Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Time tracking and task management top requested project management features

A recent report released by research and reviews firm Software Advice has revealed some interesting facts about small companies and their needs for project management software.

Report Key Findings:

  • A majority of prospective software buyers (58%) use a single method for project management.
  • 70% of prospective buyers (in the sample) currently use manual methods for their project management needs.
  • Time tracking and task management are the top-requested software capabilities, each mentioned by 60% of buyers.
  • 64% of prospective buyers mentioned the need to improve organization and workflow efficiency as motivation for seeking Web-based PM software.
  • Many more project managers (64%) than owners and executives (38%) want scheduling and deadline functionality.

Due to the fact that telecommuting is fast on the rise, it’s not a surprise that the majority of small business PM software buyers prefer a Web-based solution and not an on-premise one. The study refers exclusively to those small-business buyers with a Web-based deployment preference.

More than Two-Thirds of Buyers Still Use Manual Methods

The percentage of those who are still using manual methods is pretty high: 70%. Kelly Bedrich, director of information technology (IT) and a certified project management professional, says that these results are not surprising.

“The bottom line is, project managers have to work at a base level,” he says. “Most people will whip out the Excel spreadsheet, and then likely transfer [it] into a project management software tool once things become more formalized.” By “base level,” Bedrich is referring to project managers’ involvement in projects at the inception or ideation phase. At this point in the life cycle of a project, the simplest, most familiar tools are often used to capture ideas.

Project Management Methods

If the things are more simple at the beginning, when pen&paper, spreadsheets and email can be good enough, as the situation becomes more complex, these basic methods need to be supplemented by project management software.

60 Percent Want Time Tracking and Task Management Functionality

When speaking about functionality, the top three requirements are Time Tracking, Task Management and Project tracking/status. These seem pretty obvious, as they are at the core of every project (they help you understand how well a project is progressing and how profitable it is).

Project Management Features Requirements

Managers Seek Task Management, Scheduling and Deadline Functionality

When analyzing the results, there are some differences between the functionality that project managers are seeking compared to what owners/executives are looking for.

While owners/executives and project managers tend to agree on most of the functionality they seek, a much higher percentage of project managers (64%) than owner/executives (38%) want scheduling and deadline capabilities. In fact, this is the top-requested functionality among project managers, along with task management (also sought by 64 percent).

By contrast, owners/executives cite time tracking as their top-requested capability (61 percent). While 55 percent of project managers also request time tracking functionality, a greater percentage overall seek task management and scheduling and deadline capabilities.

Job Role preferences

This discrepancies can be explained by the fact that project managers are more involved with managing the day-to-day operations and requirements of projects, in which deadlines affect dependencies. If certain milestones are not hit, other parts of a project may stagnate. Owners, by contrast, appear to be more concerned with cost-efficiency, for which time-tracking can provide insightful data.

Conclusion

For buyers considering Web-based project management software, time-tracking and task management functionality are top priorities. For project managers specifically, scheduling and deadlines and task management functionality are the most necessary.

Other prospective buyers seeking this software should note that the most desired capabilities, regardless of job title, all involve managing time and tasks. After all, these tools represent the unique advantages of Web-based PM systems: They allow users to more easily manage complex interactions and to seamlessly collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world.

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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

What’s new in Paymo: redesigned full task view, public API and more

Starting today we’ll be posting regular updates on newly added features & improvements in Paymo. Here’s a list with all the changes that we’ve made in the past weeks:

  • added a “Full task view” – each task now has its own URL + view that contains all the details related to a task.

Paymo full task details

  • added a dashboard milestone widget – it contains global milestones for all your projects.
  • custom dates for milestone reminders
  • new email delivery system – the chances of emails getting caught by spam filters have been significantly reduced
  • Paymo API is now public at https://github.com/paymoapp/api
  • dashboard widgets drag & drop functionality – you can drag and reorder them as you wish

Paymo widgets drag&drop

  • ability to bundle invoices & timesheet reports – when creating an invoice with the “Add from timesheet option” you can attach the associated timesheet report to the invoice for the client
  • added a new payment gateway: Stripe
  • export expenses as PDF
  • redesigned “Add from timesheet” panel
  • added a “Mark as” button for Estimates
  • link to clients from the project overview screen
  • redesigned bulk time entry input
  • invoices no longer marked as viewed if the logged in user views the invoice
  • fixed rendering issues for invoices in Adobe Reader
  • added option to select all users when assigning projects
  • ability to create invoices from the Clients > invoicing screen
  • redesigned invoice permalink share screen
  • added checked symbol for tasks in reports (if they are complete)
  • widget now allows you to open the online app
  • over 100 minor bugs fixes and small improvements in various modules

Last but not least, we’re excited to welcome a new developer in our expanding team – Marius Talagiu, he’ll be working on mobile app development.

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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

How can project management tools benefit small businesses?

When you set out to start your own business, you were buzzing with excitement at all the things you were going to achieve. Then, hopefully, you realized that there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’, and that you have to work closely with your colleagues in order to deliver top results. With each brand new project that you enlist, your workload expands, and the quality of your outcomes depends on the extent of your collaborative capabilities… and, on the range of your organizing skills.

What is project management to you?

Project management

Project management is essentially the know-how of bringing desirable results when you set out to create a new product, service, or process. How well does your small company fare when it comes to project management, and would you be interested in taking things to a whole new level? I have a pretty good idea of how you can transform the way work gets done at your headquarters. Read further.

The pitfalls of traditional collaboration methods 

It is the same with most start-ups: the plan for a project only resides in the mind of the business owner, who may or may not manage to get everyone on board. If everyone in your company gets together to work in the same place, then post-its or sticky notes sent by one team member to another can serve as notifications, reminders or call-to-action prompts that are issued during an ongoing project. However, they are primeval methods, compared to their digital counterparts: instant messaging and e-mails.

Not even e-mails convey information clearly. Every written message, no matter how concise, is open to interpretation – especially since they lack a visual representation, because our human brains are more receptive to imagery, than text. ‘I love checking my Inbox from 5 to 5 minutes, to make sure I get all updates from my peers and clients’ – said no one, ever. Besides, some e-mails are delayed, when the last thing you can afford to waste is time. Even further, if you have to communicate something to several people at once, then it takes too long to get all the CCs and BCCs right.

Frequent ‘in situ’ meetings may help everyone get on the same page about a project schedule and specific tasks, but they present a huge risk: they tend to go on for much longer than planned. When you’re working against the clock to deliver a project, every minute of every hour counts. Plus, what happens when some team members are unavailable, or located on the other side of the globe? Again, the miracles of the Digital Age give us a helping hand: face-to-face meetings can be replaced with live video conferences. And that doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Start-up vs. large enterprise: widespread misconceptions

While it is true that a small business has limited resources and cannot be expected to operate at the same level as a corporation, solid management is all the more vital in the web design industry – for basic survival reasons. As a matter of fact, the better you harness the power of your resources, the bigger the odds of out-classing your competitors.

Project management is an area that you can and must address as well as possible. Employing some specialized services for this purpose does not require a large capital investment, as some of you may think. The web is brimming with low-cost and even free tools that enable you to assign tasks, track working time, share many types of files, and discuss progress with your team and stakeholders.

The case for using project management software

Paymo

I know that activities related to project management demand that you put in additional work, to begin with. If you’re willing to go that extra mile, then your company’s booming success as a result of it might take you by surprise. Project management software lets you think out of the box, and opens your mind to objective analysis of every decision, so you can determine all the risks, and avoid negative outcomes.

The best online management solutions don’t even demand that you have prior knowledge or practiced project management skills – only the willingness to hold the reins of your chariot and guide your team through well-planned iterations until a project crosses the finish line. As such, soon enough you may find that it’s child’s play to diligently schedule your projects, and see that all milestones are properly met.

These web-based tools can also be very educational. The more projects you complete, the better your team gets at sharing information and synchronizing. You would quickly reach an understanding of what makes your team tick, and use that knowledge to increase performance and productivity. You would also get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t work in the overall process. Thus, you and your team mates can refine your working style and adopt goal-driven habits.

Finally, I suggest we take a minute to ponder all the aspects of your business that a consistent framework improves. Using accomplished online tools to manage creative projects is like applying basic common sense when it comes to product/service development, marketing, expense estimation, invoicing, real-time team briefing, file sharing, feedback gathering, etc. What’s more, first-rate platforms for project management let you work from your desktop, as well as over modern mobile devices. Plus, they are available in a multitude of languages.

Conclusion

Come to think of it, the sky’s the limit. With such sound management methodology at your side, your creative team is bound to out-speed and out-collaborate others in no-time. Given that you put in the initial effort to organize with an accessible tool, your company will gain more and more credibility, be praised far and wide for its efficacy, not to mention that its finances will skyrocket.

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Jan Lukacs
Jan Lukacs

Paymo rebranding

Beginnings

In 2007, while running our web design agency Light Design Studio we’ve constantly had trouble keeping the company profitable. We’ve soon learned that many of our problems came from the lack of time management that usually ment that we were under billing our time. We took matters into our own hands and created a simple online app for time tracking. After using it succesfully in our business for a year we’ve decided to make it public and Paymo was born. The premise was simple, Paymo – wise tracking pays more.

The Mission

Over the years Paymo became a leading time tracking app that kept growing in functionality and user base. In the past years the time tracking and invoicing space has undergone significant transformation and Paymo changed too. The whole team realized that Paymo has outgrown our original mission and brand since we started working on the first Paymo 3 prototypes.
We asked ourselves an apparently simple question – What is our mission? After lots of long talks and endless brainstorming sessions the answer became quite clear. Paymo’s new mission is to move your projects forward. A bold statement and a big problem for us to tackle. We believe that our roots in time tracking are still vital to accomplishing this mission along with the introduction of new functionality.

paymo-concepts

Meet the new Paymo

We felt that the old logo was pretty decent but fairly boring, it didn’t do anything visually to underline our current mission and direction. The new identity provides a nice contrast in attitude by incorporating the checkmark icon into the type, underpinning the concept of getting things done and moving forward. Of course, the new identity is much more then symbols and slogans. We’ve redesigned the entire Paymo experience from the ground up to offer you a sleak new UI and better workflows while staying true to our time tracking roots. I hope you’ll all like our new identity!

paymo-logo

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Jan Lukacs
Jan Lukacs

The new Paymo website is up!

As some of you might have noticed, with the upcoming Paymo 3 launch we will be transitioning over to the paymoapp.com domain saying farewell to the old faithful paymo.biz :)

This is one of the many changes that are taking place right now and we’re very excited about our upcoming launch. We’ve went through a re-branding process – you can see the new logo up already, but more on that in a separate post.

You’ll notice we’ve adopted a different style more in line with the new Paymo 3 UI, re-coded it from the ground up to offer a great responsive experience on all kinds of devices.
A few of our goals with the new website were to make it faster, more informative while keeping it short to allow you to skim through it with ease. If you have any feedback on the new site let us know.

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Paymo Blog Home

The official Paymo blog: stay in touch with your favorite online project management app. We also offer project management tips&tricks that might help your business grow.