Business team analyzes sales graphs and charts, develops a new strategy, discussing work issues.
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If your teams are starting to hop aboard the project management train, you might find yourself unsure of what tool is the best fit for your needs. After all, there are quite a few platforms available to help make managing those projects not only possible but considerably easier.

When you start looking at each platform, you’ll find yourself inundated with features. Some services offer so many features that it can be quite overwhelming. Do your teams honestly need all of those features?

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

Although that’s an important question to ask — especially when your budget comes into play — there’s an even better question you should pose: What features are needed by certain teams or workers? If you can answer that question, you’ll be better equipped to make the right choice.

What is the answer to the question I’ve posed? Well, in all honesty, it varies from company to company and project to project. However, there are some features that are better suited to certain workers. Let’s see if we can demystify that here and now.

Which workers need which project management software features?

Managers and executives

Although you might think managers and executives should have constant visibility on every feature in a project management software platform, think again. All this group needs to see are the big picture features: Dashboards, reports, forms, Gantt charts, kanban boards, workload reports, invoicing and bookkeeping, schedule management, burndown charts, task dependencies and time tracking.

What’s important for managers and executives is the ability to quickly see what’s happening and be able to create actionable data for that work. They need to be able to see that a project is on time, on budget and moving forward smoothly. Anything else is a distraction.


Developers need to be able to quickly interact with the project management tool to keep track of not only what they’ve been tasked to do but also what they’ve accomplished and how others are faring. Developers need the tools to help manage those periods of heightened activity, where a specific goal has been assigned as well as a deadline.

To that end, developers need kanban boards, scrum, sprints and time tracking. They’ll also need to have third-party services like GitHub integrated so they can track their commits and other development activities. They’ll need file sharing, bug and issue management, and communication and collaboration features. For more advanced users, workflow builders and automation tools can help provide a serious advantage, as these can help make work a bit more efficient, reliable and repeatable.

PR and marketing

The PR and marketing department won’t require nearly the feature set of other users. This is due to the nature of their job, where they really only need to know about deliverable dates so they can plan their marketing blitz for the new product.

To that end, PR and marketing need as many reports as they can get. That means dashboards and analytics tools with a dash of calendar. If you rely heavily on PR and marketing, you’ll want to make sure the platform you choose offers customizable dashboards and plenty of tools to present data in an easily-readable form.

IT and operations

The IT and operations departments will work with developers to make sure infrastructure is present and up to the task. They will need to know if there are any issues that cause hiccups in the project. For that, the IT and ops staff will need to have features like dashboards, communication and collaboration tools, reports and forms. Because these departments might be involved in the testing phase of the project, they’ll need access to bug and issue tracking so they can submit tickets.

The IT and operations staff might also want access to documentation. After all, it’s these two teams that will most likely be responsible for deploying the project, so they’ll need to have all of the necessary documentation so they can take on the final stage of the project.

Other staff

If other staff members are connected to the project but don’t manage, develop, market or deploy what’s being created, you should still provide access to some features so that they remain in the loop. Features you might include them on are calendars, communication and collaboration tools, basic reporting, documentation, and bug and issue submission tools.

Remember that what you allow these staff members to use will depend on their role in the company, so dole out those features wisely. You certainly don’t want the wrong staff member to have access to a board where they could wreak havoc on the project.


Every project, company, project management tool is different. If you create a list of the features you need by department, you’ll come up with a definitive list of what you need that platform to be and the choice will be exponentially easier.

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