Why Should I Use a Mobile App in Project Management Software?
While cell phones are exceedingly popular for personal use, they’re also becoming critical for business success. Business travel spending is expected to top $1.7 billion USD by 2022. Combine this with the growing expectation of 24/7 accessibility, and it’s clear that employees need an effective way to log into work while away from their desks.
A project management software mobile app allows you to access your software from your mobile device from anywhere at any time. But not all mobile apps are the same.
What to look for in a project management software mobile app
There are 3 key criteria that you should look for when comparing project management software mobile applications:
The first criteria is whether or not the mobile application will work on your employees’ phones. For instance, if your team has company-provided iPhones, then you need to select an iOS app.
Whereas, if employees will be using their own phones and/or have a mixture of Apple and Android devices, then you need to choose a project management software that offers both an iOS app and an Android app.
Other considerations include device models and ages. For instance, do you need an app that works only on mobile phones, or do you also want one that works on tablets?
Also, you need to ensure that any mobile app you select will work with the models of phones your team has. For instance, if the app no longer supports older models and your company phones are all 3–5 years old, you may not be able to use it.
Not all project management software mobile apps will offer the same level of functionality as the desktop or computer-based solution. Therefore, it’s important to define what functions your team needs to be able to use via their mobile devices and then look for an app that meets these requirements.
Here are some functions you may wish to have included in a mobile app:
- Searching for and viewing tasks, folders, and projects
- Viewing project dashboards and widgets within the mobile app
- Report running and viewing
- Request form submissions
- Creating new tasks
- Adding comments and attaching files to tasks
- Editing tasks' titles, assignees, dates, and statuses
Make sure you understand any compatibility differences across devices. For instance, if the Android version of the app enables your team to see Gantt chart views of the project but the iOS app does not, you need to consider the implications of this difference.
Another consideration is the user interface of the mobile application. Even if the app has the functionality you’re looking for, if the interface is poor, it can be difficult and frustrating to complete the actions you want.
Look for a mobile app with an easy-to-use and responsive user interface. Ideally, it will provide enhanced visibility into your team’s work, such as:
- The ability to see a stream of ongoing, recently updated work in your Inbox.
- The ability to immediately direct you to the right task when you tap on push/inbox notifications.
- Starred tasks that highlight key activities and work that you need to review and/or act upon.
- Quick actions that allow you to navigate to and complete common actions quickly, such as progressing a task.
- Auto-complete suggestions as you type so that you can find search results faster, with less typing.
You should also look for an app that offers the ability to work offline. After all, when you’re traveling, you may not always have a stable and secure internet connection. A mobile app should come with an offline mode that makes it possible to access tasks and project information without the internet. Look for an offline functionality that still enables you to view cached content, create tasks, subtasks, and comments, edit tags and assignees, change workflow statuses, and drag-and-drop tasks in a task list even without a network connection.
It’s important that any changes you make offline are automatically synced across the app and updated in the project management software as soon as you reconnect to the internet. This functionality ensures that no changes are lost and that the rest of your team can quickly see what you’ve done once you’re back online.
Security should always be a key priority for your project management software. And while any mobile application should include all of the security functionality built into your project management software, mobile devices come with their own security concerns.
For instance, if you’re working from an airport lounge, you may be at greater risk for security breaches than when you’re sitting in your company office. So in addition to the basic security functionality such as password and data sharing restrictions, here are some mobile-specific features to look for:
- Database encryption - Information stored in your project management software mobile app should be automatically encrypted and protected both at rest and in transit — if it’s stored by the mobile application at all. Best of breed vendors will allow you to disable data storage on your mobile device.
- Security certificate management - Your software vendor should have protocols and safeguards in place to protect your login information from malicious applications that send your info to third parties.
- 2-factor authentication - Additional authentication requirements on your mobile device, such as using a custom pin code, fingerprint, or facial recognition, should be available. These features can help ensure that no one else can access your phone if it’s stolen or misplaced.