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How Visual Project Management Software Helps Track Task Progress

Category: B2B News
How does visual PM software help track task progress?
Visual project management software helps track task progress by presenting tasks and workflows in visualized forms. Tasks are presented as colors, symbols or charts so they can easily be viewed by the team leader and the project team. This makes for faster adoption, better collaboration, and improved communication among project stakeholders.

Do you find it challenging to track project tasks? You may be encountering difficulties in monitoring who is doing what or what the status of tasks is. You need visual project management software. In this article, we’ll explore how visual project management software helps track task progress and facilitates fast adoption by users.

Visual project management solutions provide tools to visualize a project, its many accompanying tasks, the numerous project data, and other project requirements. These tools can be used to track and present tasks, progress, status, performance, indicators and other data in visual form so they can easily be understood by project stakeholders. We’ll be looking into these visualization aids and methods and the benefits they provide which can trigger faster adoption of visual PM solutions.

track progress with pms

Why Visualize Projects and Tasks?

There are many reasons why projects and tasks should be presented in visual form. Here are the most compelling ones:

We are visual beings

Vision is the dominant sense of humans. According to the study of Dr. Lawrence D. Rosenblum from his book See What I’m Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses, human’s sense of sight is able to process 83% of cognitive information compared to all the other basic senses.

Amount of Information Processed by Human Senses

83%

Sight

11%

Hearing

3.5%

Smell

2.5%

Touch

1%

Taste

Source: Dr. Lawrence Rosenblum

Designed by

What does this mean? We are hard-wired to understand, learn, and perceive things visually. People can better recall images than text-based information, confirming the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Our visual facility and inclination augur well for presenting data in colorful and attractive patterns or designs. With visuals, people consume and remember information more effectively. This can lead to deeper communication and better collaboration among project team members and other stakeholders. Not to mention, more efficient processes.

Lots of data

Even the simplest of projects will have you dealing with a significant amount of data and information. These can pertain to anything related to your project components – people, work hours, schedules, budget, materials, plans, designs, and more.

Imagine a bigger and more complex project that multiplies the number of components. You’ll be looking and working on tons of data. There are many data points to work on and data sets to examine. These include task lists, capital and operational expenditures, labor estimates, performance metrics, cost-benefit analysis, and other project-related items.

What better way to understand them than with charts, graphs, and diagrams. You need overview and control in order to stay on top of project management and execution. Visual PM software can do wonders in transforming numerous complicated data into bite-sized, easily digestible visuals.

So little time

According to a Harvard Business Review study, the typical American CEO on average works 9.7 hours per weekday and accumulates around 48.5 hours per workweek. The chief also puts in 3.9 hours on weekends and 2.4 hours on vacation days. That’s a busy body you can’t bother with one precious hour just to present your volumes of data.

But then, everyone concerned with a project – management, stakeholders, team members – are simply too busy with their respective work. There just seems to be no time to go over stacks of data to make important project-related decisions. You don’t want to burden the company president and other stakeholders with making sense of data. They don’t have the luxury of time and it’s not their job.

It falls squarely on your shoulders to inform stakeholders of project status and progress. Visual PM software compresses data and visually presents it as summaries and highlights. Clarity, visibility, and speed are afforded to stakeholders who need to make important, instant decisions.

reporting dashboards, numbers that matter

At-a-glance reporting dashboards give project stakeholders the numbers that matter. (Source: monday.com blog)

A project is full of moving parts—people, tasks, tools, processes, resources, etc.—that need to be in sync and visible to the project manager. These same parts can be scaled depending on the size and requirements of a project. Likewise, they can be used again and repeated for other projects. Robust project management platforms can bring together these parts. But visual PM tools do it much better and clearer.

Visual PM software organizes and visualizes the many project components, including the tasks required to complete the project. It’s something like what popular PM software monday.com offers – one visual and collaborative platform to plan, organize, and track projects. You can try the software right now to see for yourself how it visualizes tasks and projects.

You can easily sign up for monday.com free trial here.

How Visual PM Software Helps in Tracking Task Progress

Visual PM software will give you the means that enable you and your team to organize, plan, and move work forward in a visual way. Think of the popular and proven Kanban method. This and many other similar tools that use colors, shapes, objects, and symbols enable visibility over tasks and assignments.

Visualized task tracking facilitates the flow of work and keeps everyone updated of current work status. Furthermore, each one gets to view the expected steps ahead and what to do next. The process of information exchange, collaboration, and communication are greatly enhanced.

Here are the advantages of visual task management. We’ve also included the typical tools used that have become core features of modern visual PM software.

1. It gives you visibility & control

Imagine the “Air Boss” perched six floors up on the island structure of an aircraft carrier. He gets full visibility of the football field-size deck and, with his team, manages and controls aircraft operations including simultaneous take-offs and landings. With a visual task manager, you are at the helm of the command and control platform. You see to it that tasks and workflows move smoothly according to their order.

Features: Dashboards, visual workflows, and project/task templates. Take note, these are not your ordinary static boards but editable, interactive dashboards and templates with a drag-and-drop interface.

monday.com offers an extensive template collection categorized by industry and which include example content or actual project plan. (Source: Zapier Blog)

2. It is easy to prioritize work and move them faster

That visibility factor lets you identify tasks that need to be done quickly so that the project won’t be compromised. You can shift tasks, people, and assignments so you get a balanced allocation of work with the available worker. These accelerate workflows, ensuring that projects are delivered on time.

Features: Tags, labels, @mentions, and avatars or photo of a team member. These ensure that tasks (together with notes, instructions, and attachments) are properly identified as well as the responsible individual. This gives you clarity over taskings and which need to be completed first.

3. Visual tools let you pinpoint obstacles and avoid escalation

Time-sensitive projects should be cleared of impediments. You have a full view of the task board and have an idea of where obstacles are. They could be in cards or boxes that are not moving or those that are indicated by a different color. In other words, with a visual task tracking tool, you have the means to anticipate where issues can occur and immediately do something about it.

Features: Cards, boards, and color-coded boxes. Easily pinpoint bottlenecks and problematic tasks before they become full-blown issues.

4. It simplifies the complicated

Simplifying a seemingly complex project starts with streamlining its processes, tasks, and other elements. Visual task tools allow you to break down projects into much smaller and manageable pieces. Tasks can be done at a time (increments or steps) or simultaneously by different teams. When task pieces are completed, each can now be put together for the final and completed project build. The fact is that 65% of people are visual learners; hence, it’s much easier to manage a complicated project using visual task or project management tools.

Features: Task-subtasks, activity view, project portfolio, indexing, etc. These enable you to drill down to tasks and activity levels and streamline project management.

5. Visuals improve communication & collaboration

When everything is laid out visually, team members are able to collaborate well and communicate more efficiently. They know what others are working on and what they need such as files, images, and multimedia elements. Project management solutions usually have capabilities that allow you to share, attach, and send files. Some solutions even have visually-distinct real-time messaging and chat for clear and effective communication.

Features: Various visibility and view options like Kanban, timelines, charts, and calendars, among others. We’ll check them out in the next section.

All the above helps you get things done. Projects and tasks will keep on moving with the path clear of hindrances. If there are snags on the way, you can promptly address and resolve these. The view is very much clearer with the visual way of tracking and managing tasks.

Widely-Used Visual PM Concepts & Methods

Interactive boards, cards, and charts often apply tested visual project management methods. Most project management solutions already utilize these methods in their visual tools. Significantly, all of them gives you viewing options to further simplify managing tasks and projects. Below are the most popular ones.

Kanban Boards

Almost all task boards of visual management solutions utilize the Kanban concept. It visualizes work progress and the flow of improvements. Kanban boards typically break down a list of task items by their particular status. Thus, you may see tasks under columns with designations like Planned, In Progress, Completed, and Overdue or any other specific state relevant to the project.

The Kanban-based board can be simple or robust like the above with multiple columns. (Source: monday.com)

Team Dashboards

A successful project is as much the result of teamwork and collaboration as it is of individual contribution. The manager and the team should have a common space where they can get together to keep track of task progress and discuss needed improvements.

Most often, dashboards are configurable and show tasks and activities related to the team. It can also be a cross-functional dashboard that allows members from other teams to join in discussions and see what’s going on. Similarly, there are huddle boards or electronic wallboards which are suitable for daily briefings or scheduled team meetings.

Project Timelines & Charts

A project timeline, also known as a Gantt chart, gives you a visual outline of your project plan or schedule. Nowadays, this is a standard feature for most top-end project management platforms since developers know that it provides project details such as date of task completion, length of time it takes to complete the task, and the task sequence. Visually mapping a project from start to finish allows you to better allocate team members and resources on various stages as well as view dependencies.

Project Calendars

While timelines and Kanban boards are ideal for many kinds of projects, sometimes all you need is the good, old calendar. It gives you a simple way to manage several tasks with various due dates. With a project calendar, you can plan ahead to complete a milestone or deliver a project at any given day, week, month or year.

Take note that what we’ve itemized are visibility and views through various well-known methods. Still, there are several specific tools used particularly for project data visualization aside from charts, graphs, and diagrams. Among these are:

  • Drawings
  • Ideograms
  • Pictograms
  • Schematics
  • Tables
  • Data plots
  • Technical illustrations
  • Maps/cartograms

Now you may ask going through the earlier visibility methods – where is the “To-do List”? This type is good if you have only a few simple tasks at hand, say half a dozen items at most, and a small team. When there are many tasks as even the simplest projects have, a to-do list won’t suffice. It would be hard to manage multiple tasks and larger teams from a simple list.

How about Agile, Waterfall, Lean and Scrum? They are more of process techniques and project management methodologies for planning and running projects and are applied depending on specific factors. These include the size of teams, complexity or size of projects, for particular projects like software development, and for those with challenging requirements. However, project teams often use Agile and other similar techniques in tandem with visual management tools (such as Kanban boards) to further streamline processes.

Some of the viewing options offered by PM & collaboration platform monday.com.

Faster Adoption with a Clearer View

Have you noticed poor adoption by users of your existing project management software? It’s one of the signs you need to change your PM solution. Why not shift to a visual PM software?

Lucid visibility across projects and tasks produces a more enjoyable and harmonious work environment. It creates a well-oiled and coordinated organization. This translates to better relationships in the company hierarchy as well as with individual members in the project team. In other words, visual PM software enables easy and fast adoption among its users because of its benefits not only to the team but also to the entire organization. But how do you ensure its acceptance? Here are a couple of ways:

Spread the good news

Cite the advantages of visual methods to management and employees. These include the reduction in the use of paper for post-it, to-do notes on the company or department bulletin boards. It lets everyone (at least those directly/indirectly involved) in on the project, although you still have to set access privileges to project data. Explain the savings on costs, time, and resources through the streamlining of processes and workflows. Of course, you should emphasize that visual methods and techniques drive efficiency and productivity.

Walk the talk

Let everyone in the organization see that you practice what you preach. Make it a habit of assigning, scheduling, planning, and organizing tasks with your team done the visual way. In new employees’ onboarding, during department meetings, and in-company seminars, encourage presenters to use visual aids. In explaining their topics during such occasions, presenters can use interactive dashboards showing dynamic graphs and charts that highlight important information.

From a management perspective, who doesn’t want an efficient and productive organization? Managers, supervisors and team leaders definitely want the ease and convenience afforded by visual PM solutions such as the following:

  • Project status at a glance
  • Project status & task tracking in real-time
  • Issue management & resolution status in real-time
  • Data-rich environments for information-based decisions

On the side of employees, who don’t aspire for a calm and engaging work atmosphere? Surely, visual project management software that can help the work of management (in decision-making) and employees (in project delivery) is a welcome solution.

Which Visual PM Software Should You Use?

It depends since different organizations have different requirements. While everyone in the organization can benefit from having visual tools, you must go for the visual PM software that best fits your organization’s needs. Many of the leading online project management tools in the market offer visual features and capabilities. However, you have to consider some factors in choosing visual PM software. These include the complexity of projects that your company and team handle and deliver. Another thing is the industry that you’re in or the type of business your team caters to. If these are the considerations, an all-around visual project management software will be to your advantage.

There are such comprehensive tools such as our three top PM solutions. You’ll be particularly interested in monday.com which can be used for projects regardless of size, complexity or industry. It gives you all the necessary tools you need to visualize task, projects, and performance. The good thing is you can test its full features at no cost. You can easily sign up for monday.com free trial here.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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