There are plenty of project management tools out there today, but while this gives businesses lots of choice, it also means that it can be harder to decide between the available platforms.
Rather than spending endless hours on fruitless research, here are some tips that should let you narrow down the field and find the most suitable project management tool for your requirements.
Getting clear about what you need the tool to do
Before you check out what specific tools have to offer, you need to first set out the things you want to achieve using it.
For example, your primary need for project management organization tools might be to do with scheduling. Perhaps you find that delays are commonplace and deadlines often slip by unmet, in which case this could be a priority when comparing solutions.
Alternatively, collaboration might be your most important must-have, based on finding your team’s efforts thwarted by an inability to operate collectively at the moment. This is all the more important now that remote working is more common.
Whatever you might want a tool to do, jotting down these appealing assets and ranking them based on your unique needs will give you a way to benchmark the software you encounter.
The feature set of a project management tool must be robust, but even if it ticks all the boxes in terms of your requirements, this won’t be advantageous if it is unintuitive or generally not user-friendly.
That is not to say that a bit of complexity is a bad thing, but on the other hand if every team member needs extensive training to even get a handle on the basics, it might be a bit of a red flag.
A logically laid out interface, along with unambiguous additional components and easy-to-understand functions, is not too much to ask in the modern project management software market. So don’t settle for a platform which places unnecessary barriers between you and the things it has to offer.
As mentioned earlier, some project management tools focus on doing some things very well, while others are more broad-ranging in their abilities. This is where scalability also comes into play, as the size of your team and the nature of the projects you steward could influence your choice quite a lot.
For smaller teams with narrower goals and needs, a simpler solution might fit the bill, even if it doesn’t have all of the same bells and whistles as the competition.
Of course if you are expecting to undergo serious growth, and will need to add more team members and third party users to the project management ecosystem over time, you might prefer a service that can scale and encompass these changing circumstances.
Delving into data sharing
Data is the lifeblood of modern business projects, and so you don’t just want a management tool which helps with the scheduling; it must also ensure that team members are able to share the files they need to fulfill their specific responsibilities.
This comes back to the collaboration aspect, but also has to factor in convenience as well as security, especially in the case that you are working alongside third parties to bring a project to life. Being able to distribute data internally and externally, without compromising the safety of mission-critical systems, should be part and parcel of any tool you select.
Relishing report generation
As well as optimizing project management in real time, a good tool should be able to give you an overview of the key metrics defining completed projects so that you can work out where you did well, where you fell short, and where there is room for improvement.
This can include things like performance monitoring for individual team members, as well as covering aspects like budget allocation, resource use and much more besides.
If a tool can generate custom reports that allow you to make data-driven decisions going forward, it will be a powerful ally.
Finally, communication is an essential aspect of effective project management, and so tools should include cohesive features for users to chat, share their thoughts, make suggestions and wrangle conversations in whatever way they see fit.
Better still, if a tool is able to integrate with the other communication solutions you are already using, whether that might be email, instant messaging or anything else, then it will lend itself well to streamlined project management, and deliver better outcomes as a result.