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This blog originally appeared on Microsoft Office Blogs on September 15, 2016. Click Here to view the original article.

From built-in templates and familiar scheduling tools to instant collaboration and easy access across devices—it’s no secret that the right project management software can increase productivity for project managers (PMs) and their teams— making it possible to execute projects quickly and easily. But are organizations overlooking some of the less-obvious tools available to them?

According to a recent study, the most-coveted project planning tools include file sharing, time tracking, email integration, and Gantt charts. No surprise there. But which helpful tools are organizations least likely to utilize? Interestingly, video chat, real-time chat, social media integration, and mobile access are the forgotten ones of project management software. But with communication cited as the most important aspect of successful project management, are PMs missing out on a gold mine?

Here’s a closer look at five untapped resources and how they can help in executing projects easily and more efficiently:

1 & 2. Video / Real-Time Chat—Choosing project management software with integrated communication tools enables project team members to collaborate using voice, video or chat from within the project. How critical is that to the team’s success? A Project Management Institute (PMI) report found that one of the top causes of project failure reported by companies is poor communication. Having the ability to communicate in real-time with team members down the hall or across the globe using tools designed to transmit your critical conversations quickly and securely could be the key to a project’s success.
advantages of project management software to employees

  1. Social Media Integration—Social media has moved beyond just Facebook updates and tweeting the latest trends—to boosting the level of communication among teams and project stakeholders. Research has found that using social media facilitates “small talks,” which, in turn, “supports familiarization to help build rapport and create a more nurturing, supportive, collaborative, and trusting environment.” So why not take advantage of those benefits to help drive a successful project? Using software with enterprise social capabilities like dedicated Yammer newsfeeds in SharePoint, for example, can be useful for communicating with colleagues in real-time on project details.
  2. Mobile Access—Using software that’s available on Windows, iOS, and Android is critical in ensuring that everyone can update tasks on their device of choice and view timelines and reports on the go. With time tracking listed as a highly critical component of successful project management, it’s important to find a solution that allows team members to submit updates on the go. Improved time and task entry give project managers instant visibility to make informed decisions faster.
  3. Sponsor-Friendly Settings—Among projects labeled as “high-performing,” more than 80 percent have actively engaged sponsors. Time and time again, research has shown that having an executive sponsor supporting a project from start to finish is critical to success. While a sponsor will not be part of the day-to-day tasks, they should have enough access so that they can lend support to the team when needed by staying on top of the project’s progress and benefits—and going to bat for it whenever possible. That said, having software that allows your Project Management Office (PMO) or sponsor to manage Project Portfolio Management (PPM) settings without additional assistance is important.

With more and more teams working remotely, even globally, communication skills and time management are more critical than ever. Having access to tools that let stakeholders manage on the go and share the latest updates, conversations, and project timelines quickly through a dedicated project site keeps everyone connected and informed. Learn more about achieving greater visibility into project performance, as well as reducing budgets, increasing savings, and more.