Project management is like juggling three balls – time, cost and quality. – G. Reiss
For any project to be success it is very crucial to provide the project manager and the team with all the resources and support. No matter how admirable the work of the team working on any project is, a project management solution has always proven to be a boon for the entire organization. The solution does not only provide aid with respect to projects but with the varied project management tools and features, it ultimately improves the team collaboration and overall productivity of a company. For large companies, there is no question of not having project management solutions in place. It is as essential as any other software irrespective of the type of offerings and services the company provides and the niche it is inclined towards. In the hoard of staying ahead and growing at a flashingly fast rate, SME’s and small businesses are increasingly adopting this culture and implementing project management software to improve the quality and quantity of business.
Nonetheless not all project management softwares could help a company manage the entire team and work, a project management application with turnkey features much needed for your company would certainly be an investment which would generate a great ROI and increase profit by a significant margin. This implies that the software should be, Well… A solution that suits your business culture and not simply loaded with overly endorsed tools that wont make much sense to your business. Yes, it is right like any other software decision, choosing best project management tools will take time and efforts. Proper research and serious thought should be given to each available package. As I said, every business has its own requirements and thus no one software can fulfill all the requirements, obviously unless the software is tailor made for the company. Large company do go for management softwares made specially for their companies. This was considered to be a very good plan until past few years. However, Now with customization evolved so much, companies opt for light customization to meet requirements rather than completely custom made softwares. And, unlike the other very important business solutions, including CRM, ERP, BI, etc project management softwares selected following the same conscience. The software is selected and at times customized keeping in mind the requirements of the business. That means a thorough research is conducted through sessions, etc. to map the requirements and expectations of the company from the software. Depending on the requirements, after extensive research the software is selected and implemented. Easy said than done. The process is not as simple as it sounds and involves many stages and complications, in itself. But all this to implement a software that results in simplifying and uncomplicating the business, so all this is completely expedient. How so? Well, think of it as this, what if your project is sufficiently complex? It is not in the capacity of even the most experienced and learned person to tackle some situations without the help of an appropriate. Per contra, project management software provides the required tools and features that could easily tackle the problem.
Business profits significantly by cutting off costs at other places and through the increased efficiency. The project management applications must be capable of carrying out a wide variety of tasks, including storing and retrieving important information; analyzing and updating that information; and preparing presentations and reports that describe the information and results of the analyses. The requirements of every business might be different but the basic criterion for selecting the software remains the same.These points should certainly to bore in mind to base the selection of the software and accordingly the project management solution should be selected and customized to suite the business, the best. Before committing to a solution, the following points should be considered by any and all companies:
Decide what is best for your company
Generally project management solution comes in two forms, it could either be cloud based or it may be self hosted. It is very important to choose the best solution that suites your business process. Both of these solutions have their own advantages. SME’s and small companies generally adopt cloud based solutions and it is comparatively less expensive than self hosted. Cloud-based solutions will offer the most flexibility and the highest level of usability, if the it support in your company is non existent or limited. Companies that are capable of investing good amount of money and other resources to deployment and maintenance of the software have the option of choosing any one of the two. As far as the trait goes 80% of large companies and SME’s deployed self hosted project management systems in the last three years, but with a growing competition and evolving technology the trend seems to shifting with 40% companies having selected cloud based solutions over self hosted.
Set a budget
Money plays the hero while making any purchase decision. The expense of deploying project management solution can be any thing from $0 to well over $10,000. It makes it very important to set a preferable purchase price as well as a ceiling price. This budget should be kept in mind while making the final decision. Also it should be kept in mind that implementing the project manager software is not limited to only purchasing the software but there are other costs involved as well. Ongoing costs such as monthly or annual fees and maintenance costs should also be considered while selecting the software.
Prepare a Requirement List
The whole process of implementation is based on this. You are getting a project management solution in the first place to fulfill the requirements. “Requirements” gets all the spotlight through the whole process of selection and implementation. That means the needs of project managers and team members are most crucial to making the right purchasing decision. Gather the whole team around for a meeting to discuss current and expected obstacles that hinder the progression of projects and find out what each team member needs in order to address those issues. Along with highlighting the important and most required features and tools, it is very important to make a list of features that would hinder the work efficiency if present.
Prioritize your needs
This is where you decide what you want, when you want and how you want it. Not all the features not that requirement list would be required on a priority basis. So the next task is to prioritize the needs and figure out which of the features are most required and should be implemented in the very first phase later based on priorities, budget, time, support and other factors the less important features should be added. As these project management softwares are very expensive and require some resources like, it support, money, etc for maintenance and implementation, company’s generally tend to break the requirement list into 3 parts where the first part consists of the most important features needed on the urgent basis. These tools and features are very important and not having these features in the first phase of implementation will cost adversely to the company. In the second phase the less required features and tools are rolled out which improves the efficiency but without which the work never had to stop. Not having these features not does effect functioning but it is also very much true that these features help in increasing the efficiency and productivity of work. Later on, depending upon changes and new requirements other features can also be added.
Give a thought on the work load
You would not want to shell out a huge amount for a software with the capacity to handle workload of 50 when the maximum your company is ever going to need is 20. Also, you would not like going for a solution that will only allow a single project to be tracked when your organization needs multiple project to be tracked simultaneously. This factor thus should be considered while making the selection. Each solution typically places a limit on the number of active projects, so it’s important to find a product that can accommodate all of your projects.
Figure out the number of licenses that would be needed
Project management softwares being enterprise softwares requires license. Though license might not be required for all the project management applications, some software manufacturers offer different packages based upon the number of licenses required. It is advisable to get an estimate of the number of users that would be making use of the software to get license. A common mistake that many companies make when determining this figure is to assume that project members will be able to effectively share the same login ids with one another. It might save some bucks but cut backs on efficiency. For maximum efficiency and productivity, each team member should have their own set of licenses for using the project management tools.
Check for the maximum storage space that would be required
Check for the required space. Go ahead tag it as a shibboleth, Say its old school and not useful. You would contradict this point by saying you could never know when you might end up getting a huge project o more work so more the storage merrier it is. I agree with what you say, but rather than going with an assumption or rather I should say, long sought ambition, why dont just get what you are sure of and what you need. Anyways there is always an option to add storage. However, Every running and archived project, licensed user, communication, and uploaded document will take up server space. To ensure that the chosen solution is able to accommodate your needs as projects grow, select a package that offers more space than you feel you need.
It is very important ensure that the functions and features of the solutions are compatible with your system. This includes checking browser compatibility, OS compatibility, server compatibility, etc.
Advanced Reporting would already be there on your requirement list. It is there on every requirement list for project management solution. Most solutions come with advanced reporting features as it is very very important feature.
Though some solutions provide this features and require you to add it while in the customization phase. As project managers need to compile regular progress reports on budgetary and performance data in a variety of formats. Select a solution that makes this easier by providing you with a number of templates and report types to choose from.
Third Party Integration
It is advisable to consider third party integration as the project management softwares solution might be required to be synced with other applications like erp, scheduling software, budgeting software, etc. This process of automation gets simplified through integration thus helping your business leverage the software to the best.
Get customized dashboards
Customization puts down all the powers in your hands. It not only allows the software to meet your requirements but get you results to match your understanding and thus produce better results bringing out the best in you. Every team member needs instant access to the project data that is most relevant to them. HR information might not be of any use to you and might be required instantly by your team mate, so it is advisable to have customized dashboards to that you get the data that is needed by you and can hide hide the irrelevant information. Choose a solution that allows for the creation of individual and shared dashboards.
Take implementation time into consideration
Just like the needs that are different for different businesses, the resources required for the implementation differs from software to software. The money, time and efforts invested in the deployment of a solution is not same for all project management softwares. Some solutions might require long time for deployment. Choose a solution that can be deployed on time for your next project without maxing out your available resources.
Try it before implementing
Pity the leader who hasn’t picked up on the power of “try before you buy”. There is a huge amount of money, time and efforts involved in the implementation. You can not keep the efficiency of the purchase on line with all these resources involved for the implementation. The reason you are reading this is because you want the implementation to go as smooth as it can.And you wan the implementation to be smooth because you want the performance of this software to be outstandingly amazing. It is very much advisable to leverage any demonstration mad available to you be it, video or live demonstrations of the software. Infact some providers go a step further by giving the project manager and a select number of team members access to the full package for a limited time. This demonstration is what gives you the idea of how the software will help you if you implement it for your business , so never commit to a solution until you’ve tried it or seen it in action.
I believe this list would help you in selecting the best project management software solution for your company. For any queries or feedback, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.