Project Management Software has moved from being an auxiliary tool to the mainstream of any organization’s operations in recent years. It is no longer looked upon as a choice rather a must-have for all businesses irrespective of their size.
Rightly so! Project and task management tools have proven their worth not only in terms of the ROI but also a lot many intangible strategic benefits:
- Enhanced collaboration
- Seamless communication
- Process automation
- Increase in productivity
- Offering better grasp over your projects
- Live view of your portfolio
- Reduced red-tape& administrative overheads
- Real-time monitoring & control
- Central platform for your teams (no matter how global or dispersed)
The list goes on but these are the most prominent ones.
And as you start adopting a project management tool that’s the right fit for your teams you see a steady rise in your resources getting more organized & better aligned to your strategic initiatives.
This is a must if you were to stay relevant in the market and ahead of your competition.
No wonder the project management industry is estimated at $6.7Bn value between now and 2026.
It is quite evident that organizations and CXOs understand the value of adopting project management methodologies, setting up a PMO and investing in project management software.
Let us take a quick look at which factors must be thoroughly considered while adopting the right project management software.
- Online (SaaS) Project Management or On-premise
Before you start diving into research mode, identify the right option for your company.
Do your company’s policies allow using the numerous online project collaboration tools available or are they stringent and more focused on having everything on-premise?
This is a decision that is dependent on multiple factors:
- Organization’s data privacy & security guidelines
- Industry the company operates in
- Nature of customers and their data privacy rules
- Technical skills available in-house or lack of it
- License model and cost
Having this decision early on will narrow your scope and make it easier to focus on what you can truly implement.
Case in point: if you do not have deep technical skills available in-house you are better off choosing an online project management solution as there are no infra costs and management overheads plus you are assured of steady support and updates.
- Features & Benefits
When you start making the first list of probable tools, start bucketing them in terms of the key features and benefits you are looking for.
“Having a deep understanding of your existing problems or requirements that weren’t met by your existing toolset is a must.”
Involve all the relevant teams and decision-makers to vet and agree on the feature requirements list. It will come in handy at the later stages of decision making and approvals. Mainly, less chaos in getting everyone’s buy-in.
Perform a thorough review of the chosen tools and do deep fit-gap analysis in terms of your requirements and the features that are directly available within the tools.
The guiding principle should be to prefer the ones that are closest to your requirements and need minimum tweaks.
A generic requirement list would include the following capabilities:
- Agile & waterfall methodologies
- Time tracking
- Resource management
- Executive reports & live dashboards
- User access and control (roles-based access control)
- Project budgeting and costing reports
- Integrations with your common apps
Once you are satisfied with the initial findings and fit-gap results, you have further narrowed your search and are ready to get your hands dirty!
- Ease of Use ( Hands-on Experience)
Start setting up free trials and guided demos with your list of project management software vendors.
Whether on-premise or online almost all of them offer free downloads and/or cloud trial for you to experience them on your own.
This is the stage where you get the key personnel across your departments involved in testing the options.
“Focus on how easy to follow and interactive is their UI and the overall user experience (UX). In simpler terms – “user navigation” and user flow to get the job done efficiently and quickly.”
Remember, if your first users do not get comfortable with a platform adoption will be more challenging.
The teams must be able to see some quick value. Try the features that are most critical to this initiative and how well they are met within the project management tool.
If you are able to showcase and establish a direct match in making their work easier with better results; your teams will see the quick value.
This also means the learning curve on the platform is minimal which makes it more useful to your wider audience. A major win and the right step forward!
- Training & Support
Training and Support model is an important criteria and shouldn’t be overlooked. This will come to haunt you for sure.
As you proceed closer to decision making, understand the support model offered by the vendor.
Note, the solution provider will immediately turn into an extended team and must act like one if you are to be successful with the project management software implementation.
“A PMI survey indicates less than 22% success rate with project management tool adoption. The reason vary but this one is definitely on the list.”
Test their support response times and quality of resolution during your evaluation process.
Also, look for the training material and help content available online along with
- Tutorials, videos
- User guides
- Helpdesks and forums
- SLAs offered
- Support cost
- Product Updates
One of the key support aspects to check if their support hours sufficiently cover your business hours.
- Data Security & Uptime
This is by far the most important aspect you must consider during your adoption journey.
You need to spend enough time and effort to understand the hosting setup if you choose an online project management tool.
Here are a few relevant questions:
- How the data transfer is done?
- How is the data stored and where?
- Who all will have access to your data?
- When was the last time they had an outage? How long did it last
- How long is their maintenance window?
- Are their updates and releases non-disruptive?
- What security measures have been taken at the application level?
- Seek a security report e.g. penetration testing or vulnerability scanning report
The answers would give you a fair idea of their security posture and how security conscious they are.
This will also generate greater confidence in the product when your IT and Security teams find the solution to be in accordance with your own security policies.
Attention to detail is the key to a successful project management solution adoption.
You will need to take into account factors both internal and external with equal zeal. You may find the best software possible but if the culture isn’t conducive you wouldn’t be able to meet your ROI.
We humans by nature are resistant to change and hence all anxiety or fear around the purpose and use of the project management tool must be well answered in as much detail and transparency possible.
On top of that, if the tool is spot on w.r.t your business requirements you hit the jackpot.
Hence, maintaining the momentum throughout the journey is key and when you are well-supported by both your management and the solution provider quick gains are assured.