All You Wanted To Know About Custom Fields in Project Management
Custom fields allow you to include essential details that are unique to your work process and gain better insight into your projects.
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A survey has found that 59% of project managers manage between 2 and 5 projects, 11% manage 6 to 10 projects, and 15% manage more than 10 projects at a time. Only 15% of project managers manage one project at a time.
Managing even a single project can turn out to be an overwhelming task for project managers, leave alone running multiple projects at the same time. The task is made even more difficult when working with remote teams to get the job done.
Project managers have to juggle multiple responsibilities at the same time—planning projects, creating tasks and assigning them, monitoring the team performance, checking the project progress, managing deliverables, and much more.
It’s easy for project managers to lose track of vital project information amid all the chaos. The standard fields offered in some project management tools usually do not match the unique requirements of your business or workflow.
How can you add additional data to tasks?
How do you track and prioritize work effectively?
How can you configure your projects to track what matters to you?
If these questions spring up in your mind often, then it’s evident that you need a team collaboration and project management tool that offers you clarity and detail into task requirements - Custom Fields.
What Are the Limitations of Standard Default Fields in a Project Management Software?
There are some project management tools that do not offer users the option to add custom fields. Standard default fields do not give users the leverage to add additional information that is necessary to your project’s workflow.
The fact is no two projects are alike. They differ in terms of scope, deadlines, and budget. Some projects are relatively straightforward, while others are tough and complex. Hence, the workflow of every project is different from the others, even though exceptions are always there.
When it comes to project management, standard default fields do not allow users to add details that are unique to the project. Neither can you configure tasks based on project requirements.
The lack of custom fields also hampers your ability to track various activities within a project.
What Are Custom Fields?
As the term suggests, custom fields allow you to add and store additional relevant data to your projects. Custom fields in project management software allow users to add more detail to their tasks beyond the standard default filters. With custom fields, you can add more fields to suit the unique needs of your team’s workflow.
For example, in addition to default fields, you can create a field for Text, Date, Currency, Percentage, Text area, Numbers, Dropdown, or any other field that’s important to your organization, team, and workflow. This allows project managers and team members to have a granular view of different tasks and other activities across the project.
What Are Different Types of Custom Fields in a Project Management Software?
There are many project management tools available in the market. Only a handful of them offers users the option of custom fields. Though no two PM software offers the same options in custom fields, you can expect some common data types, which are as follows.
You can use the text field to store information of any type and size. This custom field is generally used by team members to add task descriptions or specific instructions for those who are assigned to the task.
This custom field is meant specifically for adding and storing numeric data. It is useful for storing figures like IP addresses, logged working hours, tracking numbers, contact numbers, etc.
The percentage custom field is usually added to denote the progress of tasks in the form of percentage data. For example, if the task is in progress, it would be denoted as 50%.
Tags are like labels. You can create and add them and use these tags again and again to organize and track your work. You can also customize them using different color codes.
This custom field can be created and added to store start and due dates, estimated dates, and set dates for tasks.
Dropdown custom fields can be used to create and add a list of options for users to select from. You can add any number of options and color code them for a better view.
How To Use Custom Fields in a Project Management Software
Whether you’re a project manager or a team member, adding custom fields in project management software is as easy as it can get. You must add custom fields to selected tasks per your project workflow requirements. This will allow easier access, filtering, and sorting of tasks.
Using custom fields, you can be more descriptive about your tasks. When you add fields to tasks, these automatically get added as sections when tasks are viewed in a table view. Be it resource allocation, daily task management, or work prioritization, you can easily track anything within your project with the help of this innovative feature.
Some examples of custom field applications are as follows:
Budget Management — You can add custom fields to manage and track project costs besides restricting the visibility of your sensitive financial data to only authorized users.
Task Progress — Custom fields allow you to be more descriptive about task statuses. Apart from standard “In-progress,” “Pending,” or “Finished Statuses,” you can choose to display task progress in the form of a percentage or by adding insightful options like Ideas, Approval, Review, Submitted, Published, Declined, etc.
Categorization Of Tasks — You can classify your tasks into different categories, which makes it easy to search and filter them. You can also prioritize tasks according to project requirements.
Add Tags — You can add tags to certain tasks using Custom Fields. Tags work like labels, which is an effective way to categorize, organize, and prioritize your work.
Create Dropdown — You can create dropdown menus and different options for team members to choose from. For example, you can create a dropdown and add options for users to choose from, like Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, etc.
Multiple Uses — The main advantage of custom fields is that these can be edited according to your project requirements and store pivotal information. The application of custom fields is not limited to specific project details. For example, the number field can be used to add, store, and track numerical data like IP addresses, payroll, ticket numbers, budget, costs, and more. Hence, every custom field can be used as per your workflow and project requirements.
The Final Word
Custom fields bring flexibility and customizability to project management. There are many project management tools that offer project teams default project management processes, which leaves them with little to no room for editing and customizing things.
Custom fields enable users to work on different projects without any confusion. When you choose a project management software for planning, organizing, and executing projects efficiently, make sure it does offer you the much-required feature — custom fields.
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