Business is a battle, and the companies that best optimize their resources tend to win. But without a clear look at project-level data, it’s impossible to distribute those resources well.

The right project management software shows you how and where your resources are spent. Organizing, executing, and analyzing projects is a lot easier when you can find it all on a single platform.

Key project management metrics

It’s that last step, analysis, that makes project management software such a business asset. Within it, you can learn how quickly projects are completed, how much time people are spending on certain parts, and whether clients are being billed fairly. Let’s look at a few key metrics:

1. Task distribution

The task breakdown in project management software gives leaders and project managers a percentage-based look at who’s playing a key role in each project. Users can select any team member and sort their specific tasks based on priority and deadline. They can also change which tasks are assigned to which team members, ensuring that no one person is carrying too much or too little of the project’s weight.

Why is task distribution at the top of this list? Think back to any unsuccessful group project you’ve been a part of. Chances are, it failed because of how the workload was distributed.

On a successful project, everyone has a clearly defined role they take charge of. Your failed projects in the past might have had one person doing the work of three, or the other way around. The breakdown feature leaves no room for ambiguity and prevents employees from feeling swamped or unproductive.

2. Billable hours

Time truly is your most important resource. In most service-based business models, employee time is your greatest cost, and billable hours are how you get paid.

What if you’re worried about running over? Set a time budget in your project management software. Time budgeting gives you control over time spent on individual and team projects. Use the time logged to calculate your remaining budget. You might spend extra time on a “nice to have” feature; if you’re running short, you can always save something for the next iteration.

This data is critical for meeting clients’ expectations. With it, you can estimate project costs and delivery dates. You can also set notifications in your project management software to let you know you’re near your retainer hour limitations.

3. Individual contributions

Project management software can show you a lot more than merely who’s working on a project. By clicking on an individual, you can get a quick look at their specific role in the project — including their completed and incomplete tasks, logged time, and specific project feedback. Those details make it possible to:

Boost efficiency

If a team member is breezing through or taking longer than expected on their tasks, project management software can show that. This feature makes it easier for managers to know when someone might need extra support. And if someone is simply killing it, project management software makes it easy to see that as well.

Create accountability

Publicly assigning people’s names to tasks in your project management software ensures they know they’ll be held accountable. And when someone knows their progress is being tracked, they tend to do their best work. Nobody can skate by on someone else’s contributions.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

When you can see the pace, quality of work, and comments team members leave on tasks, it becomes easy to identify what they’re best at. By the same token, project management software helps you see if someone isn’t suited to a particular type of task, allowing you to shift them to a project or task on which they can shine.

4. Project progress

Leaders need a high-level view of how projects are coming along. Project management software’s milestones charts can give a snapshot of how different areas of the project are faring. This can serve as a quick update, but it can also help to spot delays or workflow issues.

Pay particular attention to the project trend section. This feature helps you analyze a project’s progress over the last 30 days. This can give you an idea of whether workflow tweaks or team reassignments have solved the issue, whether it’s pace, quality of work, or something else.

The bottom line is this: Project management software puts more data at your fingertips. Hard numbers help you serve clients better, and they give a clearer indication of your team’s performance. Go ahead: Optimize away.