Avoid these Mistakes When Selecting Project Management Software
There is a plethora if project management software on the market and the advent of Mobile Apps hasn’t made the choice any easier, and can at times feel overwhelming. Selecting the wrong software program lends itself to a wide array of problems, such as reductions in the flow of communication, reporting, billing, and overall productivity. Basically, choosing the wrong project management software can increase the risk of making larger, unforeseen mistakes that cost money.
Needless to say that proper software selection is important, and it can start by avoiding some all too common mistakes. Failing To Examine Your Business Processes And Match Them To Software Offerings.Just as with any type of selection project, it pays to start with a clear idea of what the requirements are. It is imperative to consider how projects come into being within an organisation, including which teams are usually involved, and what they need for optimal collaboration. Many project managers should become more aware of what’s typically included in project management software solutions before making a purchase. They can accomplish this by spending more time analysing project management software programs beforehand.
It’s worth considering revising how projects are managed to take full advantage of all of the software’s efficiencies. This is because many professional software products are designed to incorporate industry best practices. If the company’s project management practices have remained unchanged for a very long time, it’s possible that some proven best practices are being missed. However, this is not always the case. If some software provides features that seem to match up well with the way a company works and other software products do not, you obviously need to look for the ones that offer a good degree of compatibility.
The key here is to begin by performing a thorough needs analysis before making a final purchasing decision. An analysis will allow project managers to address the needs of the company’s projects in their totality. This includes:
- Assessing how the organization communicates with all those working on projects, including both internal and external team members
- Considering how file sharing is performed between team members
- Analysing how the company tracks resources such as costs, material, and human resources
- Determining the types of reports that need to be prepared and their frequency
Basically, project managers should perform a detailed and thorough analysis of every step of the project management process. Beyond just accurately tracking projects, they should consider all aspects involved in the project management process to formulate a precise listing of their requirements.
Another mistake to avoid is the gravitation to project management software solutions that offer a wide array of features. The problem is that having too many features that will likely never be used can overwhelm and complicate the learning curve and sometimes even the software implementation process. This mistake leads to overspending and to staff members underusing the system. This is mainly because the more complicated the system is, the more difficult employees will find using it, and that increases the chance of errors.
A larger system, like Microsoft Project, might be perfect when working on long-term projects spanning many departments that require long-term planning. But if the projects are much smaller in scope and shorter in duration, consider a lighter application like BaseCamp or Trello. Regardless, careful thought and consideration should be put into software-related purchasing decisions long before making the purchase. And remember, the more features a software program has the more likely there will be additional costs to purchase and implement it. If many of those features are unnecessary, that extra expense will have been wasted.
There is an effective approach to minimizing the risk associated with selecting software solutions that have it all. Project managers can do something as simple as creating a checklist with criteria and weightings. Create a list of prioritized features in the following order:
- The “must-haves,” meaning the features that are absolutely necessary
- A list of features that are not necessarily required would be nice to have
- A list of features that are not completely unnecessary for your company
Prioritizing with needs of this type will help make a better informed software purchasing decision.
Ensure that consideration is placed on future needs, and not just current issues. When evaluating software solutions, imagine it growing with the business. In other words, long-term considerations should also be taken into account during the initial evaluation stages. Project managers should look out for software that offers things such as flexibility as well as scalable solutions that meet both their current immediate needs as well as their projected future needs.
An alternative that could support a company‘s growth plan is adding features to the software as a company grows and requires more licenses for new staff members. Project managers that do not plan ahead in this regard often end up causing companies to spend more money in the long run.
Successful businesses are profitable, and this leads to expansion in most all cases. Failing to plan ahead often results in higher costs and a reduction in production. Avoid this mistake by ensuring the solution is open to updates, upgrades, and the addition of custom features. Ask if the software tools being considered have the flexibility to handle other types of projects that may emerge in the future.
If reducing risk associated with purchasing the wrong project management software, then careful attention, planning, and forethought must go into choosing the right software solution for a company. That includes giving careful consideration not only to the company’s current needs, but also to future needs that can be anticipated due to growth.
Lastly, project managers and business professionals who invest time into seeking out the right project management software program should experience the best results. By seeing a more streamlined flow of information and processes that improves areas including the tracking of projects, billing, task assignment, and reporting.