Project Management System: Definition & Features

Project Management System

There is no one holistic way to manage projects. 

Project management has evolved significantly in the last few decades. Every project manager has their own set of rules and strategies that make them effective at their job. 

However, there is one thing common among all the top-performing project managers. Each of them has a project management system in place to organize all the nuts, bolts, and components of their projects. 

In this article, we will discuss what these project management systems are. Why do project managers use one? What benefits do project management systems provide? And, how to choose the best tool to reflect your preferred project management system? 

Without further ado, let’s start with the basics.

What is a project management system?

A project management system is a systematic framework to handle operations within an organization. Now don’t confuse it with project management, which means handling specific tasks. Project management systems deal with tackling complex challenges and opportunities within an organization.

To put it simply, a project management system allows you to look at the big picture and understand how everything in an organization is connected. 

Any system is defined by the interconnected subsystems that support it. Now, when we apply this systems approach to project management, we create what’s called a “project management system,” which consists of six subsystems working together.

To illustrate the concept in detail, let’s consider the following example. 

Imagine your company is revving up for a big product launch. Here’s how the six subsystems of your project management system may look like:

  • Facilitative organizational subsystem: This sets up the structure for project teams within the larger organizational framework. It establishes how projects are initiated and completed within the organization.

First, the managers establish distinct roles for team members. Someone’s on design, another on content, and others on ads and outreach. This breakdown of responsibilities gives everyone a clear place in the team.  

  • Project planning subsystem: This part deals with selecting projects, defining their objectives, and planning how to achieve those goals. It decides how resources will be allocated to support the project.

Next, the managers meticulously craft a detailed plan and timeline. This involves outlining the steps from idea conception to launch day, ensuring they don’t miss a beat.

  • Project control subsystem: This handles setting standards for project milestones, budgets, and technical performance. It monitors the progress of the project and takes corrective action if needed.

To keep things on track, the managers might set up milestones. These checkpoints allow them to gauge progress and make adjustments as needed.

  • Project management information subsystem: This involves gathering and managing information essential for controlling projects. 

This involves meetings. Exchanging updates, discussing roadblocks, and making decisions based on the shared information to steer the project in the right direction. 

  • Techniques and methodology: These are various tools and methods (like PERT, CPM, etc.) used to evaluate and make decisions about projects.

To ensure all this works out without anything slipping through the cracks, managers need to incorporate techniques and methods. In other words, they need to use tools like ProofHub, which supports these methods. This tool serves as the digital dynamic blueprint of your project.

  • Cultural ambiance subsystem: This is about how people within the organization feel and behave regarding project management. It includes their attitudes, perceptions, and values about how things should be done.

So, with all these interconnected subsystems, the marketing team can organize the project to crush that product launch.

Why use a project management system? 

No matter what challenge you are trying to overcome, a structured approach is always more beneficial than shooting arrows in the dark. Project management systems are essential to keep up with today’s fast-paced businesses. 

Imagine spending hours planning the new marketing campaign, only to find your sales team has no idea. Facepalm, right?

With project management systems in place, organizations can straightaway avoid such blunders. These systems act like a hub where all your project details, teams, and team communications are consolidated. This means no more frantic searching through endless emails or lost documents buried in digital chaos.

Plus, it fosters collaboration among teams, ensuring everyone is on the same page and moving forward together towards the common goal.

These systems bring order to the chaos, making your work life smoother and more productive. Whether it’s tracking progress, assigning tasks, or monitoring deadlines, a project management system becomes your trusty sidekick in navigating the complex terrain of modern business.

Here are some of the benefits associated with using project management systems. 

 Benefits of using a project management system 

Let’s dive into the incredible advantages of incorporating a project management system into your work process:

1. Streamlined work and flow of information 

Project management systems provide a structured and streamlined flow of information. Clarity is of the essence when we talk about meeting project goals and objectives.

It tosses out any confusion and provides a clear understanding of project goals and objectives. Most teams use their preferred workflows This divergence often creates data silos that hinder cross-team collaboration

When one team remains clueless about the progress of another team’s project, chao is unavoidable. But with a dedicated system in place, capable of consolidating information into a coherent representation, the puzzle pieces fall into place. Management gains a bird’s-eye view, enabling them to prioritize tasks judiciously and make informed decisions.

Additionally, it allows for a clear understanding of who is working in what, making it easy for managers to make the best use of their resources.

By leveraging these systems, any ambiguity or uncertainty surrounding project goals is swiftly eliminated. Teams are not only equipped with a crystal-clear understanding of what needs to be done but also how and when it needs to be done.

2. Better control over teams and work

Juggling between tasks and resources is a daily struggle for every project manager. Technically, spreadsheets, whiteboards, and sticky notes can work, but those are not the most effective means. Those who have a project management system at their disposal, make this struggle a walk in the park.

As a good manager, you know what your team members are capable of achieving. You don’t want to underplay that opportunity. These systems offer a bird’s-eye view of resources. They help allocate people, time, and money wisely, making sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Project management software provides a deeper level of control with custom roles. This feature simplifies the effective governance of an account while giving the proper amount of freedom to employees within their domain.

3. Progress tracking on all levels

Keeping tabs on your projects is crucial for timely delivery. But when you’re juggling multiple tasks and team members, relying solely on individual check-ins opens the door wide for estimation errors.

That’s where a project management system becomes your superhero. This setup lets you dive into each project’s status, empowering you to make informed decisions on the fly.

With everyone’s efforts aligned and resources allocated strategically, you can spot potential hurdles before they trip you up.

The result? Your project team glides along the timeline effortlessly, hitting milestones with precision. No more scrambling or last-minute panics. Just smooth sailing towards project success.

4. Productive work environment

Digital disruptions are cited as the number one productivity killer on the internet. However, you can’t work without technology in this digital era. 

So how do project management systems solve this issue?

By providing an untangled view of the project information. 

The more visibility a team has into an organization’s endpoints, the more effective they can be in resolving or even preventing, digital friction. 

In other words, having all the information organized well at one convenient location makes it easier to find what you are looking for. This means less time and focus spent on redundant tasks, and more on work that actually matters. 

Moreover, project management systems harness data analytics to offer actionable insights. By collecting and analyzing data on project progress, resource allocation, and performance metrics, these systems empower informed decision-making.

5. Happier and healthier employees

Last but not least, the wellness of your team members. This is a worn-off maxim but success of any project depends on the people working on it. A good project management system steps in as a crucial support, simplifying tasks and reducing stress.

Clarity is key. Instead of stumbling around in uncertainty, a robust project management system lays out all the necessary details: what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom. This clarity eliminates the stress that comes from ambiguity, providing a clear path forward.

And let’s not forget about everyone’s favorite: the dreaded micromanagement monster. These systems let people do their thing without someone breathing down their necks. When team members aren’t suffocated by strict oversight, creativity thrives, stress diminishes, and productivity soars.

Types of project management system

No two projects are the same. No two project managers are the same. Ofcourse, the system they follow to manage their project is also going to be different. 

Project management systems widely depend on the project management methodology a project manager is following. Tough there can be more, here is the list of the top three project management systems that you can encounter within organizations: 

Traditional project management system

Traditional project management typically follows a structured approach involving specific phases and processes. This system might involve clear, linear reporting structures where each team or department has its defined roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines. 

This traditional system might not fully integrate different project elements, and work might be compartmentalized within functional areas or departments. 

However, traditional project management systems can be advantageous in certain contexts, especially when dealing with straightforward, routine projects.

Here are a few of the benefits: 

  • Traditional systems often have clear reporting structures and hierarchies, which can streamline decision-making processes.
  • Departments in traditional systems often specialize in their areas, allowing for deep expertise and proficiency within those domains.
  • Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities can reduce confusion and ambiguity, ensuring that individuals understand their specific duties within the project or organization.
  • The stability inherent in traditional systems can provide a sense of security and predictability for employees and stakeholders. 
  • Decision-making could be more centralized, with limited interdepartmental collaboration. 
  • People might feel more comfortable and familiar with traditional systems due to their long-standing presence and established norms.

Agile project management system 

At its core, agile project management is all about being flexible and adaptable to changes. Now, this may sound contradictory to having a systematic approach to project management, but hear me out! 

Agile project management corresponds to a mindset driven by values and principles. To bring this mindset to life, you need a system in place that allows you to be flexible and adaptive. 

An agile project management system would consist of various interconnected subsystems. These could include teams setting up work in a short, intense sprint, tackling smaller bits of the project at a time.

Within the larger Agile project management system, the sub-systems can be represented by various Agile methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, or Extreme Programming (XP). 

Each methodology contributes its practices and principles to the overall functioning and meeting the business objectives.

Here are some of the benefits of implementing agile project management systems.

  • Accelerates product delivery through iterative development.
  • Efficiently allocates resources based on changing project needs.
  • Minimizes unnecessary work through iterative planning and feedback.
  • Facilitates clear and frequent communication among teams.
  • Ensures alignment of project goals with broader business objectives.
  • Identifies and addresses issues early in the development cycle.
  • In-depth visibility into project progress and challenges.

Hybrid project management system

A hybrid project management system might integrate different project management methodologies. For instance, it could involve a mix of Waterfall and Agile methodologies, allowing for structured planning and sequential execution while also incorporating flexibility and iterative processes.

A hybrid system would address the shortcomings by balancing the benefits of traditional hierarchical structures with the collaborative nature of modern project management. 

For instance, Let’s consider a scenario where three departments—Marketing, Software Development, and Operations—are involved in a project within a company. Each department traditionally follows different methodologies. This hybrid approach capitalizes on Agile’s adaptability, Waterfall’s structured planning, and Lean Six Sigma’s focus on efficiency.

It enables adaptable marketing strategies to align with market dynamics, sequential software development, and continuous operational optimization for waste reduction. 

Here are some of the benefits associated with hybrid project management systems.

  • Maximizes adaptability by blending diverse methodologies.
  • Collaboration among departments with varied work structures.
  • Optimizes project efficiency by using the right methodology for specific project phases.
  • Drives continual improvement through the integration of best practices from different systems.
  • Balances structured planning with flexibility, mitigating risks associated with singular methodologies.

5 best project management system software

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

If you’re still relying on outdated manual methods or struggling with scattered spreadsheets, it’s time for a change. 

It’s time for you to use a reliable project management system that can streamline your workflow, boost collaboration, and skyrocket your productivity.

1. ProofHub

Proofhub - Project management system
ProofHub – Project management system

ProofHub is a project management and team collaboration software designed to adapt to the unique needs of almost every project within an organization. Its user-friendly interface and customizable workflows easily adjust to frequent operational changes. ProofHub is an ideal choice for handling projects of any scale, be it organization-wide endeavors or team-specific tasks.

Everything you need is consolidated within a single platform. This tool covers the entire project lifecycle: planning, task assignment, collaboration, progress tracking through multiple project views, custom reporting, time tracking, and proofing. This eliminates the need to open 15 different tabs just to get an idea of where things stand. 

What’s more? ProofHub offers a transparent pricing structure with no per-user fees. This means you get complete control over extensive functionalities without any surprise costs for additional features or new team members.

Top features and benefits

  • Consolidate view of all projects at one place.
  • All gantt view to track organization wide project progress
  • Customizable project views to focus on what matters most. 
  • Project categorization to group multiple projects under one heading
  • Create custom statuses and assign them to projects.
  • Extensive custom reports with burnup charts and overdue tasks to track the progress. 
  • Bulk allocation with custom access roles to facilitate resource optimization. 
  • Organize people in your account by creating different groups of clients, users, and teammates.

Pricing

With ProofHub, you only pay for what you use, with NO hidden fees and sneaky charges.

ProofHub offer a 14-day free trial with all the features and two paid plans: 

  • Essential plan, priced at just Flat $45 per month(billed annually)/unlimited users
  • The Ultimate Control plan, priced at Flat $89 per month (billed annually)/unlimited users/projects/features 
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Start managing your teams and projects efficiently with ProofHub!

2. Basecamp

Basecamp - Best for basic project management

Basecamp allows you to build an unlimited number of projects, to-do lists, file storage, and project templates, which can save managers a lot of time. It is the basic project management platform that fits best for those who have just started with project management platforms.

Small and mid-sized businesses should organize projects, manage schedules and reports, assign tasks, and delegate work to team members.

However, it’s important to note that Basecamp may not be suitable for larger enterprises or highly complex projects that require advanced functionalities. Additionally, some users have reported limitations in terms of customization options and integration with other tools. 

Top features & benefits

  • Message boards, schedules, to-do lists
  • Document and file storage
  • Easy-to-use and simple interface
  • Tag team members easily
  • Synchronize calendars across your team

Pricing

  • Its basic plan, at $15 per user per month, is ideal for freelancers. 
  • The advanced plan, which is the best fit if you are a growing company, is $299 per month, billed annually with no per-user fee.

3. Wrike

Wrike - Best for project portfolio management

Its project portfolio management helps in better execution of strategy, planning, and results in one place. It offers a very active and engaging community of users, which makes it excellent for team collaboration. 

While Wrike offers a Gantt chart view, sadly this feature is only available in the paid plans. This limitation may impact users who rely heavily on Gantt charts for project planning and visualizing timelines. 

Furthermore, some users have expressed concerns about the overwhelming interface of Wrike, particularly when handling complex projects or a large number of tasks. 

Top features & benefits

  • Create unlimited subtasks with unlimited levels of nesting
  • Helps you to turn strategy into an actionable plan 
  • Provide accurate and up-to-date info to clients
  • Offer special customization for marketing

Pricing

It provides basic plans free of cost, but for advanced features and managing teams effectively, you need to shift to its professional plans, starting at $9.80 per user/month.

4. Asana

Asana - Best for task management

Asana is a project management system (software) with more emphasis on task management. Asana’s intuitive interface and flexible project views make it easy for teams to coordinate, delegate tasks, and track progress, fostering collaboration and enhancing productivity.

Asana allows you to keep track of all your tasks effectively using workflow automation software, so you don’t have to spend time hunting down emails or other documents that contain incomplete information.

While Asana excels in task management, it has a limitation of assigning tasks to only one person. Moreover, the higher pricing of Asana has been a source of frustration for many users.

Top features & benefits

  • Schedule and prioritize tasks on a special Asana calendar 
  • Generate detailed progress reports
  • Directly comment on a task to clarify exactly what needs to be done
  • Advanced search functionality

Pricing

Asana provides a basic task management plan for individuals who have just started project management, but if you are a growing team, its premium plan starts at $10.99 per user per month, billed annually. 

However, to handle a large team or company, you will have to go for its expensive business plan, which costs $24.99 per user per month, billed annually.

5. Clickup

Clickup - Best for task automation

ClickUp stands out as an exceptional choice for task automation. With its robust set of features and customizable workflows, ClickUp empowers users to automate repetitive tasks, saving valuable time and effort.

You can create boards for each project or task that you need to manage and organize them into lists. There are also built-in notifications that let everyone know when they need to check in on something – like when a task needs their attention or when an important milestone has been reached. 

Users of ClickUp often express frustration with the platform’s steeper learning curve. The abundance of features can be overwhelming, particularly during the initial setup. Users have also complained about it being slow and buggy at times.  

Top features & benefits

  • Customize the workflow with stages to keep people on the same page. 
  • Create spaces to organize work with customized features, workflows, and tags. 
  • Add time estimates for automatic scheduling. 
  • Control what others can see and what they can do. 

Pricing

If you need a basic plan for yourself, you can go for its free version. Its advanced plans start at $7 per user per month when billed annually. 

However, if you need a plan with advanced automation features, you need to choose the business or business plus plans, priced at $12 per member per month, and billed annually.

Looking for the right project management system for you?

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Features of project management system software

If you introduce project management into an organization without really thinking about how it fits into the bigger picture of how the organization works, you can run into some problems. 

People might get confused about who’s in charge of what, information might start getting tangled up as it moves around different parts of the organization, and managers might start getting headaches.

When selecting a project management system software, I highly recommend choosing one that provides the following features:

  • Centralized place to view and manage all projects: It’s crucial to have a project management system that offers a centralized platform where you can easily view and manage all your projects in one place. This way, you can stay organized and have a clear overview of everything that’s going on.
  • Resource scheduling, forecasting, and planning: A good project management system should provide tools for resource scheduling, forecasting, and planning. This will help you allocate your team members’ time effectively, ensure you have the right resources available when needed, and create realistic project timelines.
  • Smart task management: Task management is at the core of project management. Look for a system that offers robust task management capabilities. This includes features like creating tasks, assigning them to team members, setting due dates, and tracking progress. It should be easy to update task statuses and collaborate with your team members on task-related activities.
  • Ease of use: You want a project management system that is intuitive and user-friendly. The last thing you need is a complex system that adds more confusion to your workflow. Look for a system that is easy to navigate, with a clean and organized interface that doesn’t require extensive training to get started.
  • Accurate time management: Time is a valuable resource, so it’s important to have a project management system that helps you optimize it. Look for features like time tracking, time estimates, and reminders to stay on top of deadlines and ensure efficient time management throughout your projects.
  • Customizable workflow: Every team and project is unique, so having a project management system that allows you to customize your workflow is a huge advantage. Look for a system that offers flexibility in adapting to your specific project management processes and methodologies.
  • Reporting and analytics: To make informed decisions and track the progress of your projects, you need a system that provides robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Look for features that allow you to generate insightful reports, visualize project data, and gain valuable insights into your team’s performance and project outcomes.

Also read: How to choose a project management software: A complete guide

By considering these essential features, you can choose a project management system that aligns with your needs, enhances collaboration, and improves overall project efficiency and success.

Find the perfect project management tool for your needs! Explore best project management tools for 2024 and take your projects to new heights.

The bottom line

Project management is without a doubt a demanding job. Tough,  viewing your project through the lens of project management systems can make things manageable to a great extent. By utilizing these systems, you can streamline workflows, foster seamless collaboration, and propel your projects toward resounding success.

Whether you choose a traditional, agile, or hybrid approach, the key lies in harnessing the power of a project management system to unlock your team’s potential. Embrace the tools and techniques that resonate with your goals, and watch as your projects flourish with efficiency, productivity, and outstanding results. 

Take the leap into the world of project management systems and embark on a journey of enhanced project success today.

Need to choose the right project management system for you? Try ProofHub’s 14-day free trial.
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Further reading:

The 11 Best Project Management Software for Your Team

Top 8 Benefits of a Project Management Software For Managers

Project Management Techniques and Tools To Use In 2024

Key Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities

Project management system FAQs

What is the difference between project management and project management systems?

A project management system is a structured framework that oversees operations within an organization, containing various interconnected subsystems. While project management involves handling specific tasks, the project management system addresses complex challenges and connections within the organization.

Why are project management systems crucial in modern businesses?

Modern business includes many dynamic elements. Project management systems act as hubs consolidating all the project details, teams, and communications, within an organization. They foster collaboration, streamline workflows, and provide a clearer understanding of project goals. This structure avoids chaos, ensuring everyone is on the same page, and ultimately leads to smoother, more productive work processes.

Q How do project management systems improve productivity and efficiency?

By offering a clear understanding of project goals and resource allocation, project management systems reduce confusion, optimize resource utilization, facilitate informed decision-making, and provide actionable insights through data analytics. This leads to less time spent on redundant tasks and more focus on impactful work.

Try ProofHub, our powerful project management and team collaboration software, for free!

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