Go-to tool: project management software for app development

Selecting the right project management software for app development helps teams navigate obstacles on the road to successful product delivery.
5 May 2023

Keeping mobile solutions in the fast lane: project management software for app development. Image credit: Shutterstock Generate.

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Clients want their software to be developed on time and on budget. And working with experienced teams who’ve created multiple apps will go a long way to making sure that the final product lives up to expectations and is ready when you need it. But real life has a habit of throwing curve balls, and that’s when having the right project management software for app development comes into its own.

Tools help in scoping out what’s required to build products and make sure that each step of the development program has the right resources at the right time. And today’s solutions can do so much more, going beyond project management to offer complete end-to-end services that include budgeting, invoicing, and other business operations.

But these benefits will only fully deliver if teams can make the right selection and identify which project management software for app development is best for them. And that means taking a step back and looking at how client requirements and developer ideas are turned into finished software products made live.

Reality check

Designveloper, a software firm that’s been building apps for almost a decade, notes that projects all share a basic order and can be split into five phases – starting, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. And these steps serve as a guide for project managing app development. Once plans have been checked and agreed, the build phase begins. And this is where teams will soon realize whether they have chosen the right project management software for app development or not.

Tools should allow stakeholders to readily check progress and be able to flag potential hazards – for example, where tasks are being blocked or workstreams are falling behind schedule. And it’s important to be able to capture notes so that lessons can be learned for future projects. Also, it goes without saying that features have to deliver the right user experience. Tools should streamline the development process and remove pain points, not add them.

Different teams will work in different ways, based on their experiences and the results that have followed. And there are dozens of project management methodologies out there – agile, scrum, waterfall, kanban, and lean, to give just a few examples. “There are even hybrid management methods, like scrumban, agilefall, and more,” writes Daniel Hindi, CTO of BuildFire, who’s had years of first-hand experience in managing project teams in the mobile app and software space.

And given this variety in the methods for managing app development, it’s clear that when shopping for project management software, teams will want to select a solution that has their preferred methodology at its core. For example, scrum masters will want to have a Kanban tool that works flawlessly to manage backlogs and let team members see instantly what tasks are next in line.

On the other hand, if a waterfall approach is being used then users will want to capture information in a different way, such as on a Gantt chart. And these methodology differences turn out to be extremely useful in narrowing down what can otherwise be a very long list of project management software candidates.

Key considerations

Hive, which offers a project management platform for hybrid work, keeps track of some of the most popular project management tools and productivity apps on its blog – and the roundup includes a whopping 72 products. But, as mentioned, there are some easy ways to speed up the search for the right solution.

For example, it’s worth looking into the templates on offer, as they will highlight which project management methodologies are prioritized. Monday.com helps users to automate the creation of essential elements in the waterfall project management process. And Wrike, Smartsheet, and Ravetree also offer waterfall methodology-specific features, to name just a few options.

Surveys suggest that more than half of organizations still use waterfall-style approaches to project management, which anchor tasks to a predictable schedule. But the rise of hybrid methodologies, touched on earlier, highlights that teams may want a variety of solutions to draw upon as needed. For example, introducing agile approaches to provide more flexibility and allowing projects to adapt if circumstances change.

Having project management software that can adapt accordingly will bring comfort to teams. And it’s another design feature to look out for when considering project management software for app development. For example, if markets change dramatically mid-project, products in the pipeline may need to be rethought or modified.

Adaptability built-in

Easyproject badges itself as a remarkably flexible tool, with its adaptability valued by clients such as Bosch, E.ON, Toyota, and other big names. But it’s by no means the only option for project teams. Airtable’s large template library includes a section dedicated to software development. Flow makes it easy for users to switch between views with list, Kanban board, and calendar formats.

Then there are tools such as Lucid that bring a variety of charting options to the table, to help with tasks such as creating a work breakdown structure – the starting point for planning, managing, and evaluating large projects. And with many project management software vendors offering trial periods or free tiers, it’s easy to put core features to the test.

However, understanding your requirements upfront will still go a long way to speeding up your search for the right project management software for your team.