamlessly in a singular platform. All these are thanks to dynamic work management tools like Quickbase, which converge AI, automation, and no-code solutions into one powerful tool. Quickbase empowers your team with charts, dashboards, integrations, and mobile support for real-time project tracking.

Essential Software Capabilities for Project Tracking

Whether you’re searching for or exploring a new tracking tool, there are specific core functions the software must possess. Regardless of your project or industry, the fundamentals of project tracking are generally the same. Of course, most software solutions support customizations and integrations to allow you to extend the tool’s capabilities to cater to your unique needs.

Here, we walk you through the essential software capabilities of a tracking tool.

Real-Time Project Monitoring and Reporting

Throughout a project's lifecycle, it’s crucial to stay on top of every detail, including costs, time, deadlines, resources, milestones, etc. Nothing makes this easy like live data, which supports sound decision-making and enables proactive approaches when issues arise. Plus, it allows you to anticipate potential bottlenecks before they occur.

This is easy with real-time project monitoring and reporting, which keeps you continuously updated about tasks, systems, processes, events, resources, etc. The right software must offer a dashboard with instant status reports and easy-to-understand charts and graphs for a high-level, project-wide view. Mobile functionality is also crucial for real-time, on-the-go alerts.

Seamless Integration with Other Tools

Most projects use five or more tools to support different aspects. The number is even higher for complex projects, which use up to 77 unique platforms, according to a 2023 Quickbase study. Without harmonization, such many tools can result in chaos, impacting performance, productivity, costs, visibility, data integrity, etc.

Tracking software solutions address this challenge by supporting interoperability between systems. This allows you to unify your systems and data to create a single source of truth. For instance, Quickbase supports integrations with Slack, Jira, Asana, Lucid, Quickbooks, etc. With such integrations, you can improve collaboration and unlock cross-system intelligence.

Task Allocation and Time Tracking

Tasks are the building blocks of any project, and managing them efficiently allows you to monitor progress, redistribute resources as needed, and address work change orders. With effective allocation, you can prioritize tasks depending on urgency, importance, and impact to ensure they are completed on time and within budget.

Insights into time spent on tasks simplify task planning, budgeting, and resource allocation. They also allow you to understand the performance and efficiency of your teams while improving accountability and profitability. When exploring software solutions, the ability to allocate tasks and track time is crucial and has a significant impact on your project’s success.

Customizable Dashboards and Reports

Project dashboards are a core feature of any tracking tool -- they allow you to visualize your project’s progress and get a central hub for project-wide operations. You can also use them to create custom data views for your stakeholders to ensure they have access to information that matters most to them.

Dashboards also centralize different reports, including cost-benefit analysis, status, progress, resource, executive, and risk reports. This provides an overview of crucial data across your project portfolio. You can personalize your tabular or summary reports depending on your milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) for easy access to project-specific data.

Advanced Analytics for Better Decision-Making

Projects thrive on data, as it is crucial in decision-making, planning, resource allocation, etc. With the right project-tracking tool, you get access to advanced analytics for powerful insights into your project's health and performance. This way, you can empower your teams to make better decisions and find solutions faster.

Analytics even get better with integrations, which allow you to unify your project data across all applications, teams, and departments. You can leverage the insights in different areas, such as planning, delivery management, team analysis, resource management, and risk management, for better task management and improved efficiency.

Choosing the Right Project Tracking Software

Investing in project-tracking software is a noble idea for any organization looking to streamline its operations, control projects, and ensure complete visibility into every task and activity. But, it’s not a matter of picking just any software for project tracking. Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company says up to 70% of digital transformation efforts fail.

The firm cites poor execution and technology choices as some of the reasons for the failure. As such, pay attention to these factors when selecting a tracking tool for your project.

  • Scalability: It’s essential to consider whether the tool can scale with changes in your project needs or company growth. The software must support adjustments and upgrades in capacity and functionalities based on your project’s volatility.
  • Features: Explore the complete features of the software to ensure it offers all the capabilities you need for effective tracking. Examples of features the tool must offer include real-time tracking, dashboards, reports, task scheduling, analytics, etc.
  • Ease of use: The software must be intuitive and easy for your team members to use. It must have a clean user interface, smooth design flow, and accessible navigation. Apart from improving productivity, cohesive ease of use can help increase adoption, too.
  • Integrations: Consider whether the software supports integrations with other systems, tools, and applications in your organization, like email, storage, workflow management, and financial tools. Integrations can streamline workflows and centralize operations.
  • Customization: Pick tracking software that lets you customize reports, workflows, fields, and dashboards to suit your unique needs. It should support different extensions, configurations, and enhancements for effortless adaptation to your preferences.
  • Accessibility: The tool must support dynamic team structures to accommodate today’s diverse work environments. It should be accessible on different devices and platforms, including mobile, to allow team members to access project data and updates anytime.
  • Customer support: No software is straightforward to implement, however simple. So, ensure the vendor offers excellent customer support and multiple contact options, such as calls, chats, emails, and support tickets. You’ll always need help to resolve different issues.

Many project-tracking software solutions exist in the market, including top options like Quickbase, Asana, Trello, Jira, Procore, Wrike, etc. These solutions come with features like scheduling, planning, reporting, resource management, customizable workflows, integrations, etc. Your pick depends on your budget, industry, team size, preferences, and needs.

Quickbase supports integrations with most of these tools for a more streamlined workflow. It also allows you to create a centralized repository where data from different platforms unite to create a harmonized powerhouse for effective tracking. With this capability, you get real-time visibility into task status, progress, risks, resources, and more.

Implementing Project Tracking Software Successfully

Adopting a new software solution triggers org-wide changes, impacting your typical workflows and processes. So, it’s not just a matter of plug-and-play; you need an organizational change management strategy that guides the implementation to ensure success.

This is particularly crucial in complex project environments, where 76% of project managers say adopting new digital solutions is usually highly challenging, according to Fujitsu. Here are vital considerations to ensure successful implementation.

Involve Stakeholders

It’s worth noting that the project reporting software will be used by different teams, both internal and external. While the executive decisions carry weight, they’re not always final, and the input of different stakeholders goes a long way in supporting new software implementation and adoption.

Keeping that in view, it’s crucial to involve all stakeholders, including project managers, team members, IT personnel, contractors, and executives, in the process. Their feedback and input are invaluable in addressing concerns, decision-making, and ensuring improvements.

Customize and Configure

It’s impossible for a new solution to suit your processes off the shelf. As such, you must tailor its settings, features, and functionalities to meet your specific project needs. This demands a deep understanding of your workflows, processes, business goals, and essential functionalities.

Once you have highlighted these and mapped your workflows, go ahead and configure the settings and customize the tool to ensure it provides the most value. Also, modify your forms, reports, templates, and dashboards to align with your branding guidelines.

Employee Training

For successful implementation and adoption, training your team members on new software is crucial. Determine what skills they need to effectively use the new software and identify their specific needs based on their responsibilities, roles, and proficiency levels with similar software.

Provide comprehensive training materials, including tutorials, user manuals, videos, guides, and online resources to support diverse learning styles. Ensure the materials cover the tool’s core features, workflows, and functionalities. Also, encourage your team to explore the tool and offer ongoing support to build confidence, proficiency, and adoption.

Integrate with Existing Tools

You probably have different tools in your tech stack and project ecosystem, including email clients, CRM, communication platforms, ERP systems, accounting tools, collaboration apps, etc. Integrate them with the new software for seamless data exchange and interoperability.

There are different integration points you can use, including database connections, webhooks, APIs, file imports/exports, and custom integration solutions like Quickbase’s Pipelines. Be sure to test integrations using various scenarios and edge cases before org-wide deployment.

Monitor and Improve

The process doesn’t stop at implementation. You need to monitor the use of the new tool and gather feedback from all stakeholders on their experience. Address any concerns, issues, and questions to ensure a positive experience.

Also, identify areas of improvement and make iterative changes to the software to enhance performance, workflows, and the user interface. Track key metrics like team productivity, delivery times, and task completion rates to gauge the performance of the new software.

Harness the Power of Project Tracking Software Capabilities

Project tracking is integral in any project, particularly with the increasing complexities of today’s projects. There are so many moving parts like tasks, key metrics, milestones, deadlines, etc, and project managers must be on top of every aspect to ensure successful outcomes while keeping clients satisfied.

Modern project-tracking software solutions have all the features you need to improve visibility, accountability, resource management, productivity, risk identification, and reporting. Yet, most managers don’t exploit the untapped potential of these capabilities to support their projects. The result includes delays, errors, increased costs, poor decision-making, etc.

Quickbase makes it seamless to discover and deploy these capabilities in your project. It offers AI-powered automation capabilities to streamline project tracking, allowing you to minimize delays and keep projects on track. You get real-time visibility, advanced analytics, automated notifications, and seamless integrations, ensuring a proactive and holistic approach to tracking.

Start your free trial to experience the powerful capabilities of Quickbase in project tracking.