I look for the ability to assign tasks to team members or teams. I also like to be able to add notes and collaborate with team members through the tool, specific to the tasks they're assigned or the work they are doing. These capabilities cut through many unnecessary meetings and allow you to see real-time progress of the assigned work.
I use a web-based software called IntervalsTM. I create my projects and tasks, and then add my team to the projects and assign each of them their respective tasks. While I may create an MS Project-based project plan, I would use Intervals to manage the actual tasks, time and budget.
It's also a great tool for assessing how much time various tasks take and getting a more accurate measure of the time spent on the tasks. This tool has built-in timers for each task and general timers that make it easy to track your time.
Timesheet management is quite easy as well. I get my team to submit the hours they spent on a regular basis. At the end of the week, they submit their timesheet, which I either approve or reject -- it all happens online.
Another great feature is the executive role, which allows an executive or sponsor to see the latest progress on a project without having to be involved in any other details. The progress can be seen at any time online, by anyone provided such access.
What are your favorite collaboration tools? Are there any tools you use that achieve all these abilities?
The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.