Oftentimes, project management and work management are used interchangeably. Which is because the words project and work are often considered synonymous.
The truth is: project management platforms and work management platforms are quite different. To put it simply, a project management platform covers your business’s needs for all things project-related.
But that’s all it does. Which is quite useful, especially for remote teams who need to easily coordinate project workflow.
Work management covers a whole lot more. Everything from planning and managing employees’ time, to controlling labor costs and improving efficiencies.
Both of these systems have their pros and cons. And both can provide value to a business.
In this blog post, we’re going to show you the differences between the two systems in more detail. And we’re going to show why your team needs a work management platform.
Find out which work management software best fits your team.
Project management is the application of skills, knowledge, techniques, and tools to plan activities in order to meet the requirements of a project. And, in this case, a project is time-sensitive ad-hoc work with a definite objective.
In other words, project management makes it easier to effectively manage projects from beginning up to delivery.
On the other side is operations management. This is a continuous process. The work is repetitive, and success is less a single objective, and more of moving targets. That is, success is measured by continually achieving growth.
The key difference between operations management and project management is how much change operations management created within a business.
Using project management can create sudden innovative change. Operations management, on the other hand, typically induces changes continuously.
It’s important to keep these two distinctions in mind as it helps to illustrate the differences between project management and work management platforms.
Now that we’ve established the difference between organizational and project management, work management will be easier to explain.
Work management involves managing the team, and an individual’s, workload and workflow. This applies for a project as well as any organizational operations.
The advantage of work management is that it can be used for some of a project’s core principles that are apart from the scope of project management.
Projects center on collaboration and teamwork. But to manage the individual, that requires work management. And, in truth, it would actually be better to call work management: teamwork management.
This approach (teamwork management) combines the processes and methods of work management with the tools and systems of project management to produce the best results for your business.
The teamwork management system provides structure, and nurtures a more collaborative environment in the workplace. Even if you have remote workers.
The great thing about this type of system is that it helps with collaboration at the team, the department, and organizational levels.
In a nutshell the 3 major benefits of a work management system are:
As we mentioned earlier, this software is limited by budget and by time. Additionally, they are seldom—if ever—useful for all that tasks that happen outside of a project. Since most systems are all about setting up and carrying out a specific project with a specific goal.
Which is why (team) work management software is so useful. It offers greater flexibility in its options and doesn’t revolve exclusively around projects. The advantage of this is it allows for collaboration and conversation on any organizationally-relevant topic.
With all this said: it really does raise one question. How does a business know which of these systems is right for them?
When to use a project management system and when to use a work management system?
Let’s take a quick look at when it’s a good time to use a project management system, and when it’s a good time to use work management.
Learn more about top 8 productivity myths for better leadership.
Project management software can be quite useful for small to medium business. There are hundreds of options each filling a niche roll. Some are designed for certain styles of execution and methodology, while others are designed to be all things to all people.
These software options are most useful if all your doing is working in project mode. For example: if you’re a project manager working with a remote and in-house team then project management software would be ideal for you.
That is, provided you have a project manager with solid knowledge of project management methodology.
Work management software is ideal if your organization needs software that is more accessible for all team members. And is more flexible.
Also: it’s useful if your organization doesn’t revolve solely around projects, and has a fair amount of operational work which requires support.
Some work management tools aren’t as comprehensive as project management tools. This means that while they are able to be used for managing projects, they won’t be able to do so as comprehensively.
However, there are some (team) work management software systems that are able to provide all your project, and work, management needs.
Whenever you are considering which is more useful for your organization, think about this. What are the needs driving your business today? And how do you want your business to grow?
By answering these following two questions you will be in a better position to consider which of these options is right for your organization’s needs.
But on to the part where we explain why your team really requires a work management platform over a project management platform.
While the majority of this post has been looking at what each can do and can’t do, we want to finish off by explaining why a work management platform is, in most cases, the ideal solution.
As we’ve mentioned, project management tools are ideal for discrete pieces of work. That is, if all you need is something to manage the project, and you aren’t too worried about collaboration and communication.
A work management platform helps team members complete their tasks and keep track of what’s next. Which is what project management platforms do.
Work management takes it a step further.
Dependable systems and repeatable processes can be set up so that work doesn’t get lost. And once these are set up, they can be applied to all projects. Thereby saving time and improving efficiencies.
Further to that, work management tools are able to connect a team member’s tasks to your organization’s overall goals.
This is useful to help team members understand how their impacts the overall goal. And studies have shown that employees who understand how their work influences the company’s overall goals are twice as motivated as those who are kept in the dark.
There is really just one reason, and we’ll break that reason done into six parts. That one reason is instead of needing 3 to 5 pieces of software you can do it with just one: work management software.
These are 6 reasons why a work management platform is all your team needs:
Tracking and monitoring the time you’re spending on non-project work provides a host of benefits. Everything being more self-aware of your efforts and how productive you’re being, to making more accurate time estimates for tasks.
Resource scheduling provides complete insight into your team’s schedule. This means your team members won’t be overworked, and projects have a better chance of being completed on time.
Read more about how to achieve work-life balance.
Work management platforms provide task, and subtask, management for multiple projects. As well as the ability to track, collaborate, and prioritize individual task lists.
By having your team members work in one platform it greatly improves collaboration. And not just for a single project. The right work management platform allows team members to collaborate and communicate freely across tasks and projects.
This includes everything from leaving comments for feedback or sharing files across projects. Work management platforms provide far better and more efficient collaboration options.
Keeping track of work in a reportable fashion is important on several levels. It helps you spot any issues, monitor progress, and importantly, it allows you to share information easily with stakeholders and clients.
Most quality work management platforms have Kanban boards. These are a great way to segment and visualize all your tasks as they appear in different stages of the workflow.
A Kanban board allows you to drag and drop tasks and duties to the corresponding stage. It’s that simple.
Tips about how to best use Kanban Boards to boost productivity.
Let’s get it straight - there’s no perfect work management software that can flawlessly magically help you organize tasks and achieve team goals, even if you’re willing to write a big, fat check to get the software subscriptions. Instead of searching for the perfect work management platform, you should consider a software that can meet most of your needs and also the budget without creating a huge learning curve among the team.
Take a close look at the problems you’re facing with your projects. There are tons of methodologies to increase productivity as well as optimize teamwork. Try out several task management software to know which one works best for your team. Sometimes, powerful and heavy features do more harm than good.
A project management platform is great for managing projects. But if you want to better manage your organization, your projects and your team, then a work management platform is the ideal solution.