It’s easy enough to convince anybody of the usefulness of a project management software.
Any company -big or small- that deals with even moderately complex projects on a regular basis can see the time and money that can be saved by streamlining the process. We’re not even talking about the reduction in errors (which your customers will love you for) and the amount of stress that you can leave behind.
It’s finding the Project Management Tool that is right for you is the ultimate mission. There are so many alternatives available and each of them claims to be the bee’s knees.
So how do you go about deciding?
Make an inventory of your requirements
It speaks for itself that outlining your needs is a first step.
A good place to start is with the solution you are currently using. What is good? What is lacking? How is time-tracking going for you? Are you happy with the reports? Do you have trouble managing resources?
Make a list of all the features you need.
Determine who will use the project management tool and involve them in the process. Not only can it give you insights that you possibly were not aware of; It’s also an important step for future buy-in.
Once this has all been looked at from all angles, it’s time to research all alternatives. Build a strong list of providers that meet your needs. Ask for recommendations, use search engines, read reviews.
Then you drill down on that shortlist. This is a tool that will be used every day, so it’s important to choose well. Look beyond the catchy marketing phrases and invest the time to thoroughly test the different project management tool alternatives.
Test-drive the options you like best
Then it’s time to test drive your alternatives short list. It’s an extremely valuable step that you shouldn’t skip, and most project management tools offer the option. Take the time to check if the alternative does the things they claim to do.
Some things you should try to do during the trial:
- Add a staff member and a client. How easy is it? Are the options offered around permissions sufficient?
- Create a project. How easy is it?
- Create some tasks. Assign the task to a staff member. How easy is it? Can you track progress of the task?
- Track some time. Is it flexible and easy to use?
- Investigate reports that are useful to you. Do they meet your needs? Are they customizable?
- Investigate the collaboration and communication options. Do they agree with how your team works?
- Send some difficult questions to the support team. How do they respond?
Make sure you understand the small-print
On top of preforming an in-depth trial, there are also some things you should double check:
- Are there any hidden costs? Is there a set-up cost? A cost for installation? Or training?
- How secure is your data? How often are back-ups done?
- Is staff training free? For how many people? For how long?
- What is post-sales support like? What is the response time? Do you have a dedicated account manager? Is support limited to certain times of the day or is there round-the-clock support?
Project management is about planning, scheduling, resource management, efficient collaboration and communication. It’s about keeping the project on track in all possible manners and involving team members and stakeholders in a transparent and appropriate way. And it’s about keeping your budget in tabs.
Big decisions demand solid investigation
A good project management tool will do all that and more. So don’t jump without putting your choice of Project Management Software through some solid investigation. It’ll save you a lot of frustration in the long run.