Project management software can be used to achieve various business objectives. Long-used in construction, engineering and information technology, it is now popular among numerous business environments. When it comes to choosing the right software for your business needs, there is no one-size-fits-all suggestion. Individual factors, such as the number of people using the software and what exactly you need it for, will inform the best purchasing decision. Here are some important points to consider when choosing the best program for your needs.
This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked. People do not think deeply enough about their software needs and end up choosing a product for the wrong reasons. Before choosing your project management software, perform a thorough analysis of exactly what you need from this software. Do you need to assign deliverables and tasks? Or are you just looking for a shared space where team members can collaborate? Will projects be strictly internal or will you be collaborating with vendors and clients? Do you need to produce invoices and craft budgets?
Web-Based or Standard Software?
One of the first things you will need to determine is whether you would like a web based project management software program or a standard program that is installed on individual computers. If you are working on projects where remotely located collaborators may not be able to access the internet regularly, the latter is probably a good choice. In most scenarios, however, many experts recommend programs accessed through a web-browser. Typically, this is a less expensive option than purchasing and maintaining a program on your own—you can either pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. As you add or remove users, you can simply adjust your plan.
You want to choose software that easily provides a snap shot of everything that is happening; information is accessible to everyone (with the exception of anything confidential). If a client calls on the fly for a progress report, you do not want to have to worry about not being able to update them quickly because a key member of the team is out and cannot provide information on his component of the project.
Ease of Collaboration
In most instances, you will have multiple people working on a project at any given time. Everyone has their part to play and you want to choose software that keeps everyone in the loop as to what the rest of the team is doing. Good software will maximize collaboration and make it a smooth, simple process. As soon as someone enters a new estimate, notes from a client conversation or any other important piece of data, everyone else will be notified. There is no mystery as to what anyone else is doing.
Ease of Use
When choosing the best project management software, you need to take ease of use into mind. While some degree of training may be necessary no matter what program you choose, you should not pick software that is overly complicated and beyond the scope of the average team members. Opt for an intuitive interface. Do not get carried away with advanced features if you really do not think you would need them at this juncture.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various technology and software topics.