How to get started with any project management software

Starting fresh with new project management software is a project in itself. Each is different from the other, so in addition to trying to map out all of your projects, you may face a learning curve. It can be overwhelming.

However, one thing they all have in common is that planning ahead can help make the transition smooth. Plus, you’ll prepare to keep a clean and cohesive workspace. Read on to find out what steps you can take when getting started with new project management software.


Decide how you want to use project management software

Before configuring your software, you need a usage plan. Knowing who will be using the account and the types of project boards it contains will help you get started.

Who are you going to work with?

Will someone else be on the account? Who are they and what are their roles? The privacy level and permissions you can set for your team will vary depending on which one you’re using and which tier you’re subscribed to. So it’s good to plan ahead, even before selecting one, who is using the account and what you want to give them access to.

For example, personal versions of Notion are very different from Crew account, but you can collaborate using either one. Personal features pages that start private and allow you to invite guests, while the Team account unlocks collaborative workspaces that allow you to immediately share with your entire organization.

Within your organization, you’ll also want to consider who you want to grant admin permissions to. Additionally, if your software allows guests, you can determine whether or not sharing a project board with clients, contractors, or others outside of your workplace is necessary.

What types of project boards will you use?

You can do more than just create project outlines in your project management software. You can also:

  • Create project request boards where you and your colleagues can delegate various tasks or ask for help. ClickUp is great software for creating one, but you can integrate them into any project management software.
  • Outline a continuous workflow from start to finish to get a quick overview of project milestones.
  • Create an open assignment board where you and your colleagues can assign each other to available tasks.

Deciding how to organize project management software

Now that you know who you’re working with and the types of project boards you’ll be using, you need to figure out how you want to organize the account.

How you do it is really a matter of preference, but how many people you work with will also help you decide. There are many ways to organize your project boards, for example:

  • Customer
  • Project
  • department
  • Crew

You can even use a combination of the above. But, if you’re working with a large company, organizing by department or team will make it easier for everyone to find projects and tasks.

When organizing items, you want to avoid overcomplicating the names of your tasks, projects, boards, and folders. You and your colleagues will quickly find what you need if you keep things as simple as possible.

This is especially true for subfolders. If the tool you’re using offers subfolders, consider before creating one whether it’s really necessary, and if so, figure out the optimal name when others search for it. Including a series of small empty or mislabeled folders will only create confusion.

Think of it almost like the file folders on your computer. You want to be able to find what you’re looking for in as few clicks as possible.

Adding Tasks to Project Management Software

Once you’ve figured out how you want to organize your tasks and projects, you can start mapping them out. First, it helps to list current projects and break them down into action items. You can do this on paper or in word processing software, whichever works best for you.

Sticking to current projects will help simplify the process. Create boards and tasks only for projects you’re working on now or in the future, rather than including outdated information or placeholders.

Be sure to name your project boards accordingly and only include related tasks. This hierarchy will help you find details faster and give you and your colleagues a quick overview of the status of a project.

For example, if you are developing a new website for a product, you would create a project board and call it something like a Product website. Next, you will list all the action items that make up a website as tasks within. So things like choosing a domain name, setting up hosting, designing wireframes, etc.

If you keep your system of adding projects and tasks consistent, you’re less likely to need to spend time decluttering or reorganizing.

What to Avoid When Setting Up Project Management Software

Some things you want to avoid when setting up new project management software are:

  • do it all at once— start small with a list of current projects to avoid getting overwhelmed or cluttering your workspace.
  • Use of all features-especially if it’s a paid account, you may think you want to get what you pay for. However, there are a lot of bells and whistles that come with project management software that can only get in the way. Researching the product beforehand is one way to avoid feature fatigue.
  • Projects that are too complicated— adopt the less is more approach when developing your projects. For example, many project management software programs offer less visible subtasks that you can nest within larger tasks. However, it can be tedious for you to list the steps of a task and for your colleague to check them off.

Start with your project management software

Getting started with new project management software is less overwhelming if you plan a little ahead and start small. Rather than building it with outdated projects or placeholder information, build things as you go and keep a consistent naming system for tasks, projects, and folders.

Remember to keep it simple. The fewer clicks you need to find what you need, the better.