What to Look For in Project Management Software
Every organization handles its project workflows differently, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to manage those projects and ensure that the work is done correctly and on time. If you’re considering new project management software, here’s what you should be looking out for.
Before you start comparing specific features, take the time to think about what problems you’re trying to solve. These might include:
- Poor communication between departments or team members
- Lack of organization leading to missed deadlines
- Uneven workload between team members or inconsistent workload over time
- Overflowing email inboxes
- Too many meetings without a clear purpose
Ask your employees, “what are the biggest factors that are preventing you from doing your job?” This will help you diagnose the most significant problems with your workflow and processes so you know what to look for.
Project Management Software Must-Haves
Regardless of the way you organize your projects, there are a few crucial features that you’ll need from any project management software:
- Cloud-based software: it’s imperative that you can access your software from anywhere, even if the power or internet is out in your office. Cloud-based options also sync automatically across machines, helping everyone stay on the same page.
- Flexibility: it’s unlikely that every project will be structured in the same way, and you need software that can arrange your workflows in any way you like. Your team will also have different preferences for how they look at their tasks, so flexibility in the dashboard is key.
- Scalability: how will this tool respond when you go from a dozen employees to 50? From five clients to 25? Are there limits on the number of logins, users, or accounts it can handle? Consider how the software will grow as your organization does.
- Reporting: you need to know if your team members are overworked, whether you should be charging your clients more, or whether you need to hire additional staff. Reporting can give you a detailed breakdown of your workflows to ensure that you can see the whole picture.
- Browser compatibility: Believe it or not, Internet Explorer still accounts for 1% of web traffic — and at some organizations with outdated technology, it’s higher. Consider which browsers your team and your clients are using, and plan accordingly.
- Unified management: the closer your project management software can be to a one-stop shop, the better. Look for a product that can handle projects, client feedback, time tracking, business development, assets, budgets, and more.
- Simplification: the whole idea of using project management software is to simplify your life, helping your employees spend less time managing projects and actually doing them. If the software takes forever to learn or is unintuitive, people will go back to sticky notes.
Most project management software comes with a free demonstration — if it doesn’t, you can ask their sales staff to set one up for you and show you how one of your specific projects would be structured in their format. If you can, pick a discrete project and have a pilot team work through it in the new software to iron out any difficulties they might have.
Test customer service, too. The transition between one project management tool and another is always tricky and can result in serious speed bumps for your organization, so you need to know that help will be forthcoming if you need it.
As you start to roll out the new tool, ask your team what they need from it. They might have specific questions like “how does the time tracking software work” or broader requests like “can we set it to sync with Google Calendar,” and you’ll need to learn the answers yourself or pass them on to customer service.
Talk to Madison Taylor Technology
Choosing project management software isn’t easy — there are dozens of options, each with its own pros and cons, and it can be difficult to decide which one will fit your company best. Madison Taylor Technology can help. We’re a full-service technology consultancy that will examine every aspect of your organization’s technology needs to suggest and implement the tools that are right for your business and your goals. Get in touch today!
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