What to look for in Project Management software

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What to look for in Project Management software

Project management has become a fundamental way for organisations to optimise processes, and ensure there is a seamless way of working throughout the company. As any process or structure evolves, it is worthwhile to think of what fits and does not fit. There are three major aspects to consider before adopting any piece of software:

  1. Is it needed:- Project management software is one of the most helpful tools that can assist project managers. However it is always needed, take for example collaboration software and configuration management software, which are all good, but do we invest more time in managing these pieces of software rather than doing the actual collaboration itself?
  2. Is it software before process:- How many times have you heard, the software will help us work better together. While an accurate statement in some ways, it is not the process and the way of working is the center of how we work together. Then placing the software on top of the process is what allows inefficiencies. So, shouldn’t it be process before software?
  3. Is there a culture of use:- I know this may sound odd, but some clients I work with do not have a culture of ‘software usage’! What I mean by this is that it is not the software, it is not the practicality of it, but it is the case of where it adds another layer of complexity based on the culture. Most of these organisations are client facing and very focused on engagement practices.

So here are some of the things that we would seek from project management software:

  1. Ability to collaborate with team members in real-time. Project management software commonly offers communication tools that can assist teams in discussing issues in real time. The benefit is that each team member can be kept up to date, quickly dealing with issues as they arise.
  2. Focus on document sharing. For projects that require the use of significant documentation, document sharing tools allow individuals to edit, update the status of reports and create systems that allow for transparency and communication.
  3. Ability to manage risks, forecasting, and budgets. Knowing and logging project risks, creating forecasts and tracking budgets are some of the biggest advantages of project management software.
  4. Ease of use of reporting capabilities. With flexible report formats and the ability to quickly access needed data, project management software can keep tasks on schedule.
  5. Intuitive to use. Lastly but most important dashboard-based software requires little training to implement. Simple to use and easy to install, new project management software allows for quick ramp-up times.

Also when deploying / using software, here are some of the things that I have seen that minimise the use of the application:

  1. Some programs can be very costly without return. Solutions need to be custom designed or solved by purchasing multiple software programs. These can be costly options and can be difficult to implement.
  2. Project management software may complicate simple projects. When project management software is used inappropriately it can unnecessarily complicate matters.
  3. Execution issues that removes face-to-face communication. While software is useful, a problem develops when more time is spent on setting up and using the software than engage with people.

Before purchasing a particular software package, it is critical to know exactly what is needed and why.

Submitted by our expert Project Management Tutor, Liam Dillon
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Liam Dillon - Project Management Tutor

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