Project Management Software – What You Should Consider

Project Management Software – What You Should Consider

Any organisation will at some point have to consider the use of project management software if they don’t already. Trying to manage a project using pen and paper can sometimes prove to be a challenge. Projects can also vary both in size and complexity. They can involve people working across different teams. The teams may not be in the same location. The project will involve the delivery of a piece of work by a specific end date. A project should have a clear set of goals that define what it does. Because of this, project management software can offer a clinical approach to managing a project. It can reduce the risk of problems arising that might lead to a project failing.

Not all project management software is alike. Deciding which tool to use should be objective. It should be about making sure that it is possible to deliver a project successfully. For project managers they need the tools that enable them to complete tasks on-time, teams have balanced workloads and effective time management of the project. Organisations thinking about which tools are best suited to meet their needs to manage a project should consider the following points:

What Is The Problem?

If an organisation decides to go ahead and use project management software, several questions need thinking about. The main one is about whether there is a need for project management software? Do project teams have a problem delivering a project on time and budget? The other questions to consider are:

1. Do projects miss tasks because emails are buried in team member inboxes?
2. Does poor communication between team members and managers hinder the success of a project?
3. Are deadlines unclear or missed due to poor communication and planning?
4. Is there a lack of proper control and accountability on a project? It could mean that tasks, or even the project, goes over budget or misses its end date?

When considering project management software, an organisation should know what areas are a problem and require work so that teams can deliver a successful project. Knowing what the issues are can help define what features to for look in project management software.

Planning

A key activity of any project is planning. Being able to map out a project from start to finish is a key feature of any project management software and an important consideration. For project managers, it gives them a clear picture of what needs to happen in a project. It also allows them to assign a task to the right team member. For project teams, using project management software should allow them to see quickly and clearly all the tasks in a project and how they come together. When deciding which project management software to use, several things will help inform the decision process. These include:

  • Whether it’s possible to create a detailed list of all the project tasks together with their description.
  • Being able to assign a task to a team member.
  • Able to estimate how long it will take to complete a task.
  • Show how tasks relate to others so that it is clear about the order they need to be taken in to ensure successful project delivery.

Together they can help the project team members see and understand what their involvement is with a project.

Keeping Track Of Changes – Version Control

Whatever the size of a project, it will generate a wide range of documents. With any project management software, something to consider is how important is being able to store and control changes to documents. Having the latest version of a document can avoid a variety of problems.

It is possible to control and track changes to a document using version control. It can make things a lot simpler when applied. While version control is easy to do, not all project teams make use of it. Even if a decision is made not to include the functionality in project management software, it is still achievable using other tools. Not having version control in place makes it harder to know whether a document is the latest version or not. Version control involves labelling the first version of a document as version 0.1. When it’s revised the version number becomes version 0.2 and so on as new changes are made. Once a document is complete, it becomes version 1.0. Any further changes, however, small would see the version number become version 1.1, version 1.2 and onwards. A new major change would see it renamed as version 2.0.

Storing Documents

Any project could result in a large number of documents. For project team members, having access to the latest documents is essential. Not having access to the latest project documents, can mean delays or mistakes made to a project. There are few reasons for not storing documents in one place. Having project documents in one location means that everyone working on the project can access the same version. The thing to remember is that when considering any project management tools, storing files should be done in a way that keeps them secure.

Collaboration

In any project, as well as storing documents centrally, being able to collaborate and share project-related material is also important. Doing so can prove valuable for all involved. It allows all those involved to contribute to the project. It reduces the risk of things being missed. As projects progress, all those involved can work together. Tools that support collaboration make it possible to consult widely with others so that everyone can provide his or her input. Team members are also able to keep up with project documents.

If an organisation needs to share and collaborate on project documents, it’s important to consider whether this functionality needs including in the project software. There are other options available that support collaboration. For example, collaboration tools are available as separate standalone features. The question that needs asking is “do such features improve the success of the project if they form part of the project management software?”

Conclusion

To summarise, project management software allows for a start to finish approach to managing projects. When considering the use of such tools, it is important to have a clear idea about what the software should be capable of delivering – the requirements. Also important is having an understanding of the project management process used by teams. Without clarity of these points, the result may be choosing project management software that does not work for the team.
If you need some tips on good tools check out this list of 45 from proofhub.

What tools do you use?
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