Proper project management is necessary in order to cultivate a level of predictability and accountability among team members working together on a project. It helps you work together to automate and seamlessly execute your plans. Often, teams have an employee devoted to this process. But for others, they rely on software to either handle it entirely or to fill in the gaps.
There are a myriad of project management tools to help streamline your business, but how do you know which tool is the right one for your team? Ask your team these four questions as a checklist to ensure you select the proper tool for the job and purchase the right project management software for your team.
1. What’s Our Budget?
Before you decide anything else, it’s important to fully understand your organization’s financial limitations. When comparing your options, it might be easy to rule out certain kinds of software based on price.
In general, web-based subscription tools provide the most flexibility for businesses. You pay in installments, and if you’re unhappy with the service, you can cancel. In addition to lowering the upfront cost of the tool, it also decreases the amount of risk involved.
Additional bonus: If the tool helps to make your team more productive (and it should), your business will grow, so you might need to add new employees/users to the software. This is simple to do with web-based software. It’s a flexible solution that can potentially evolve as your organization’s needs evolve.
2. How Does Our Team Communicate?
Different types of software help you manage different areas of your projects. Some handle multiple areas, and some don’t. Do you want to integrate email, live chat, and spreadsheets all into one area? Are you looking for a cloud/storage device for all your shared projects? Some project management tools simply work as virtual shared to-do lists. Some work as full-scale communication engines. Understanding how your team communicates will help you understand what type of management you need, which in turn, will help you with the following question…
3. What Are Our Company’s Wants and Needs?
It’s a very broad, but very important question – what do you absolutely need your software to do? You may find you have a tough time answering this question, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with product management tools. Consider it this way: What are your company’s current pain points that led you to seek management help in the first place? Ideally, the solution you choose will simplify or solve each of these problem areas.
Don’t forget to prioritize, whether it’s a matter of ranking different features or creating lists of pros and cons. Some of your team’s needs will significantly outweigh others, and some features offered by software aren’t actually necessary for your team at all. Take all of these factors into consideration. It may not make your decision easier, but it will help you ensure you find the absolute best fit.
4. What Level of Support Will We Need to Onboard the Software?
Perhaps you work for a very tech-savvy team and you suspect everyone will seamlessly integration the software into their projects. If this is you, congratulations! You can skip this question, as your team will likely need very little technical support when onboarding the software. Just about anything offered will be plenty.
If you work with a team of technical experts and novices alike, however, you need to consider how easy or difficult training your staff will be. Explore what support levels the tool provides. Is all support done via email? Do they have a customer support number? If so, what are its hours? Is live chat an option?
Finally, take the time to sign up for free trials of the different systems you are considering and test what works best for your particular group.
Once you find the best tool for your team and get it up and running, the benefits are innumerable. There will be fewer mistakes and greater efficiency using software – you’ll be doing better work more effectively. With your PM tool as a virtual roadmap, your team will be better equipped to anticipate problems and find the best ways to work smarter (not harder) on any given project.
And this simple fact leads to dozens of other benefits. With the better output, your customer satisfaction will improve, strengthening your customer relationships. The increased quality and quantity of work will help your team develop their skills more quickly, giving you a competitive edge. Implementing the proper project management tool can truly transform your business by narrowing your focus and setting you on the path to reaching – surpassing even – your goals.