Finding the right project management tool for your university

Posted by: Anna Murphy /

Whether you’re a small college or a sprawling institution, we know that universities face a unique set of challenges.

It’s no exaggeration to say that every university is made up of hundreds of teams. From the various different educational faculties and their teaching staff, to the departments responsible for planning and ensuring the university’s growth, to the operational teams that keep the campus(es) running smoothly every single day — there are a lot of moving parts to consider.

So when each one of those hundreds of teams is using a different project management tool or method to organize their work, things can get really messy. It becomes harder for teams to align cross-departmentally on important projects; essential information gets lost or is in six different places at once; and tracking each team’s work (and measuring the outcomes) becomes practically impossible.

But even though it’s chaotic to have everyone working on different systems, it’s all too common in universities — and there’s a very real reason why.

With so many disparate teams, all with their own unique projects, goals, and ways of working, it’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution that can keep everyone happy.

Not only that, but most project management software forces users into an inflexible way of working, making you fit your work around its capabilities, instead of the other way around.

As a result, teams turn to spreadsheets and multiple tools to let them work their own way, leading to less consistency, poorer security, and an inefficient pace of work.

Sound familiar?

What your university needs is a flexible, easy-to-use project management tool that facilitates your department’s unique workflow and enables cross-departmental communication and collaboration, without ever compromising on security.

Here’s how switching to the right tool can help your university to improve efficiency, simplify internal processes, and still meet every team’s needs.

1. Make it easier for departments to work together

Universities know better than most how important it is for knowledge to be shared in order to make progress. Collaboration is integral to advancements. And with one universal project management tool, that collaboration becomes seamless.

Whether you have different academic faculties coming together for an interdisciplinary research project, or your marketing and alumni engagement teams want to co-host a fundraising event — universities thrive when people are empowered to come together and explore new ideas.

With everyone using one shared tool, there are no limits when it comes to working together. Teaming up on projects, proposals, events and so much more becomes simple — and because everyone’s on the same platform, your team is free to focus on innovation and results, instead of onboarding colleagues and learning new software.

2. Simplify onboarding and improve adoption

When everyone is working on a different platform, onboarding and adoption becomes not only time-consuming, but often expensive.

Without the right understanding of how to get the most from your project management software, it can be hard to drive adoption and empower users to get the results they want.

But bespoke onboarding tailored to your team’s needs and workflows can be costly. Now multiply that across every product your university is using, for every member of staff and each subsequent new hire…it doesn’t take the mathematics department to tell you that it quickly adds up.

And when teams from different departments or faculties want to work together? If they’re not both using the same method of managing their work, they’ll need to learn how to use a whole new interface before they can even begin to collaborate and make progress.

With one universal project management tool across departments, you can minimize the time and resources you need to dedicate to onboarding. It’s easy to bring new hires up to speed and know that you’re equipping them with the tools they need to do their work.

Not only that, but with Teamwork Projects there are always opportunities to upskill on your knowledge and keep learning. Whether you decide to join a webinar with one of our experts, search our help docs to learn about a specific feature, or contact our 24/7 support team for help with a particular query, Teamwork is always here to support you and your team at every stage of their adoption journey.

3. Give every team the flexibility to work their way

Every team will have different goals, KPIs, and preferred ways of working. The way your university’s marketing team works will be completely different to how your faculty members work, and they’ll all have a completely different set of projects, responsibilities, and goals.

Some teams’ projects will benefit from more visual representation, like board views and Gantt charts. For others, task lists will be the most effective way of assigning and tracking work. And for high-level strategic planning teams, it’s important to be able to keep track of multiple key projects’ progress across several areas in one overall summary view or custom dashboard.

Many project management tools offer some of these options, but not all. With Teamwork Projects, every team and department can structure and visualize their work in any of these ways and more — allowing you to consolidate all the work that gets done across your university into one central system, without forcing your users to compromise on the tried-and-tested methods that work for them.

4. Keep your information safe, secure and centralized

When every team is working across different tools, it’s easy for important information to get lost.

Not only is this frustrating, leading to crossed wires, slower progress, and replicated files wasting valuable space, but the problem is further compounded by the fact that universities are often dealing with confidential and sensitive information.

From student records, to funding and financial planning, you want to be able to ensure that only the relevant people can see the right files and tasks; that you’re using reliable, secure software that you can trust, no matter where in the world your team is working from; and that everyone knows where to find the information they’re looking for at any given time.

Teamwork Projects allows you to do all of this by offering state-of-the-art security across the board, as well as granular privacy settings that allow you to customize who sees what at almost every level, from projects right down to individual tasks. This means that every team and department can have the access that’s right for them, so you don’t need to worry about ending up with siloed information due to blanket permissions.

5. Ensure consistency across university-wide processes

There are some processes that will remain the same no matter what team someone is on.

For example, say a member of staff wants to request new equipment. Whether that person is a professor or a marketing executive, it’s likely that they’ll need to talk to the same people — such as the operations team — to facilitate their request.

Having one consistent procedure for important administrative processes like these helps to make them more streamlined, efficient, and trackable. Everyone will know exactly where to go when they have a request, your operations or accounts teams are no longer inundated by siloed, untrackable messages here and there, and everyone involved has more visibility and accountability.

And this doesn’t just make things easier for the team members making and carrying out those requests. With one centralized record system for everything, it also makes life easier for the teams tasked with tracking things like expenditure, equipment, and other resources, too.

Want to learn more about how real universities use Teamwork Projects every day?

How does your university use Teamwork Projects? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anna Murphy
Content marketing specialist

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