Although IT departments were the first to adopt project management software, it is becoming an essential tool for all disciplines. The complexity of projects increases, which means that there is more need to collaborate and maintain interdependence among company departments. Organizations and vendors need to work in close coordination and seamlessly transfer project information.
No matter if a company is building a brand-new website or a modern office, all parts of a project must work together. Project management tools allow for centralized methods of tracking progress, assigning tasks, setting goals, communicating with other teams, and setting timelines and deadlines. Although most apps share the same basic functions, they can have different functionalities.
The first step in selecting the right project management tool for your business is to understand what you need. There are many other factors that can impact your decision. This article will help you determine the best project management solution for your team.
Prioritize Your Pain Points
If there were no underlying problems, your company wouldn’t look for a project management solution. Perhaps employees think meetings should have more structure, and there should be more accountability for actions. Maybe communication between departments and staff members is not as smooth as it should be. Some people seem to be taking up more of the slack than others, as assignments are dropping.
Make a list of the obstacles that you encounter during project execution to narrow down your requirements for an app. You can prioritize your list by matching these needs to the features of a Project Management Tool. Let’s say, for example, that you find poor coordination and uneven workloads are the main causes of missed deadlines. Features such as automated assignment handoffs and customized views will be at the top of your priority list.
Ask stakeholders to tell you if they believe the app’s functionality matches your needs. A tool might have a beautiful interface, but it may not give a clear overview of the project’s progress or timeline. Activity logs and automated status reports will be more useful if it is difficult to track where everyone is with their tasks.
Determine the Scope of Use
Smaller businesses with five employees might not require external vendors to access project information. A medium-sized business or large enterprise may need to share data, coordinate tasks, and share project timelines with other vendors. Without a standard tool, important information such as deadlines could slip through the cracks.
Some project management software can be installed locally while others are cloud-based. For organizations that do not need to share their project data with external vendors, local applications may be a good option. These apps allow employees to have access to project information provided they are using company-issued devices. If only internal teams are the only ones with access to project information, this may be the best option.
Cloud-based solutions are more scalable and useful for remote employees or third parties who need access to your network. It is possible to control who can see and edit data, often more efficiently than local apps. This will allow you to create the conditions for future team growth, collaboration with remote workers and independent contractors.
Evaluate Potential Learning Curves
It’s one thing to invest in a project management software that is scalable and can solve your problems. It’s another thing to get your team to use the app you have provided. Sometimes, it’s worse to buy a project management system that is difficult to use than not buying one at all.
Employees should be able to test the tools on the shortlist during the selection and evaluation. Many project management software developers offer demos or free trials so that you can try the tools. The team should go through the interface together and then test the features using a mockup project. If you are satisfied with the demo, or the trial period, you can load a real project into the tool to test its functionality.
At the end of the trial phase, collect feedback from members of the team to add to your observations. Ask the team if the tool’s features and functions were satisfactory. Did the interface make it easy to use? It is important to determine if the features actually solve the problems you have identified. Identify any problems or gaps that were discovered during the trial and ask the team if they think more training is necessary.
Consider Integration and Workflow Capabilities
Many project management tools can be used in conjunction with other software. Many of these apps are compatible with any other software that your company may use. An API might be available for a tool that is compatible with your customer relationship management or instant message software. These integration capabilities can help your team sync across multiple apps without having to switch between them.
A tool that supports your employees’ current workflows and processes will be a great benefit. A software development team is used to working in sprints and needs tools that allow them to assign smaller tasks. A group that prefers visual cues for planning will also need capabilities to simulate Kanban boards and Gantt charts.
To reduce resistance, employees will need to switch gears when introducing another app. However, integration and workflow capabilities can help decrease resistance. The tool will be easier to use and the team will experience the benefits. Leadership won’t have to convince the troops that a project management tool is important.
Selecting the Right Tool
There are many choices, so choosing the right project management program for your company can seem daunting. It can be difficult to know where to start and it is easy to get lost in a sea of functionality promises. It’s best to create an internal list that reflects the problems your team is facing. You need to identify the most difficult points, whether it is unclear roles definitions or difficulty determining where assignments are located.
After identifying the reasons your company needs project management software, you can start looking for the right one. While matching available features to your “why”, is a great start, you must also determine who will be using the tool. Then, you can narrow down your list to the winning candidate by evaluating ease-of-use and fit.
Your business will be able to find the solution that it needs for improved project execution.
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