What To Look For In A Project Management Software
Picking the right project management software can be quite an overwhelming task by itself. It is not just about the features on offer or how much it costs. The right solution also depends to a great extent on what existing tools your project managers are accustomed to, what challenges you face with your current solution and whether or not your project management software would help you accelerate your team performance. Before you go ahead and finalize on a new project management software, it is imperative to ask yourself these questions.
What Solution Does Your Team Use Currently?
The solution you pick needs to do two things - it should sustain the user behavior that your collaborators are used to. Even if it fails to do so, the change in user behavior should be something for the better. Most small businesses start out managing projects on spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. While they may not have all the fancy features that a full-fledged PM software comes with, they have their own features that a Project Manager may like. For instance, with MS Excel, it is quite easy to create a new worksheet or copy entire worksheets with just a click of a button. If this is a task that your PM will need to do frequently, they may not appreciate a software that does not permit them to do this. The result - your team may slide back to working on their older solution over time.
Does It Serve Your Industry?
All Project Management tools are not built the same. Generic PM tools are useful to monitor progress of simple projects. However, the right project management tool is something that is customized to serve your specific industry. For instance, a construction company may need a tool with features like compatibility with CAD files and the ability to share high resolution images. Such features may not be necessary for a content marketing company whose needs are vastly different.
Does It Integrate With Your Business Tools?
Managing a project is much more than monitoring deadlines and collaborating with other members of your team. Project managers may also be involved with managing time-sheets of employees, raising invoices with clients, accounting the P/L and connecting with other stakeholders in your business. For a large business with dozens of projects at any given time, handing these operations outside the PM tool may be cumbersome. The right software would come with integration to your favorite tool for accounting, invoicing or storage so that you may handle these tasks right from within your project management dashboard.
How Does It Handle Changes?
As more and more businesses move towards an ‘agile’ work methodology, it is important for project managers to be more nimble and flexible in handling project scope changes. A project management tool that does not handle scope changes well may not be a good tool to use when you are embracing agile methodology. In other words, your project management tool should be compatible with your business’ working style and methodology. In the absence of this, your project management tool may cease to be an asset and may become a liability.
A Project management tool sets the tune for how well a project is managed and executed. Picking a wrong tool could be disastrous for a business in the long term and is hence something that they must vehemently avoid.
Image from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/project-management-basics