Why Should I Use Comments in Project Management Software?
Comments allow you to leave notes on tasks, folders, and projects within your project management software. You can use comments to ask questions, provide updates, and communicate with your team. You can also tag colleagues in comments to get the attention of a specific team member, stakeholder, or user group.
By using comments directly in the project management software, you can easily communicate without having to send separate emails or instant messages. This functionality provides the following benefits:
- Keeping all conversations within the project management software maintains a clear audit trail.
- Recipients can easily look back to see what the comment is in relation to since it’s tied to the task, project, file, or folder in question.
- It’s more efficient to create a comment than open up, write, and send an email.
Important project management software comment features
To make the most of your project management software comments, find a solution that includes the following functionality:
You should be able to add comments directly to tasks, folders, and projects as you’re viewing them in your software. Another valuable feature is the ability to add comments to tasks by email. With this option, whenever you receive an email notification about a task, you can add comments right from your inbox.
Commenting serves as a universal record of all discussions related to a given task, keeping messages in a single, contextual location, as well as in chronological order. Comments centralize and streamline communication so that any interested stakeholders can follow along and join the conversation at any time.
Using multiple forms of communication — such as email, instant messaging, and spreadsheets — for a single project can cause confusion and make feedback difficult to track. Adding comments can eliminate the need for extraneous status updates, planning meetings, and lengthy email chains.
Most project management software platforms allow you to @mention people in comments. This makes it clear who you’re addressing in your comment, while still making this one-to-one or one-to-many communication clearly visible to others in the context of the larger conversation. @mentions also make it possible to trigger notifications or alerts to those who are mentioned in the comment.
Typically, comments should be able to include both text and images. This way, you can add visuals such as screenshots and pictures to help clarify your comment or provide more information. The ability to paste images directly into comments from your clipboard, or upload them as attached files, can make adding images quick and easy.
You should never have to go searching for comments that may need your attention. Ideally, your project management software should enable you to find and view comments in three ways:
- Directly attached to the task, folder or project.
- As a notification.
- In your activity stream.
If multiple comments or changes have been made to one task, folder, or project, you may need to click a “Show more updates” or similar option in your activity stream to see all related comments or changes.
It can be useful to format your comments using a simple markup language. This allows you to make important text bold or put quotes in italics. It’s also beneficial to be able to strikethrough old information. This helps readers easily see what’s new and what is no longer relevant without anything being deleted.
Available formatting options in your project management software should appear when you start typing a new comment. You should be able to apply formatting separately to lines or words versus the whole text and be able to use keyboard shortcuts to format text.
Here are some standard options:
- Code (formats one line of text as code)
- Preformatted (displays text using a fixed width font preserving all spaces and line breaks)
We’ve all had an experience where seconds after we post a comment, we realize it contains a typo or isn’t as clear as it should be. For this reason, it’s important that you have the ability to edit comments directly after they’re posted.
Typically, you can edit your own comments within a few minutes of posting them. This window means that you can fix mistakes but that comments are later locked in for audit and data security purposes.
Quoting text in a comment
It can be useful to quote text from another comment or from the description field when posting your own comment. This feature helps you clarify what you’re referring to without having to retype out text.
Some project management software allows you to simply select the necessary part of your teammate’s comment and click on the quote icon appearing to the left. The fragment is automatically pasted into a new comment along with the timestamp and the author’s name. If you already started typing a comment, the quote will be added to the end of it.
The same method of quoting should work for task descriptions, so you can quickly ask questions about a particular task detail.
Many project management software platforms now allow you to include emojis in your comments. Emojis are useful for quickly letting someone know that you've read their comment, and/or to express your feelings about a comment.
For example, you could use a “thumbs up” emoji to quickly tell a team member that you’ve seen their comment and you agree with what they’ve stated. This lets them know you’re aware of what’s going on, without you having to spend the time writing a response.
Deleting a comment
At any time, users should be able to delete their own comments or comments made by any user on tasks that they created.
Spell checking comments
Spell check in comments allows you to ensure you don’t have any embarrassing typos before publishing a comment for the world to see.
In some cases, project management software will offer its own automatic spell check feature. If you’re using cloud project management software, you should also be able to use your browser settings to enable spell check.