The amount of money your business can save with great project management should never be underestimated. According to Harvard Business Review found that one in six business projects costs 200 percent of its budget and runs at least 70 percent longer than scheduled. Not only is this terrible news for your business’ financial future, the overwhelming amount of bad or nonexistent project management in America can have a detrimental effect on the economy. Still, a great project manager is only as good as the project management software they use. These days, tracking spending, reporting progress, and encouraging team communication can all be done with the click of a mouse. But you still need to find the right program. Here’s how to make sure it meets the right criteria.
1. It Fits Your Project Needs
Looking for project management software usually involves making a list of all the things you need it to do. Is your team entirely virtual? How much collaboration do you need? Are you assigning specific tasks or is everyone working together? Do you need to involve outside vendors? What are your invoicing needs? Some programs offer hundreds of features and you’ll have to weed through them to double check they have the ones that are relevant to your work. But don’t discount the extras. Your company can expand long-term, and some of the features you never expected to use may become indispensable one day.
2. It’s User-friendly
Project management is about organization, so your software should promote streamlines operations. It doesn’t matter how many features a program offers if you and your team can’t figure out how to use most of them. If you have to offer way too much training on software, it will cut into your schedule and make it less likely that people will be able to report information on time. On most programs, you should be able to customize navigation to make the layout of the software more accessible to team members. You should also be able to easily create templates when you need to start something new.
3. Support is Available
There are plenty of project management software designs created by a lone person trying to make money. You need to find a supportive community where you can expect prompt answers to your emails and where you have access to things like discussion boards and can ask other users for help and advice. If you plan to use your program for as long as possible, you will inevitably hit snags, glitches, or things you simply don’t know how to do. It says a lot about a software vendor when they’re willing to help put customers in contact with each other – many great designers still refuse to expand their support options.
4. Online Collaboration
With more companies using virtual workers, your program needs chat capabilities so you can easily communicate with your team. The whole point of having the internet is that you no longer have to drive to a meeting every time you want to catch up on progress, ask or answer questions, or deliver new information. You may also need a program that has email updates, where supervisors and stakeholders can be informed of project updates and current budgets through emailed logs. However you need to use online collaboration, your program should make it simple.
Most project management software options come with a free trial, so you’ll be able to tell if the program suits your needs before you purchase it. A project manager is there to save business money, and using the right software will make that job easy.
About the Author: Brett Harris is a blogger that writes about management and the education available to earn a degree in that area such as an online Masters in Project Management.