How to use ClickUp for project management

Whether you’re in tech or finance, marketing or consulting, or any other business, projects are a major part of your day-to-day work life. Whether they’re massive undertakings that take months (or years!) to complete or smaller ones your team can close within a few days, projects require you to juggle a lot of tasks.

Managing projects well often means being up to your eyeballs in details, which is why it’s important to have good project management software to help you handle it all. The right tool can keep you and your team from losing sleep over the classic bugaboos of project management: missing deadlines, repeating unnecessary tasks, going over budget, and getting swept away by scope creep.

With its reputation as a solid, battle-tested solution, ClickUp could well be the app that fills this need for your business. “ClickUp is the perfect tool for a solopreneur, a small business, or a medium-sized business,” says Mathilde Bernard Funderburk, CEO and founder of MBF Agency, a firm that helps entrepreneurs build passive income streams. “It can also be used for full-online businesses or retail.” 

In this article, we’ll show you how to use ClickUp for project management and how ClickUp can support every stage of the project life cycle.

How to use ClickUp for project management

ClickUp equips you with tools for managing each phase of a project. Here’s an overview of what it can do to guide your project through its life cycle.

Follow the project life cycle

An effective project management tool (like ClickUp) should be able to support the different phases of the project life cycle. Those phases are:

  • Initiation: Developing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, communicating expectations, and creating a budget are tasks to tackle in this first stage. In ClickUp, this is when you determine how you’ll set up the structure of the project.
  • Planning: In this phase, you outline the scope, create the schedule, and determine team roles and responsibilities. In ClickUp, this involves creating hierarchies down to the task level and assigning tasks to team members.
  • Execution: Here’s where the work gets done. Project managers using ClickUp can change interface views based on their needs to see whether teams are on track to achieve goals. Managers and team members can also use the dashboard to stay up to date on all tasks.
  • Monitoring: This phase is all about where the project is in terms of time, budget, and completion status. ClickUp can help project managers determine what areas employees need to focus on in order to complete the project.
  • Closing: Once the project is complete, it’s important to do a retrospective to determine what the team can improve on. ClickUp can help project managers assess employee performance as well as resource use.

While you certainly don’t have to use a project management methodology while overseeing a project, having the structure and guidelines of a methodology can help you keep your team on track more effectively. ClickUp’s flexibility and the many customizations it offers enable it to dovetail with a number of different project management methodologies, such as agile, lean, scrum, Six Sigma, and Getting Things Done.

Use the project management features 

ClickUp comes with intuitive and helpful features that are designed specifically for project management. Using these effectively can help project managers oversee their teams across an entire project life cycle. Here’s an overview of ClickUp’s features:

  • Goals: “You can set up goals to follow the different objectives of a project, especially in fundraising or lead generation,” says Funderburk. “The goals can be easily assigned to people and be fulfilled by the persons responsible for them.”
  • Workflows: ClickUp offers over 10 customizable views of your workflow — such as Gantt, Board, Calendar, List, and Box — so it’s easy to track an entire project from end to end. Project managers can build the workflow based on the project’s needs and ensure teams go through each step of the process on time and on budget.
  • Comments: Communication is integral to project management, and ClickUp enables users to add comments to any task or document, complete with appended action items and attachments. Users can also centralize project-related communication by chatting in real time.
  • Templates: Ready-made templates provide project managers and employees with a head start on everything from individual tasks to entire workflows. The templates are customizable, making project setup easy and stress-free.

“Map out all the steps to complete a standard project, choose the views you need, create document templates, and turn it all into a template list,” says Kerry Campion, SEO content marketer and copywriter at God Save the SERP, an agency serving SaaS companies. “That way, when you next have a project, you just import the template and you’re all set!”

  • Time trackers: Project managers can set expectations by setting time estimates for tasks and projects. Employees can track time using ClickUp’s timer on desktop or mobile devices. Plus, ClickUp can create detailed reports on how the team is spending time, so managers can determine where to make improvements.
  • Automations: “One of the best practices of ClickUp is the automation linked to project management,” says Funderburk. “If you need to efficiently divide weekly tasks, you can create a list that will assign the tasks to each teammate and renew the deadlines automatically every week. This makes for an efficient weekly to-do list.”
  • Dashboard: Project managers need to have a birds-eye view of performance indicators; the ClickUp dashboard enables them to see tasks, sprints, statuses, time spent on tasks, and much more.
  • Due dates: “I’m a big fan of the ‘recurring due date’ feature for recurring tasks so you aren’t manually recreating the same tasks all the time,” says Campion. “I use this to remind me of what expenses are coming up and nothing slips by.”

How to optimize your project management

When you’re thinking about how to use ClickUp for project management, it’s important to look for efficiencies.

Funderburk suggests different ways to use the automations feature. “If you’re shipping products as a small business,” she says, “you can create a list that will be automatically moved along the different teammates and receive notification about each step. It will also automatically create the new shipping purchase order.

“If you need to follow up on blog writing content, for example, each blog post can be integrated in a ClickUp list and each step can be assigned automatically to a teammate.”

Keep in mind that ClickUp is highly customizable. No matter your business or the workflows involved, you can make the software work expressly for you.

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