Project Management Guide
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Why Should I Use Notifications in Project Management Software?

Notifications are a great way to ensure you never miss an important update and are always on top of what’s going on with your project. Project management software notifications provide an alert anytime someone makes changes to tasks you created, are assigned to, or are following. They’ll also alert you if anyone @mentions you within the software.

Notifications: cutting through the noise

These days, it’s easier to access information than ever before. Now the challenge has become accessing the right kind of information. Notifications can help you cut through the noise and guide you to whatever you need to work more effectively.

The broad definition of a notification is an alert that notifies a user of a corresponding action. But notifications can be helpful in many different ways. Here are a few types of notifications that are often used in project management software:

Project updates

Project update notifications can alert you when any changes are made on a project you’re involved in. These updates keep all stakeholders in sync with each task's current status and ensure duplicate work doesn’t occur.

Often, project management software will allow you to configure project updates so that you’re alerted to only specified actions, reducing the frequency of unnecessary notifications and allowing you to better access more pertinent information.

Mentions, comments, and messages

Communication-related notifications are crucial to effective collaboration in project management. With some communication occurring in the moment (direct messaging) and other communication occurring over time (mentions and comments), you can quickly be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of different messages. Notifications can alleviate the burden of constantly checking different applications and alert you whenever someone needs your attention.

Deadline reminders

When juggling multiple projects, it can be easy to let a deadline or two slip through the cracks. Automated reminders can be the extra nudge you need to refocus your efforts and complete tasks on time.

The following types of notifications are often used in project management software:

Managing notifications in project management software

While notifications are a great way to stay on top of your project, they can get overwhelming if not properly managed. For this reason, it’s crucial that your project management software allows you to customize notifications to suit the needs of your business, project, and schedule.

Look for a project management software solution that allows you to select which immediate notifications you receive. Your chosen software should also offer the ability to disable any or all of the regular notifications. For instance, you may want to receive daily digest emails and product reminders but not “to-do” emails.

You should also be able to choose how you receive your notifications. If you have multiple email addresses, you need to be able to specify where to send notifications.

Another important feature of notifications is the ability to respond to them directly from your inbox. When you can respond to changes and update tasks directly from your inbox, you can be more efficient.

After all, having to leave your inbox and navigate to the relevant task or folder not only increases the time spent responding, it also increases the chance of getting sidetracked and forgetting what you were doing before it’s completed.

Here are some other notification features you should look for when choosing your project management software:

Branded email notifications

If you have external users in your project management software, you may want a system that offers branded notifications. For example, if you’re sending customers notifications about project documents and tasks, you want the email notifications to carry your business logo and brand, not that of your software.

Desktop notifications

Desktop notifications help you stay on top of updates or changes in your account by triggering a pop-up in the corner of your screen any time you receive a notification. This function allows you to be instantly notified without having your inbox open all the time.

Whenever somebody leaves a comment on a task you follow or assigns you a new task, a small window pops up, including a user avatar (except for Safari on Mac) and a brief sneak peek of the update.

This pop-up allows you to instantly see the overview of what’s going on so you know right away if it requires a reaction or can wait until you’re free. If you need to see more info or make changes, all you have to do is click on the notification pop-up, and it will open the related task, folder, or project.

Common triggers to receive desktop notifications include:

  • Someone assigns you a new task in your project management software
  • Someone leaves a comment on a task, project, or folder that you follow
  • Someone @mentions you
Reply functionality

Notifications are auto-generated by your project management software, so when you receive an email notification, it’s typically from the system. But what if you have a question about the change that triggered the notification? Wouldn’t it be nice to simply hit “Reply” and write a message directly to the person who changed the task?

A solution that allows you to press “Reply” and respond to the author of any change notifications will save you time and make it more convenient to communicate with your team.

Changes highlighted

It can be frustrating to receive a notification that something has changed but be unable to tell exactly what changed. For instance, imagine you’re notified that a change occurred to a six-page report. You don’t want to have to read through all six pages looking for the differences.

With highlighted changes, you receive only the text that was altered, rather than the entire text. This lets you see exactly what changed. It also helps when each contributor has their own color, so you can easily distinguish each person’s edits.

Mobile notifications

Mobile notifications keep you in the loop straight from your phone, without you having to check your inbox.

Mobile notifications should tell you:

  • When a task is assigned to you.
  • When you are @mentioned on a task.

These push notifications instantly notify you of task changes so that you'll never lose track of project progress, you stay up to date with your workload, and you can immediately provide feedback on tasks when you are @mentioned.

Further Reading
blog post

New Dependent Task Notifications: "Tasks Waiting for Your Input"

blog post

Android App Gets New Push Notifications

blog post

Make Email Notifications Specific to Your Interests