How to Use Salesforce for Project Management: The Definitive Guide
Salesforce is much more than just a CRM platform used for managing leads and sales. It’s a cloud-based software packed with various features indispensable for business management and administration. It helps improve sales, implement marketing strategies, provide world-class customer service, and manage content. But is it also so cool for project management?
This article tells you about the benefits of using Salesforce for project management and highlights top native Salesforce project management apps and plugins. Let’s get moving.
Can You Really Do Project Management with Salesforce?
Even though Salesforce has a whole bunch of features helpful for business and customer relationship management when it comes to project management, you may get a little disappointed. Salesforce doesn’t provide the full specific functions necessary for it. However, it has many basic but limited features to help you manage your projects effectively. Besides, you can benefit from various feature-rich project management Salesforce apps available for downloading from AppExchange. For instance, by implementing a project planner (native to Salesforce) for project management, you will simplify every step of your project planning and execution.
You can also opt for comprehensive solutions with an extensive suite of features and tools you need to achieve all project goals and deliver the best results easily. Keep reading to know more about various solutions for more effective project management with Salesforce.
Why Should You Use Salesforce for Project Management?
You have two options to choose from: to use Salesforce as one main platform for achieving global company goals on all fronts or opt for external project management software that integrates with Salesforce and enhances its functionality. Using external apps and systems requires complex integration and may lead to various errors and glitches in a system. Besides, since the data is transferred and stored outside the Salesforce, it becomes vulnerable to unauthorized access, which may lead to various issues with security. As you see, this option makes you more likely to hit multiple unexpected problems in the future.
What about using Salesforce for PM? Project management requires data accuracy, detailed planning, good organization, excellent communication, and enhanced collaboration. Salesforce gives all of the above, making it the best solution for managing projects of any shape and size.
Using Salesforce as a project management tool has a lot of other advantages:
- Salesforce supports automation with Process Builder, which helps soar productivity and fast project implementation;
- No one place is better protected from break-ins and data leaks than Salesforce when it comes to safety and security;
- Enhanced communication. Good communication is crucial for project success. With Salesforce Chatter, a social collaboration platform, your teams will always stay updated with everything happening with projects they are working on.
- Salesforce resembles a single stack that all users use at the same time. Sharing the single infrastructure and the same platform version is cost-effective and doesn’t require manual adjustments. All the updates happen automatically, so you don’t need to focus on managing technology but on managing your project;
- Third-party app integration. With AppExchange solutions and services, you can enhance the management of your projects on Salesforce to meet the most specific needs.
5 Most Useful Features of Salesforce to Manage Projects
Salesforce provides many out-of-the-box features that can empower your project management capabilities within your Salesforce solution. Let’s go over the most outstanding ones that allow you to do your job in a whole new way.
Report builder & customizable dashboards
Reports and dashboards aggregate and combine all the important data so that both the project manager and the team have all the necessary information at a glance. With Report Builder, a powerful drag-and-drop editor, set and customize project management dashboards and reports to deliver information to your teams in the ways that work best for them.
You can access and run the system from any device using the Salesforce mobile app available for most editions and user license types. With Salesforce, you can monitor project progress at any time from any place.
Document-sharing and document-management
Managing documents and files is a part of every project administration process. Salesforce delivers many out-of-the-box tools that enhance document management at every project execution and implementation step. Files, Attachments, and Documents Tabs are where you can upload documents and share them with your colleagues when needed. With Salesforce Knowledge, you can create and share articles with your team members to help them solve issues and give answers to their questions. If you are looking for the more enhanced functionality to create knowledge base articles in Salesforce, take advantage of our 100% Salesforce native Lightning product – AC Knowledge Management Enterprise.
Salesforce Tasks & Status fields
Salesforce project management software allows you to create, update, and assign tasks to your team members, thus optimizing the workflow and boosting productivity. You can also track the activities of your colleagues and know which task is your highest priority at any time.
By adding Status fields, you can set the statuses to your projects in order to provide your colleagues with the necessary information for a better understanding of where the project is as a whole and whether it has any deadline risks.
Timely notifications let your teams know when events occur in Salesforce. Hence always stay updated with the latest and upcoming activities and tasks. With Salesforce project management integration, you can set desktop and mobile notifications and reminders so that your team members never miss out on anything important.
What are the benefits of using native Salesforce apps for project management?
Perhaps you haven’t taken enough functionality with Salesforce out-of-the-box solutions. In case you are looking for more enhancements to manage your projects more effectively, then Salesforce native apps would be your best choice!
Why use Salesforce PM apps for project management:
- Unlimited data sharing;
- Flexibility and max customization;
- No additional adjustments are required to work seamlessly with the Salesforce system;
- Easy and hassle-free Salesforce integration regardless of edition or license;
- Real-time accurate reporting and dashboarding;
- Advanced security;
- Automation in accordance with your specific needs;
- System access at any time from any device.
Top 7 Native Salesforce Project Management Apps & Plugins
Project management using Salesforce native apps is a big step towards successful project planning and execution within the Salesforce platform. With Salesforce, you create one integrated software to have everything in one place in order to manage the project tasks and issues while keeping the ball rolling on company goals. Now you know you can find many additional Salesforce native options on AppExchange, but what are the best ones?
Gantt Charts is one the most preferred and widely used tools for project management of any type and complexity. It serves as a visual representation of the project’s timeline and demonstrates the project’s progress in accordance with the task’s completion.
With Gantt Chart, you can track the progress of all activities necessary to complete on schedule and within budget, ensuring smart project planning and execution.
Availability and Pricing
Available on AppExchange as part of complex free or paid Salesforce PM apps. The prices may vary from 19 to 89 $ per user per month.
With a Time tracker solution, you can easily manage the time you and your team members spend on tasks and projects, which is essential for efficient planning and measuring your team’s productivity. With a Time tracker, you will define the actual effectiveness of your employees and assess the accuracy of work estimates.
Availability and Pricing
A time tracking project management app (Salesforce native) is available on AppExchange as a free separate application or part of comprehensive paid solutions. The prices are starting from 15$ per user per month.
The resource allocation tool is essentially important for successful project administration in Salesforce. It helps schedule resources and provides an insight into the team’s progress so that you can avoid under or overallocation of resources, maximize productivity, enhance employee engagement, and ensure successful project delivery and client satisfaction.
Availability and Pricing
You can find resource optimizers on AppExchange as a free or paid PM tool for 12-30$ per user per month.
Ready-made Project Templates let you leave obsolete methods behind and manage your projects in a new way. It’s a package of ready-to-go solutions that can be easily replicated across projects in one organization to eliminate repetitive manual processes, simplify your project planning, and boost productivity while saving time and effort.
Availability and Pricing
Basic Project Templates are available on AppExchange mainly as a part of free Salesforce native apps. Opting for paid solutions, you can get enhanced Project Templates functionality to launch and manage your projects faster and more efficiently. The prices start from 25$ per user per month.
With the Project portfolios tool, you can group your projects into a single portfolio view which helps you analyze and optimize the costs, resources, technologies, and processes. It enables you to define the potential return on undertaking a particular project and evaluate the management risks.
Availability and Pricing
Available free of charge on AppExchange as part of Salesforce project management applications.
Portal for external sharing
A Portal for external sharing is a secure place for efficient teamwork, collaboration, and communication with both internal and external contacts. Bring your team’s work together in one shared space to ensure steady connection, smooth cooperation, and a seamless experience for each team member.
Availability and Pricing
You can find free and paid project portals for non-Salesforce users on AppExchange. The prices differ depending on the payment option: pay per user per month, per company per month, per user per year, or company per year.
Salesforce provides out-of-the-box functionality to set, assign and manage tasks within the system. However, it doesn’t support managing task dependencies. You can get this functionality only as an additional tool on AppExchange. With a task dependencies solution, you can define and track complicated task relationships in projects to optimize the implementation process.
Availability and Pricing
You can download the task dependencies tool bundled with the other useful Salesforce native functionality on AppExchange. The prices usually start from 20$ per user per month.
5 Tips for Effective PM with Salesforce
Although Salesforce doesn’t offer the specific functionality for project management most businesses need, you can still benefit from its basic but oh-so-useful functions for administrating your projects.
We’ve created a list of advice you can follow to increase your project success in Salesforce.
Effective time management is the key to success because it increases focus, improves productivity, and eliminates lost time & money. Use Salesforce native time trackers to get your projects done in time and within the budget.
Work with templates to save your time. Use Salesforce email templates in Lightning Experience to create and send emails with field data from records, ensuring consistent messaging. By integrating Salesforce native templates solutions, you will get additional functionality to manage contracts, invoices, or issues successfully.
Leverage automation at every stage of the project lifecycle to save time and effort. Salesforce offers a wide variety of automation tools to make your job easier. Use Process Builder, Flow Builder, Workflow, and Approvals tools to automate repetitive project management processes and achieve the best results.
Task Management and Activity Timeline
Use Task Tab to create and manage to-dos through their various stages from start to finish. Managing tasks is essential for planning, analyzing, evaluating, and reporting about a particular project’s progress. It helps you increase your team’s productivity, speed up processes, and reduce time loss.
Activity Timeline is another great Salesforce feature that will definitely help you in your project management. Use Activity Timeline to track all activities related to a particular record, including overdue, upcoming, and past activities. Thus you can see what’s planned and what’s already happened.
If you are new to Salesforce, don’t worry. Salesforce provides you with all the necessary information to adopt new, advanced technology and use it in your job. Salesforce project management modules walk you through the steps and knowledge needed to properly manage projects and achieve the best results. What you need to do is never get tired of learning and regularly complete Salesforce modules.
How can Advanced Communities help?
Looking for the best project management Salesforce native solutions for your company? You’re in luck! At Advanced Communities, we provide a wide variety of comprehensive Salesforce solutions for different needs. For instance, by using our AC Ideas Enterprise component and implementing the Salesforce Ideas platform, you can engage with your partners and employees and get feedback on each project. Providing your employees with the opportunity to generate the brightest ideas and share them with you makes every step of the project execution cycle more effective.
We also provide many other components and applications helpful for different business processes. Here is a couple of them:
- Enjoy our AC Events Enterprise, a Salesforce event management tool that helps you plan, organize and host the most complex events easily while keeping all the data in one place;
- Take advantage of our AC MemberSmart, the best membership management software for Salesforce, and get a ready-to-use solution for member organizations with a whole bunch of tools for effective member engagement.
If you are interested in Salesforce community implementation and need professional help or consultation, you’re welcome to contact our Salesforce experts. We’ll help you succeed with Salesforce and Experience cloud!