Thinking of getting a project management software? Be sure to evaluate your options carefully. It’s not something you can do randomly or whimsically. The software you choose can make or break the projects you work on, or even your entire business. Consider the following pointers as you decide on which software to get.
1. Task Management
Being the key feature of a project management software, it’s important to carefully scrutinize the task management function of the software you are considering. It should be intuitive or easy to figure out without being stingy on the features. It would be great to have the ability to do detailed employee scheduling and monitoring. Also, it would be preferable to have something that supports nick of time scheduling. A system that is largely visual would be great although not essential.
2. Document Management
Document management is another highly important feature that should be examined well. Storing, managing, and sharing documents pertaining to a project is a major part of project management. You need to make sure that the project management software you are getting has dependable and easy-to-use document management functions. Ascertain that it supports all popular file formats. Give preference to one that can provide a preview. Also, make sure that it supports quick file sharing. If the software you are considering does not have document management functions, look for something that supports the integration of third party document management software tools. Bear in mind that a project management platform that does not have document management features or support for document management add-ons is not worth choosing.
3. Ability to Integrate Other Business Software Tools
Certainly, a project management software is not going to be the only software tool you will be using in your business. Most likely, you will be using a different software to handle accounting or other functions. That’s why it would be great if the software you choose is designed to work with other business software. This integration makes it easier to share and process data, and automate the preparation of reports or data presentations. This takes away the hassle of having to input data to a different software. Who has time to copy data from a project management software to a separate accounting software? That’s totally counterproductive.
4. Collaboration and Communication
The ability to collaborate is very important in businesses centered on the planning and completion of projects. In the construction industry, for example, there’s the need for an efficient platform to work together with staff, engineers, architects, contractors, and others involved in a project. Fortunately, there are specialized construction project management software nowadays that come with a wide range of features including a collaboration facility or platform through which everyone can conveniently work together without having to worry about geographical and time barriers.
Transparency in project management infers ensuring accountability. There should be a way to check on the progress of the project or the different tasks in the project. Likewise, the use of the software (information access, addition of details, and editing/changes) should be made transparent. It would be great if the project management software you choose grants different levels of authority to different users in accessing information as well as in inputting details or introducing changes. The project management software you choose should enable transparency in regards to the progress of the project as well as to ensure that the software cannot be manipulated or used to mislead management, stakeholders, and clients.
6. Anywhere, Anytime Access
Ideally, your project management software should be accessible over the web through a client or through a browser-based interface. It would be a massive advantage being able to use your project management software from anywhere, anytime. Just imagine the convenience of being able to access your project management software tool through a mobile app or through a web browser. You can’t always be in the office or you can’t always carry a laptop with you so it will really be a great advantage choosing a software that supports anywhere, anytime access.
Customization here means two things: functional and aesthetic. For the functional customization, it would be great to have a project management software that supports the adding of custom fields or the modification of the interface or certain behaviors of the software. It would be a rarity finding a software that covers all aspects of your business operation so it would be advantageous having the option to implement changes on the interface or add custom fields. On the other hand, for the aesthetic aspect, it would be nice being able to add the company’s logo or photos on the interface of the project management software. This is not an essential feature but something companies and employees will mostly likely appreciate.
8. Flexibility and Scalability
Lastly, it’s important to choose a project management software that is flexible and scalable. The software should not be restricted to a specific type or setup of business. Similarly, it should support growth. It should not be intended only for handling companies with a specific number of employees and customers. It should be usable even as the company quickly progresses into a bigger operation or expands to new locations or product lines.
Consider scrutinizing the project management software you have shortlisted using the points discussed above. Strive to choose one that has most or all of the following attributes: good task/job and document management features, compatibility or the ability to integrate with other business software, platform for collaboration, anywhere-anytime access, flexibility, scalability, transparency, and customization.