How to Choose a Project Management Software: A Complete Guide

2022-10-20 17:46:11
Anna McKenzie
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Summary : This article will take you through simple ways to evaluate different options and help you narrow down the management software that allows your project to run as smoothly as a well-oiled machine!

Image Source: WPERP

If you or your team have spent long days and sleepless nights struggling to get a project off the ground, you are not alone! Keeping track of multiple moving parts while ensuring that you achieve your goals within the desired timeframe is hard work. That’s why efficient project management software is one of the most vital tools you can use in your business.


77% of high-performing projects use project management software (PMS). Hence, it's not surprising that the online PMS market is expected to grow by 12% in the next four years.


Project management software allows you to manage the steps or tasks that take a project from its inception to its final delivery as you collaborate with your team or stakeholders. Project controls can make or break the success of a project in the long term. Mastering project controls involves leveraging specialized tools and skills to deal with the ever-changing requirements of an ongoing project to achieve the desired results. You need to set the goals for your project and use the available resources to initiate and monitor the project lifecycle. Collecting and analyzing data can also help you predict and prepare for road bumps along the way.


Amongst all the available apps for small business owners, those developed as project management tools can help you dramatically improve operations and boost your team’s productivity. The key is finding the right software to fit your business needs.

This article will take you through simple ways to evaluate different options and help you narrow down the management software that allows your project to run as smoothly as a well-oiled machine!


Here are four things to consider when choosing a project management software.

1. Does It Give You an Accurate Estimate of Various Timelines?

When you lose track of your timelines, you can expect significant delays in your project, which is why a project management tool can help you plan realistic timeframes for your deliverables.

Ask the team members working on the tasks about the time they will take to complete them before you commit to a timeline. Ensure you leave a little wiggle room for any unexpected situations.

You should be able to use the project dashboard to assess the work given to each team member, along with their expected timelines. This can help you distribute tasks efficiently and equitably without overlap.

Look for features in the project management software that enable:

● Scheduling and assigning tasks.

● Setting milestones, task durations, and deadlines.

● Easy visualization of various stages in your project with online Gantt charts.

● Roadmaps for long-term projects.

● Time tracking, which monitors the time employees take to complete their tasks.

2. Is the Interface User-Friendly?

Evaluate how long new team members take to get familiar and proficient with the project management solution. If it's too complex, it could be causing more harm than good. Businesses cannot afford to spend time and resources learning how to use complicated software.

3. Does the Software Allow Team Members to Collaborate Easily?

At its core, project management software provides a medium for collaboration amongst team members assigned to a project. So, looking for features that facilitate smooth communication when evaluating a potential solution is essential.

For example:

● Can you leave comments on tasks and tag team members to draw their attention to that part of the project?

● Can you integrate the software with your team's other communication platforms?

● Is the software cloud-based, enabling you to stay updated with the project whether you’re working from home or on-site?

● Does the software have a mobile app version that enables you to work on the go using your phone or tablet?

4. Does It Offer High-Level Tools That Help Leaders Optimize Business Operations?

In addition to the basic set of tools that help team members complete their daily tasks and manage specific projects, the best software also offers Enterprise Project Management (EPM).

EPM solutions can facilitate strategic planning, model different scenarios, and help prioritize investments so owners or leaders can improve how they manage their businesses.

Now that you know what to look for in a project management software, how do you narrow them down to the perfect choice from the variety of solutions available?

5 Steps to Help You Choose The Best PMS For Your Business

1. Identify Your Pain Points

Start by looking at your processes when tackling a project from beginning to end, and identify the bottlenecks where issues arise or when delays seem familiar. Then, look for project management software solutions that alleviate those pain points.

2. Make a List of the Best Options

There are so many software options for project management, and it can get overwhelming when you have to choose just one. Make the process easier by listing the best options suited to your requirements.

3. Test Each Solution

Use each app on your list for dummy or real projects to get a first-hand experience of the process. Assign tasks to your team members to check whether they are comfortable working with the program. Remember to check the dashboard view on mobile and desktop, and review how easy it is to report bugs or receive solutions from the providers.

4. Ask for Feedback

Get regular feedback from your team for each process flow stage as you complete a project on the software. There are several ways to collect feedback. You can interview team members one-on-one or do a walkthrough of the software as a team. A Google form or simple survey can provide you with written feedback if you need to support your decision. Aside from technical questions, don’t forget to ask your team how they felt while using the software. For example, were they calm, collected, and confident about their tasks, or were they confused and anxious? Use the feedback to compare and contrast the different features available in each software to choose the one that suits your needs.

5. Weigh the Costs Versus the Benefits

When evaluating payment options for the software, ask yourself and your team if the limited versions of the software are sufficient for your needs. If not, you may need to splurge on the premium versions to get the best use of the software. Since investing in project management software makes the management process easier and more efficient, it should pay for itself over time.

Conclusion

Weighing the costs and benefits of project management software can seem incredibly difficult because many have overlapping features and are competitively priced. While you can schedule a walkthrough demo with the product’s sales team, downloading the freemium software version can make it easier to check how it works when applied to real projects.

Image Source: ZenTao

As a small business owner, if you are unsure about jumping in with both feet and investing in expensive software, try the free versions over brief periods. For example, there is a free, open-source version of ZenTao Project Management Software, and other upgraded versions are available with a 3-month free trial period. Then, if it doesn't work for you or your team, you can export your data and try another one without incurring significant losses. However, following the steps detailed in this guide can help you easily choose the project management software that makes you work faster and smarter!

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