Project management is a science in its own rights; people go to college to earn degrees in the field. The project managers are then tasked with making sure the timeline of their projects – from inception to implementation, and beyond – stay within set boundaries and milestones to keep time and cost in check.
We have all seen Gantt charts and Kanban boards in project rooms where team members study them, and check their projects and tasks’ current statuses, to see if they are lagging behind, right on time or ahead of their due dates.
A project management software solution helps the project managers stay within the set limits and boundaries, thus, ensuring a successful completion. But, not all businesses – or their project managers – are lucky enough to find a software solution that addresses all their project management requirements.
In this post we will look at how a custom project management software solution can help you manage projects – in 10 special, creative ways – for your business and how you can start creating a custom one yourself.
What is a custom project management software?
The definition of a custom project management software is “a digital solution that was created to meet specific, unique project management requirements of a business’ project planning and resource management processes.”
It may be developed to address one specific issue with their existing project planning and resource management process or to implement a change in the whole process – from start to finish. A custom project management solution is usually a last resort taken when no off-the-shelf or premium solutions can be found on the market – even after you’ve taken several free trials.
Once the decision was made, a custom project management software used to be developed in-house by a team of experts, who knew the business’ processes (and issues) well, and in collaboration with the resident IT guys who would transform their specifications and requirements into a software solution.
But now, thanks to low-code online database development technology, citizen developers can create fully-functional applications and solutions that manage projects – without the need for IT experts.
This means, one solution your own staff could develop for you would be a new software that has the unique custom project management features that can address your specific requirements.
Why would I need a custom project management software?
Well, the main reason anyone would want the best project management software is because they need to work with all the input from (or the output to) other project management tools, modules or systems that would otherwise be incompatible with one another.
A central, custom project management solution would be able to cater to the data input/output requirements and serve as a bridge to one or more time tracking, resource management or related systems.
Perhaps, you have looked around at the best project management software solutions that are available on the market and even taken a couple of them out for a test drive using their free trial offers. And yet, you are still not satisfied with the workflows – or any other feature – they have, and you can’t (or aren’t allowed to) configure them exactly as you would need them to be.
The only choice left for you to do would be to go ahead and convert those Kanban boards and Gantt charts into their digital equivalent: off the wall and into a cloud database.
And then again, you may already own a project management software solution that you have been using simply because you had no other option. You may have had to go out of your way – or execute absolutely unnecessary procedures – to painfully extract the results you sought. While it had been an arduous task, you had had to deal with it simply because you needed to meet due dates, no matter how complicated the project management process was.
Well; not any more. You can now build a custom application to meet all your project management requirements.
Are the best project management software development solutions worth it?
Admittedly, the cost for developing a custom software – for project management, or otherwise – is almost always higher than buying the premium solution off the shelf (as you’ll find out as soon as your free trial is over).
This is because the business needs to pay for everything from the design and development to the support and maintenance of the new custom project planning and resource management solution. Every programmer hired, every soft- and hardware they may need, and every cent spent to cover overheads is a cost that quickly adds up.
And the more time they spend developing your custom project management features, the higher this cost will become.
Even after the package has been developed and deployed – using the best project management and development platforms, no less – it will have bugs and there will be a back-and-forth between the users and the developers as they continue to improve its performance and debug it.
Only once that is done, will you be the proud owner of a custom project and time tracking solution that addresses your exact, unique requirements.
But, don’t be discouraged…
You don’t have to start pinning your Gantt charts back onto the notice board just yet; because, there’s a way out. There are ways to make your new project management application worth every single cent.
- Choose an online database design and development platform – this cuts costs by providing a cloud-based platform to develop, test, and even deploy your solution; you can also store your data in the cloud.
- Go for a low-code development application – cut development costs by getting rid of programmers; enable your citizen developers to create tools for the processes they already know everything about using only drag and drop development methods.
- Take the whole project into the cloud – once the development phase is over, cut the costs required to run your custom project management software by moving it into the cloud. There are no maintenance, overhead, and upgrade costs required. It is all taken care of by the cloud service and hosting provider while you simply continue to manage projects.
All this, plus the fact that the even the best project management process can be improved by your new software solution means it will always be worth it when it comes to creating an in-house, custom solution.
How do you create a custom project management software?
We have just seen that it is well worth it; the only way to create the best project management software, that can be developed in-house, would be with the help of an online custom database and application design platform.
But, apart from the cost, there are many more reasons you will only realize once you start the development process:
- Selection of templates – you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. The best custom cloud database design platforms already have templates that you can simply adopt, tweak, and deploy; this includes project management solutions that keep track of your due dates. With a little development you can soon have your digital Gantt charts up and running online.
- Low-code development – you don’t need to learn a new programming language. The best of them will let you create your project management solution, or any other application, using drag-and-drop actions; and although they are easy to create, these very applications will also be very powerful and highly effective. Just imagine: one of your citizen developers could create a database application – using drag and drop development methods – that could put some professional programmers to shame!
- Excellent back end and infrastructure support – you don’t need to worry about the servers, routers or any other hardware issues; the database design platform will have a hosting solution that is, perhaps, better than anything you could ever build in your own IT department.
- High accessibility – you also don’t have to worry about connectivity or availability issues; your new project management software will be hosted in the cloud where anyone, anywhere will be able to access it.
- No headaches – you can focus on the development, deployment, and administration of your project management solution and leave all the maintenance, security, upgrading, and management of both software and hardware resources to the development platform and hosting service providers.
There are, of course, many more advantages of going it this way and every service provider – of a designing platform or hosting service alike – have their special, unique offers and freebies to attract more customers.
That is why it is important for you to look around for the best online database design platforms before moving onto the development of your custom project management software. Of course, always make sure you take them upon their free trial offers before you decide to fully commit.
The 10 creative ways to use a custom project management software
Ok, let’s jump straight in and have a look at how your custom project management software can help your business. To do so, let’s see how you can use it creatively to deliver on your projects and tasks:
1. A project management and time tracking stack
Custom project management software means you can integrate it with other applications. This, in turn, means that you can expand the tool’s purposes. In fact, you can create a chain of project time tracking applications that individually perform unique tasks and yet link to one another.
For example, you can add your custom project management software into a Zapier project so that it can be triggered by – or serve as an input to – solutions like Slack, Dropbox, Trello or Skype. In fact, once you’re done developing, sign up for a free trial here.
2. Take advantage of the latest technology
If your business finds itself falling behind when it comes to technological advances, you can take advantage of the latest software solutions and hardware infrastructure by creating a new custom project management software. They will also be backward compatible so you won’t have to worry about integration issues.
Your business will be able to leverage the feedback, input or datasets which were created for other, “modern” or advanced technologies without the need to upgrade your older systems. Needless to say, make sure you test for backward compatibility during the free trial.
3. Leverage legacy systems too
On the other hand, just because you have legacy systems or still use old data formats doesn’t mean they need to be excluded from the project. In fact, these old data sources could serve as critical inputs for your current and future business plans.
You can use your new custom project management tools to either temporarily work with your legacy data, have it stored in a newer database system or even permanently parsed into a more current data format.
4. Take the project online
We live in a time of ecommerce and global connectivity which means it makes perfect sense to take the whole project online – including your new custom project management software.
This also means your business can expand its reaches and bring all the team members on board and even add external experts and consultants – no matter where they may be located. This improves team collaboration.
5. Cut costs… even more
A well-designed custom project management software can help you cut costs in several ways:
- Team members can stay home – there is no need for them to come over and report to their bosses or give them status updates in person. They can simply update the project management tools from their home offices.
- Cut communication costs – if any of the team members on the project are unclear about a point, or they don’t know what to do in a particular situation, all they need to do is to head on to the project management and time tracking software where all project-related information and links to other resources are stored and updated. There will be less confusion and time wasted. On the contrary, team members, will be on the same page from start to end.
- Save the planet – any application that takes paper out of the office is a cost saving lifesaver; creating a custom project management tool means you reduce your reliance on paper. You don’t need to look at Kanban boards or Gantt charts pinned to a cork board. And then there is the fact that staff members don’t need to have to be in the office which means they don’t need to burn fuel. Get rid of paper products and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. Store it all online and share it with the project team members through your project management software. The cumulative effect will pleasantly surprise you in more ways than one.
6. Cross project management boundaries
Don’t let your project management process be limited by the methodologies of your industry alone. Why would you want to be limited to just the ways you’re “supposed” to do things?
Whoever laid out the “rules” for project management methodologies in your field or industry probably didn’t have access to the technology that is at your disposal today. Therefore, this means you should explore other methodologies, or a combination of them, and include them in your new custom project management tools.
If it works, well and good; you will have perhaps created a new way of doing things. If not, you can always tweak it until it works, or drop it altogether if it fails. You will at least know what to avoid in the future.
The point is: the software is yours; build it like you want to.
7. Clear the path with precise workflows
Project managers can setup workflows so there isn’t any confusion about what goes where or what needs to be done next. Everyone will know who to escalate issues to and who should be held accountable for any delays due to incomplete tasks. Streamline your workflows so a minimum number of team members are involved.
This will cut the time that is wasted due to erroneous workflow paths while also improving team collaboration.
8. Stay on top of errors and issues
You can use alerts and notifications to get your team members to react, proceed or hurry up when it is their time to go. This saves time wasted for not knowing when or how to proceed as needed. Thanks to alerts, errors and issues can be resolved before major time-consuming disasters occur.
This is, in fact, something you can’t do using the Gantt charts on your project room wall.
9. Create transparency reports
One of the best ways of encouraging team members to work harder and achieve a common goal is by creating transparency. A custom project management software can be used to create reports and graphical presentations that let every team member know how valuable their contribution to the project is.
This way, hard workers will feel appreciated, those less-enthused won’t be side-blinded by their performance reports, and everyone will be able to see where the project stands as a whole. This too will improve team collaboration.
The digital graphs and Gantt charts can have custom axes and milestones representing unique attributes of the project, the personnel involved or any related attribute you may need to keep track of.
10. Extend project working hours
Project managers can extend the amount of working hours spent on a project by accommodating team members in different time zones or even different continents. This way, with the project management tools streamlining work schedules, people from all over the world can be brought on board.
The world is seeing more and more people working from home. There are many people who are out of a job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a project management and time tracking software that leverages this workforce will extend the working hours to 24 hours a day and bring on board experts from all over the planet.
Things to consider for a unique custom project management software approach
We have seen how your custom project management software can help boost your business’ performance. Now, let’s have a look at what you will need to do in order to ensure these results, especially when it comes to the development software itself:
- The custom project management software should be cloud based – this is the ideal way to share a production tool online, and this applies to your new tool too.
- The custom project management software should be easy to edit – no software has ever been designed without bugs, and your new software will definitely have some. It would be a big advantage if it were designed using low-code, drag and drop actions – use free trials to see if you can easily develop your projects and tasks. Apart from the development, performance issues and bugs can be quickly and easily remedied during the testing phase and even later, after it has been deployed.
- The custom project management software should be secure – it would be madness to share an application online and not make sure it is secure. Failure here could mean the software, any other applications that are connected to it, and other data and systems in the business could be compromised. Choose a secure design platform.
Start building your new custom project management software today
As we come to the end of this post, we can clearly see that there is no point in delaying any plans you may have of creating your own custom project management tools.
You can start your development today; go for your first FREE trial from one of the best cloud database design platforms in the industry.
In fact, we can help you get rid of those paper Gantt charts on the wall and start creating your custom project management tools. Go ahead; contact us and let us build your new cloud database application together.