As someone who has been part of many web development teams I can attest to the hard work and hectic environment which web development teams are accustomed to. A web development team usually consist of designers, web developers, back-end developers, Q&A engineers, DevOps, marketing pros and more. The team interfaces and collaborates constantly with the customer, PR agencies and content providers. To bring sanity and control to their projects, these teams need the right project management software tailored made for web development projects. Not all teams work the same, web development teams have their own unique set of requirements from the applications they use. In this paper I have listed the most important features and functionality needed in project management software for web development in this paper. There are many project management tools in the market today, but not all are the right fit for web development teams’ project management requirements.
Features needed in project management software for web development
If you manage a web development team, here is a list of the most important features you need to look for when evaluating project management software for web development projects. Always try the software before you buy. With online project management software this is quite easy and all you need is to enter your email address and password before you start. Check out the features and with couple of people create a small project. Make sure the application’s flow and features matches with the way your team manages projects and tasks.
Web based applications are better
The old days of desktop applications are gone. The online project management software provides features and advantages that is impossible to add to a desktop application like Microsoft project. Since the application is hosted in the cloud, features like collaboration and instant communication are easy to add in the application.
Collaboration is a must
Most web development teams are not located in one place. Even for teams located in same location, not all team members present in same location all the time. Most web development teams have remote members. There are many reasons for that. The remote teams have better access to talent all over the world which local teams don’t have. As such web development teams need good collaboration tools to be able to do their job effectively. Project management software you choose needs to be collaborative and enable the team to work together and collaborate / brainstorm wherever they are at any given time.
Support for Kanban and Agile
More and more Web development teams use Agile project management principles like Scrum to do their work. Kanban boards due to their simple graphical natures fit the needs of designers and developers alike. They make it easy to see how the project is progressing and updating the plan is as easy as drag and drop. The project management software you choose should have good Kanban boards and support for Agile project management methods.
Good Task management
The most basic element of any project management software is a good task management tool. Task management is more than just a to-do list. It should support task and subtasks, milestone and dependencies. It is important to be able to set start date and due date in hours, days and weeks. Attaching files to tasks brings all data about a task in one place. Social features like tagging, following and commenting on task make it much easier for people to be updated and collaborate.
Gantt chart is your friend
There is no better tool than Gantt chart for tracking and updating projects. Regardless of what project management methodology you use, a simple Gnatt chart can provide invaluable insight in the current status of your project. It is simply by far the best tracking tool available for managing projects. Making changes are easy and could be done by drag and drop method if the Gnatt chart is interactive. Most new Gantt chart applications today also display the percentage of work done on each task and if the task is behind schedule or on track. When choosing project management software make sure it has a good built in Gantt chart for each project.
Message board for team communication
Another good feature needed by web development teams is an online message board for team communication and collaboration. I am sure you have heard about Slack. A message board is a lot more effective when it is integrated in an online project management software than stand alone application. The beauty of integrated message board in the PM software is that, all communication happens in the context of a given project or its tasks. There is no need for context switching between the project management software and the message board every time you need to communicate with your team.
Document management & version control
Project always have documents associated with them. From marketing plan, design specification, design markups and release plan a lot of time is spent by the team creating, reviewing, approving and updating documents. A good project management software for web development makes it easy to keep all versions of all documents in the application. The users can access any version if needed. This is a great productivity tool specially when files could be attached to tasks and messages in the project.
Document markup tool
Another feature that really helps web development teams to collaborate and brainstorm is document markup tool. When you get a new design either in image or PDF format, the markup tool lets the team to work on the document collaboratively and mark any changes needed online. This save tremendous amount of time compared to traditional way of reviewing the design on a physical copy.
These days the desktop is not the primary way people interact with applications. Any online project management software should have good mobile access too. Most people need to have access to the project plan while travelling or are working offsite. The mobile access is a huge enabler. The fact the you can check the status of tasks or assign a task to a team member while traveling is a huge advantage.
When we started working on Binfire one of the requirements was to make sure the application satisfies the requirements for project management software for web development teams. In fact all of our first customers were web development teams based in USA which had remote workers in Europe and far east. Since then we have made the application a better fit for web development teams.
Try binfire for free and see how it can help your web development team do things better and faster than ever before.