Project management is an important aspect of delivering SaaS software products. Organizing teams and keeping track of tasks and milestones is crucial for any project—but especially for fast-paced, iterative SaaS development projects.
The key to effectively managing SaaS products is to use a SaaS project management tool.
In this article, Founderpath will discuss the key challenges in SaaS project management and explore how cloud software tools can help solve them.
What is SaaS Project Management?
SaaS project management refers to the process of leading a team to build a successful software-as-a-service (SaaS) product or feature.
SaaS products tend to have short development cycles, where features are built quickly to adapt to changing market demands and user feedback. They also need to be carefully maintained and regularly updated to retain customers and stay competitive.
This makes SaaS project management especially challenging since teams need to be highly agile, organized, and on top of the project timeline as they juggle tasks such as:
- Organizing development, design, and marketing teams to meet deadlines
- Developing a product plan—both for the initial minimum viable product (MVP) and for future feature updates
- Tracking bugs and tickets and coordinating user feedback collection
- Liaising with key stakeholders to ensure business and client needs are met
Want to learn more about how successful project management can help boost your SaaS company? Read our full guide to successful project management.
What Should You Look For In a SaaS Project Management Tool?
SaaS project management is complex and fast-paced—and that’s why it helps to have a tool that keeps you on track.
But what should a great SaaS project management tool include? Here are some useful features to look out for:
- Robust task management tools including assigning and delegating tools
- Online chat and virtual meeting tools
- Cost and budget tracking tools
- Reporting and financial analysis tools
- Custom templates
- File sharing and collaboration tools
- Expense tracking and invoicing
- Online timesheets
- Resource management
- Project scheduling tools
The list above is fairly optimistic, and you’re unlikely to find one tool that does everything. That’s not to say you can’t mix and match tools and build your workflow from multiple platforms.
Let’s look at some examples of tools to see how different these platforms can be!
Examples of SaaS Project Management Tools
Asana is a project-tracking tool and customizable workplace content management system (CMS) which is designed to help companies organize complex projects.
This platform bills itself as a cross-functional all-in-one project management tool that’s mainly geared toward hybrid and remote teams.
In Asana, you can create lists or boards to host certain projects as a whole—these will detail all the initiatives, meetings, and programs involved in said projects. From there, you can break these projects into tasks and subtasks to make them more manageable, and list the steps to complete them.
If you’re after a simple but effective project management tool, Trello is a great option. It’s a project collaboration tool that allows you to organize your projects into intuitive kanban boards.
There are multiple task views, including a timeline, board, table, and more. By visualizing your work using these views, you can keep track of your project easily and better organize your team.
Monday is another cross-functional project management platform designed for remote teams.
When compared to Asana and Trello, Monday is a great middle-ground for project managers who want simplicity, but also value complex features like CRM and operations workflows.
In particular, Monday is a great time-tracking platform—allowing you to keep track of how long your team is working on tasks and projects. The platform also has some great automation and integration options—connecting your workspace with the apps and services you already use.
Why Are SaaS Project Management Tools Important?
Now that we’ve introduced you to some popular project management tools, let’s discuss why you should use software tools to help you out in SaaS project management.
All too often, decisions and conversations about project tasks are had outside shared spaces—leading to team silos.
An important benefit of project management tools is centralizing all project communications. Everyone involved in a process is working to achieve the same goal when they are all aware of what needs to be done next.
Encourages Productivity Through Collaboration
SaaS project management tools promote productivity by fostering interdepartmental collaboration. Team members can access projects and tasks at a moment’s notice and easily send messages and comments to colleagues.
Saves You Time & Money
Essentially, project management tools exist to save you time and money. These tools remove costly silos between team members and ensure everyone can instantly access the information needed to complete project tasks. Plus, project managers can spend less time delegating tasks and chasing up team members.
How to Effectively Manage a SaaS Project?
Here are some tips and best practices for managing SaaS projects with tools.
Set Up A Clear Line Of Communication
Poor communication leads to information silos and lost productivity. Project managers will need to set up a clear line of communication.
Every team member should know exactly where to look for updates, memos, and communications. Project management tools have some great features for alerting employees of new comms, such as email and SMS notifications—we recommend enabling these!
It’s important to keep your communication tools and procedures constant. Encourage employees to keep their messages in your chosen channel. You’ll also need to set clear expectations of how team members should talk to each other and when!
Roll Out Your Project Plan With Clear Goals
When creating your implementation roadmap, it’s important to set out clear goals, metrics, and milestones.
This helps your entire team keep track of the overall progress of a project and can boost team morale when key milestones are reached.
Key metrics here can include the scope of the adoption or how much time it should take until completed. It’s also important to think about when these goals and metrics should be achieved. Is it within the first 3 months, 6 months, or within a year?
Furthermore, a good SaaS implementation plan should also set out who should meet these goals. Which teams or departments are responsible? Who should project managers check in with if goals still need to be met?
Want to learn more about developing a business plan for SaaS? Read our guide on the topic here.
Identify and Manage Project Risks
Not taking into account project risks like lack of time, expertise, or resources can impact the performance and results of your SaaS projects.
As project management involves planning, organizing, and leading a project team, an important responsibility is identifying and mitigating these risks.
You should identify these risks early to avoid them from becoming larger problems later in a project’s lifecycle. We recommend developing a risk mitigation plan as soon as possible to prevent potential losses.
Use SaaS Project Management Tools
As we’ve stated above, it should be clear why using SaaS project management tools is so important for project success. To effectively manage a growing slate of SaaS projects, you’ll need tools that meet your current needs (and can adapt as they change).
SaaS project management is the process of solving problems and risks that occur while developing your product. Project management tools exist to make solving these issues as frictionless as possible.
Streamline the Process and Management Methodologies
Many SaaS projects suffer from slow project progress, often stemming from misaligned project management methodologies.
Every project is different, so a project management approach should be developed that is tailored to your specific needs. However, there are a few frameworks that you could follow.
Projects with a list of tasks in cycles may suit the Agile approach best.
If your project involves a sequence of tasks that need to be accomplished to move on to the next process, the Waterfall approach may be a better bet.
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