Project management software is an indispensable solution that saves every business from getting overwhelmed in handling a portfolio of several projects simultaneously.
Although there is no substitute for the skills that a project manager can have, simple project management software can catapult your company’s performance and productivity to a much higher level. Thanks to cutting-edge features such as timesheets, task management and a multitude of features that help project managers to get on top of the entire project lifecycle from kick-off meeting and stakeholder analysis to lessons learned and project closure.
Moreover, there is a surge in the popularity of online project management tools that further empower you to access your projects from any device, anywhere on the globe.
But as the number of such software products increases in the market, there is a need to identify the right one that fits perfectly within your organization.
This makes selecting the best project management software for your company tricky because subsequently having to change it could result in loss of productivity and hence, lost opportunity.
Here are five critical factors that must be considered in your pursuit to find the best match.
- Do The Required Features Fit In Your Budget?
The most basic criterion to consider is the classic trade-off between cost and functionality. As a project leader, it’s your decision to select the tools that should be a part of your complete project management tool suite.
Ensure that features such as task management, timesheets, resource allocation, budget allocation and expense management are included. Besides these basic features, you should go for PM software that provides a good level of reporting and project analytics.
The importance of structured and insightful reports can’t be emphasized enough as they power you through every project meeting and allow all stakeholders to gauge the progress status of the overall project.
Good project management software is easy to use, intuitive and allows you to monitor useful metrics from a single dashboard. Moreover, the need to access the project data remotely has become a necessity as businesses are becoming increasingly more global. Your company might be headquartered in Los Angeles, with a web developer based in India and a marketing executive in Spain.
You would need an online project management software package to enable your team’s collaboration on your projects.
Choose the one that offers you the best features within your budget. But it’s advisable not to compromise on your PM software and think of it as a future investment. A good package will recover its initial cost quite quickly with more projects delivered in lesser time and with higher accuracy.
- Is It Scalable And Customizable?
Your project management software MUST be scalable and customizable. First, let’s discuss the importance of scalability.
Every business aspires to grow at a certain rate that is clearly stated in their business goals as well as mission and vision statements. As you grow, your needs and expectations from the PM software that you use radically change too.
You may be using basic project management software during the initial phases of your business, but a growing phase may require advanced features . But they come at a cost, and you might not be able to afford the superior software during your startup phase.
Scalable PM software grants you the freedom and flexibility to start with basic features and then integrate advanced modules as you grow your business.
Also, every business is different and has varied business processes as well as success criteria. Avoid those packages that offer a “one shoe fits all” set of features and go for one that the vendor can customize as per your business’s unique needs.
- Does The Vendor Provide Training And Technical Support?
Just choosing the software package is not the only imperative. The vendor supplying the product is equally as important. You and your team might be familiar with some other software interface and would require some training to learn the nuances of your new software. This learning process can be quite challenging for some complex packages and might have a long learning curve.
It’s good practice to ask the vendor for their involvement in the training of your staff as well as providing technical support for issues that you might encounter while executing a project using that software.
Choose a software vendor that provides at least a basic level of training to get you started quickly and has a dedicated technical support team to resolve any software related obstructions that your team might face while working.
This is an important consideration because untrained staff and unresolved technical issues directly hamper your project’s delivery rate that results in loss of sales.
- How Well Does It Integrate With Other Software?
A modern business uses a multitude of software packages; each specialized in a particular functional area. You might also be using CRM software, accounting software, or an ERP to manage your whole company besides the project management software.
If the new software that you are purchasing doesn’t integrate with the rest of your tools, your productivity and efficiency could take a serious hit.
A well-integrated software package saves precious time in communicating data within different functions of your business processes.
- What’s The Ease of Data Migration?
Your current project data might be sitting in a combination of various software packages, spreadsheets, or even a different PM software tool. All this data needs to be transferred into your new software to continue as before and ensure that your current projects are running without any hiccups.
Discuss the data migration process with your software vendor in detail before you make up your mind on any package. It is a complicated process that can be a huge expense. In some cases, the migration cost might as well be at par with the whole software itself.
Hence, choose wisely after taking everything into consideration.
Finding the best project management software for your company is an important decision that needs to be taken with serious thought and considerations. In a way, choosing the perfect PM software is a project in itself and demands all of your project management skills.
Author Bio: David is a technical writer, his works are regularly published in various papers and top-notch portals. His rich experience in the project management domain helps him offer fresh perspectives on improving efficiency in work flows across organizations. His informative works on similar lines can be reached on ProProfs Project.