How to Choose Project Management Software (2023 Guide)
Project management software refers to various software solutions used to plan, organize, manage and control project resources.
The goal is to ensure the success of all relevant projects by providing that all aspects are considered, adequately planned, scheduled, and integrated into one cohesive whole.
The right project management tool will bring a host of benefits to your business, from increased productivity and speed to streamlined collaboration and better communication.
With that in mind, how do you choose the right software for your project management needs when there are so many options available?
This guide will discuss how to choose the right project management software for your business so that you are confident in the choice you end up making.
Let’s get right into it.
Understanding the trifecta of people, processes, and products is key to finding the right project management software.
These three elements are essential to creating successful projects, and having the right software will ensure that all three of these aspects are considered in your planning process.
Having project management specific to your team’s needs will ensure that you have all of the tools you need to execute a project effectively and efficiently.
While project management tools will have dependencies based on the level of complexity and customization that you need for your projects, these three elements remain at the core of any successful project.
Also, consider that while many project managers will throw various terms around (that might include Gantt charts, Kanban board, project scheduling, etc.), a seasoned manager understands how these 3Ps fit your project.
So, how do you choose the right project management software for your needs?
Let’s consider what a team needs.
The right project manager will ensure that the team has what it needs to succeed.
This means having the right tools, processes, and resources before starting a project.
It also means having a clear understanding of each team member’s role in the project.
This is where people management comes into play.
People management ensures that all team members are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the project.
It also includes setting expectations for each team member and providing feedback throughout the project.
The right project management software will make people management more accessible by providing clear visibility of all team members and their roles in the project.
The methodology used by a company will also affect the project management software provider chosen.
For example, if your team uses agile, it may be beneficial to choose a project management software that integrates with this framework and uses Agile project management tools.
While a project management solution that integrates your existing tools and processes is ideal, it’s not always necessary.
The level of complexity and customization that you need for your project management software will depend on the size and scope of your projects.
Ultimately, the tools you need will depend on your team’s needs and your company’s preferred project management methodology.
So, which is the right project management software for your needs?
It depends – but a critical factor in making that decision is understanding your team’s needs and the level of complexity needed for your projects.
Choosing project management software based on the features offered on paper (only) is a common mistake.
While it’s essential to consider the features of a project management solution, it’s more important to consider how your team will use those features.
Let’s look at various functionality aspects you can consider in this regard.
Giving stakeholders real-time access to project information and progress is crucial for successful project management.
It helps ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals, and it enables project managers to get a clear view of the entire project as things happen.
You can also consider project management tools with roadmap software built into them.
This will give you greater visibility into your project’s progress and help you stay on track while moving towards the next milestone.
Resource management software is also crucial for effective project management.
This includes tools that enable you to manage human resources, such as tracking time spent and managing bandwidth.
It could also include other resources, such as various equipment and software licenses.
These allow a company to streamline its project management processes by reducing the need to start from scratch when doing repeated processes.
They can also help reduce the complexity of a project and make it easier to manage.
Using the right project planning tool, templates and team collaboration are all more easily accessible when using the right templates available within the chosen project management software.
Messaging, teamwork and collaboration tools are essential for project managers as they allow team members to communicate with each other easily and share files quickly.
This is particularly important for distributed teams, as it helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
The right project management app will also offer tools for delivering project updates and notifications.
This helps team members stay in the loop with what is happening on a project without religiously opening up a ton of pages to get to the right data.
Having customizable features in your project management software is essential, as it will allow you to set up the software according to your team’s needs.
This can include customizable dashboards, workflows, and tailored templates for your specific projects and company processes.
A project management app that doesn’t offer these features is likely to be less effective than one that does.
The project dashboard should make it easy to see who is working on what and the status of each task.
It should also be easy to assign tasks and track progress.
The software you select should offer various user permissions that give you control over what each team member can see and do.
This means that specific tasks should only be visible to those working on them, and you should be able to give different permissions to different users depending on their role in the project.
The user interface’s ease of use and intuitiveness are essential in project management software.
Select a user-friendly interface that offers you good visibility, allowing you to see all the details at a glance and filter tasks by due date or priority.
An entire team should also be able to work from the same interface without using different tools.
In addition, considering the learning curve for the software is a great way to ensure that your team will be able to use it effectively.
Having a task list view that allows you to create tasks and subtasks is essential for effective planning.
It should allow you to assign due dates, set priorities, and add notes.
Creating recurring tasks is also a helpful feature, as it can help you automate some of your task management processes.
Both new project management software and the ones that have been in the market for a while come with various price tags.
There are also free solutions, but they often lack key features, such as tracking time and deliverables.
The number of team members, workflows, integrations, automation, and other factors discussed above will affect the pricing.
The best project management software will offer a free trial so that you can explore the features on offer and see if they are the right fit for your team before committing to a paid subscription.
A project management system comes with both pros and cons.
The following are some of the pros:
- Better decision-making: Complex projects require the input of many team members, and a centralized project management system allows everyone to see the big picture and make more informed decisions.
- Work management: Whether it’s giving approvals, delegating tasks, or tracking project progress, a project management system helps you keep track of work and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.
- All-in-one team collaboration: A project management system offers a suite of features for team collaboration, including chat, video conferencing, and file sharing.
On the other hand, these are some of the cons:
- A PM tool might bring friction to the team at first: Previous software solutions such as Excel spreadsheets, Trello, Asana, or any other solution might be seen as good enough for what’s being done – especially if this was the way the company did things for a long time.
- There is a learning curve: Understanding how project management software works will take some time. Even if minor, the whole team will have to go through a learning curve when adopting a new software.
All types of businesses, ranging from startups, small businesses, and large enterprises, can benefit from the right project management software.
Knowing which milestones to set and ensuring they are reached, what tasks are assigned to each team member, and how much progress has been made are all critical factors in ensuring the success of any project.
These are all critical areas in which your choice of project management software will make a big difference.
In addition, the right project management software helps improve communication and collaboration among team members.
Keep in mind that not every project management software platform is created equal, and since the needs of each business are different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Selecting project management software that is the right fit will have a great ROI both in the short and long term.
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Running a business in the best way possible involves using the latest tools and software solutions.
Project management software is one such tool but you can also consider tools such as business planning software and business intelligence tools to help you streamline your processes and make better decisions.