“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
An intuitive team management app can set your business off on the right path to increasing productivity and improving work quality. That said, there’s a whole host of business management tools on the market today. Choosing the right one amongst a myriad of management solutions can be a challenging task.
Read on to learn more about the most notable apps available – and how to decide which is best for you.
What is a team management app?
Better business communications lead to improved collaboration opportunities and make it easier to plan tasks and workflows. The best team management app enables faster project turnaround times, and in turn, increased revenue for your business.
Different management tools offer various features such as advanced analytics and reporting, project data storage, and so on. Think about what your business needs from a team management app to determine the best solution for your team.
Why having a team management app is important
- Better communication among team members
- Improved resource management
- Easier project monitoring
- Increased efficiency
- Better time management
- Enhanced transparency and accountability
- Well coordinated daily tasks and workflows
- A strong company culture
- Easy access to real-time data for smart business decisions
Benefits of a team management app
1. Improves accountability
Success happens as a result of team accountability and an understanding of each team member’s role. You might think of your team’s activity as related to projects, processes, procedures or workflow but the truth is, it’s all the same: a collection of tasks that need to be done in a certain order. Often, this activity is repeatable, which means everyone knows who is doing what.
Team management software helps businesses to improve accountability by setting task and project deadlines to clarify which tasks are due and who is responsible for them. Project scheduling tools facilitate project outlines with detailed subtasks and lists that enable managers to monitor progress in real-time.
Plus, they can help you stay on track with projects thanks to document storage and team chat options that keep all the relevant information in one easily accessible location.
2. Effective time management
Time tracking tools within team management apps enable teams to monitor task progress effectively and stay on target with project deadlines. Effective time management allows team managers to create accurate project estimates, budget successfully, plan and manage resources, and understand team capacity.
Team management software that facilitates time tracking by projects, team members, and tasks offers businesses real advantages to complete projects well and under budget. The key thing is that it benefits the team with great visuals and notifications, rather than feeling like micromanagement.
3. Improves synergy of the team
The best team synergy is generated from mutual trust, collaboration, and co-creation of ideas. Team management apps improve the synergy of your team by providing a space for total collaboration and communication. Reduce email overload within your team using in-app messaging capabilities that deliver task and project transparency.
When you improve the synergy in your team, your business garners better results and better solutions to problems, facilitating an enhanced vision for your business as a whole.
4. Enhances central communication
Lack of team communication delays projects and halts productivity. Team management software enhances central communications by providing messaging functions in one place. In-app notifications for relevant team members allow for prioritization of tasks and ensure that lists are tackled in the correct order. Some team management software features include meeting notes to attach to tasks and share for maximum collaboration opportunities.
5. Streamline project management and workflow
Team management apps make it easier to standardize how your team works, and how other teams should interact with yours to achieve the best work results. Streamlining project processes ensures the completion of tasks in the most efficient and productive way. Experience fewer project disruptions and bottlenecks, and make your team’s lives easier by eliminating time-consuming spreadsheet planning.
6. Provides easier plan monitoring and transparency
Visibility and transparency throughout projects make it easier for other teams to understand the in-progress tasks, and the status of any requests. Team management apps reduce the number of updates needed and make it clearer to everyone how things work in your team. Plus, managers can easily skim their dashboard, rather than having to take time out of their day to follow-up on everything manually.
7. Real-time visibility of team activities
Delivering projects on time is simpler when all relevant team members understand the project aims. Team management apps improve team activities by showing complete breakdowns of tasks and progress. Whether it be via Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendar views, or individual workspaces, these views provide real-time data on project progress for everyone on the team.
What are the challenges encountered in team management?
Remote teams and different strategies employed by different departments can create disjointed communication and collaboration in a project. A lack of collaboration reinforces silos and leads to underperformance and missing important deadlines. Unclear project objectives and removing duplicate key performance indicators are a key factor in poor collaboration, as is a lack of access to required materials.
Collaboration tools that include platform messaging, meeting notes, document storage and notifications help teams to collaborate better and optimize business operations. Better collaboration leads to enhanced team engagement and an increase in productivity. When team members are happy and collaboration improves, so does a business’s ability to deal with unexpected situations. Teamwork makes it easier to pivot during project problems or implement new technologies.
When team members are unexpectedly off work, it can lead to stress within teams and has the potential to miss deadlines and important tasks. Think about how staff shortages and sickness are picked up, and how you can spot overloaded individuals before they burn out. Team management software displays visuals of each team member’s workload and deadlines, so you can keep track of performance across the board.
It also means that, should one team member take unexpected time off, you’re not left trying to figure out what exactly they were working on!
Ineffective time management
Ineffective time management is a result of poor prioritizing efforts. Your team members must understand which tasks are the most important and learn how to prioritize tasks. Easy to use prioritization tools with clear visuals, or simple lists of exactly what needs focusing on (and when) can provide a lot of help to staff members that struggle to manage their time.
Productivity tracking tools help team members understand where their time is being spent and improve time management skills. Encourage your team to be mindful of the task at hand to avoid multitasking, as this pattern of behavior fosters unproductivity.
Open communication allows all team members to understand what is expected of them, and what to expect from co-workers. When communication within a team suffers, productivity suffers.
On the flipside, too much communication in the forms of excessive emails and unnecessary meetings can cause similar issues. Team management apps offer a single dashboard that can be invaluable for weekly team meetings or standups.
Inadequate performance results
If your team is underperforming, trust issues can arise, as well as the potential breakdown of team member relationships. Seek the optimal balance of peak productivity and manageable expectations from your team. Use team management software to outline clear targets and business goals, and define them to your team. In-app reporting features will deliver the relevant information on performance results, which may lead to a team restructuring outcome.
Improving trust is all about accountability, visibility, and the knowledge that everyone’s suggestions will be heard and discussed. A good team management app should make all of this easy.
Setting and achieving the right metrics
Teams without focus struggle to achieve the desired business metrics. Not knowing the KPIs for a project means it’s impossible for team members to achieve them. Intuitive team management software clearly defines project metrics and delegates tasks so that everyone understands what must be achieved, and by when.
Tasks management and delegation
Consider how well your team interacts with other teams and departments in the business, and how effective they’re perceived to be. If your team is viewed in a negative light because projects overrun, or responses take too long, it can cause increased pressure on your team. Clear, visible working practices and agreed timelines improve the perception of your team in the business and help you get more of the support you need.
What are the factors to consider when choosing a team management app?
Some enterprise management apps can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, while other businesses manage just fine with $50-per-month online tools. Bear in mind that a lot of team management apps are priced per user, so if your business has grand plans for scaling soon, this must be a consideration.
Research the variety of features provided, and compare the cost of purchasing and implementing the software in comparison to remaining as you are. Consider aspects like time saved, errors avoided, and completed project deadlines. Equally, make sure you’re not taken in by features you simply won’t use – they’ll just add confusion, as well as cost. Conversely, while free tools can sometimes get you started you often hit the limits fairly quickly – which then means changing to a completely new platform and causing more disruption. Always check the upgrade paths for any tool you are looking at, and consider how your needs might grow in the future.
Check with software providers about their security measures, as your business’s data must be safe and secure. Online software must offer the correct encryption measures, and your software provider must ensure unauthorized users can’t gain access to your business’s confidential information. In addition, ask about security tests and compliance with security standards, as well as regular secure server backups to protect your business against loss of data. If you need to consider GDPR or other compliance measures, have a clear understanding of what data sits where within your business to make sure you’re not creating an unnecessary problem to tackle.
Does your intended software provider offer complete accessibility to your teams? Choose software that offers an intuitive mobile app to enable your team to update tasks, share progress, and collaborate from any location. Whether they’re working remotely on their Mac PC, or on the road using their mobile, the right software offers the best solution for your team’s working methods.
4. Team member’s learning curve
A steep learning curve for your team with new team management software can be a major implementation barrier. While initial training sessions from the provider are a huge bonus, it is important the tool is easy to use and not too complex. Software that has more features than you will ever need can actually create barriers, and potentially prevent a successful software rollout. Look for a software product that is intuitive and easy to use, and one that boosts productivity, rather than challenges it.
5. Multiple feature capabilities
Your business’s priorities for team management features won’t necessarily be the same as other companies in the field. When you’re in the research phase for new software, it’s a good idea to compile a list of must-have features. For example, some businesses need organized workflows and budgeting elements, whereas others prioritize scheduling tools and automation features.
Your business’s list of non-negotiable features will aid your search for the best team management app enormously.
6. Integration and compatibility
Check whether the team management software that you’re considering is compatible with your existing software, applications, and team devices. Whether that’s a CRM, video call software, or something else, integrating multiple platforms into one shared workspace enables teams to work more productively.
Sign up for free app trials to check the fit for your business. It won’t take long to figure out if the software is going to work for your company and teams. Expose team members to free software trials to enable valuable buy-in from relevant staff members. Ask the provider to give you a demonstration of the software and how to get the most from it – this frequently saves a huge amount of time in your own research and allows you to answer difficult questions without sifting through help pages.
Common features of team management apps
Task management features allow you to create and assign tasks and subtasks to team members in one interface. You can set the task start and due dates, as well as access time estimates, time and meeting tracking, recurring tasks, and file sharing. Task management capabilities ensure that there is a clear distribution of duties amongst the team.
Whether your team thinks in terms of projects, workflow, procedures or process doesn’t matter – as mentioned they are all a collection of tasks done in a certain order. Being able to have dependencies, notifications, visual reporting and a good personal to-do list manager are key.
The best tools help you prioritize tasks using labels and filters to add context and a visual element for all relevant parties to understand easily. Task template reports make it simple to visualize and understand what’s happening in real-time across a key task.
- Project transparency
- Easy task collaboration
- Time savings
- Motivated workforces
- Better team communication and coordination
- Project execution authority
If your business manages multiple projects and teams simultaneously, choose a team management app that incorporates seamless workflow management. Some apps include workflow customization options to structure your organization’s workflow effectively.
Team management apps with workflow management tools allow individual team members to automate repetitive processes and follow up on tasks automatically. Process improvement strategies help businesses scale when the time is right.
Users can create repeatable workflows for anything from customer onboarding to monthly billing, and then execute the workflows, usually with a recurring schedule you define so they are automatically created, followed by tracking for progress updates. Check for cloud integration in addition to existing automation applications with workflow management tools.
Project reports are essential to smooth business operations. The best team management apps offer clear and defined visual reports, allowing managers to oversee projects efficiently. Visual reports can come in the form of RAG progress, dashboards, and task boards. Managers usually need visual progress reports that show what’s been done, what’s overdue, what couldn’t be done and any communication points all in one view. Each column can represent a project phase (planning, execution, reporting, etc) or task status (to-do, in-progress, completed, etc.). These are great for team meetings and client reporting.
Visualizing project progress effectively means that you can manage potential risks, whilst gaining valuable insights to make data-driven, informed decisions.
Task communication in platform
In-app communications are essential in an effective team management app. Use group discussions, and team notice boards to collaborate efficiently within your team. The best team management platform offers HD quality chat, audio, and video calls – or integrations with a solution that offers these options.
It’s also worth investing in a team management app that has file-sharing capabilities so that all essential information is in one place. Drag-and-drop features are a great time-saver, allowing for quick attachment of files and documents directly into the platform.
Due date management
Team management apps that offer effective status reporting help keep teams on track and focused on project due dates. Time tracking features are an essential tool to see where team members are spending the majority of their time and track progress for specific tasks. Managers can estimate project deadlines accurately with time tracking capabilities and manage clients’ expectations accordingly.
Effective time tracking allows your business to:
- Create accurate project estimates
- Reduce team members’ stress and anxieties
- Deliver data-driven planning and forecasting
- Avoid delivery failures
- Seamlessly plan team projects and manage resources
- Identify productivity problems and risks
- Accurately generate invoices
- Understand team capacity
There will always be a learning curve with new workplace software. But the key is to choose a team management solution that is intuitive and offers training tools for ease of use and implementation. The best team management app will allow team members to get started as soon as possible with their new application, and with minimal business disruption.
Look for providers that offer wikis or FAQs, webinars and customer support to alleviate the onboarding process.
To-do & action management
Often the biggest blackhole is your team’s email inbox, where all the actions and to-dos they need to remember flood in and frequently get forgotten or missed. Give your team an effective personal to-do manager that handles everything from remembering the milk to reviewing the marketing deck as an action, and this alone can make a huge difference if it is collaborative.
Top team management apps to consider
1. Process Bliss
Process Bliss is an easy to use, powerful platform change to: that allows you to manage all your teams task activity alongside the repeatable workflows or procedures that they need to work on.
A collaborative task and to-do manager for every user, with a full business process library behind it to manage all the repeatable activity your teams need to do. Workflow Templates are super easy to create with drag & drop flowcharts, while tasks are then executed as dynamic checklists that are easy to understand. Features include:
- Multi-device access
- Notifications and reminders
- Data capture
- Guest access.
It’s a great tool that really grows with your needs.
It doesn’t support Gantt charts, but the Template Reports more than make up for this.
Process Bliss offers a 14 day free trial. After this, the cost is $10/user/month.
2. Google Tasks
Google Tasks is available via a desktop or mobile app and aims to allow users to manage, capture, and edit tasks from anywhere, at any time, with to-dos that sync across all devices. Integrations include Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.
Google Tasks is easy to sign in anywhere you can sign in with Google, and offers simple accessibility on multiple devices. Stay on track of tasks with intuitive due dates and notifications, with the ability to view tasks from Gmail.
Great for single user use, less good for teams as you can’t share task lists, subtasks or tag other team members. Repeatable activity (e.g. process, workflows, procedures) isn’t supported and reporting isn’t really a strength.
Google Tasks is free on desktop, and both iPhone and Android devices.
3. Microsoft To Do
Microsoft To Do is a functional to-do list application that allows users to streamline and keep projects and tasks on time and on target.
A big pro of this task management app is that it’s free. You can flag a real-time email in Outlook and appear in the app as a task. This feature works with any email account hosted by Microsoft, such as Outlook.com, Live.com, or Hotmail.
Similar to Google Tasks, it is strong as a simple to-do manager but doesn’t have any capability to manage repeatable activity or processes in your business. It definitely isn’t able to compete with even the lightest project management tool! Plus, adding videos or attempting to use it for training isn’t really its intended purpose.
Completely free with a Microsoft account.
Todoist is a project management software application designed to enable businesses to effectively manage daily tasks. Features include Gmail integration available on both iOS and Android devices, allowing users to manage incoming emails without switching apps.
It’s simple to copy and paste multiple text lines, creating separate tasks in seconds. The click and drag functionality is great for quickly moving tasks and information around on the dashboard.
The premium Todoist plan is ad-heavy, and the free version has limitations. In addition, Todoist doesn’t easily cater for the whole team. As a simple team to-do manager it works, but in terms of reporting, process/workflow template management and really boosting your team to the next level? It doesn’t quite make the cut.
Pricing varies from free to $5/user/month.
Trello is a virtual whiteboard based on Kanban, allowing users to create and move digital Post-it notes along configurable and definable columns. Moving tasks (cards) along a linear flow is easy as long as the flow is kept simple. Each card has a due date, which can make it tricky if each stage (list) takes a defined period of time, and you need to set notification settings for individual users.
Trello offers an easy-to-understand Kanban board concept. There is a feature-light free version for businesses to trial. The Power-up options integrate with apps such as Jir, and offer features to track time, set permissions and optimize custom fields.
Trello doesn’t support Task dependencies, and the mobile app needs work. Users can’t group Tasks from all boards to see at a glance what needs focus. There is no decision or process handling, and recurring Tasks are not easy to manage. The Free version of Trello is limited, and it can get expensive quickly for what is still a limited feature set.
From free to $17.50/user/month.
Choosing the best team management app
A team management app will allow your business to:
- Manage projects with ease and monitor team productivity.
- Eliminate or reduce timesheet monitoring.
- Collaborate effectively with everyone involved in a project.
- Deliver projects under budget and on time.
- Analyze project-specific tasks and increase value.
- Drive more business revenue and better satisfy clients.
If you’re seeking to improve teamwork within your business, a team management app is the way forward for the best results. You’ll benefit from complete visibility across all projects, meaning your business will run better as a result.
Alister Esam is a successful entrepreneur and investor, having bootstrapped his fintech software business eShare to international status operating in over 40 countries and servicing 20,000 board directors, before successfully exiting in 2018.
He now invests in a variety of startups and on a global mission to make work, work.