Why are project management tools important?
Project management tools can take your business to the next level. Finding the right tools for your project can mean the difference between smooth and chaotic communications. It can keep your budget in control and help with planning. Furthermore, the right project management tool will strengthen your team’s workflow, allow you to monitor your progress, and allocate resources.
Considering the advantages and service that project management tools offer, your business can truly transform its day to day tasks. These tools can optimize your day, teamwork, and communications. It can enhance your team’s productivity and enable your business to deliver quality work in more time effective methods, which eventually leads to more profit. And who doesn’t love more profit? Invest in a good system and the system will pay you back over and over. So the big Q on everyone’s mind is, how in the world do you choose the BEST software for a team? We’re so glad you asked…
How to choose the right project management software the first time and avoid switching after you’ve onboarded your team:
1. Understand what your team needs out of a project management tool
Before you start your search for the perfect project management tool, take the time to make a list of what you are actually looking to accomplish with a tool. What matters most to your team? Here are some features your team should consider:
- Collaboration – How does your team prefer to communicate and work collaboratively? Maybe video conferencing is a key feature your team needs to be successful. Consider what features would help your team collaborate more effectively.
- Dashboards – Most project management tools have the ability to view your team’s workload. Consider what sort of dashboard views would be the most helpful for your team. Does customization fit your team’s needs the best, or maybe your team needs pre-built templates more.
- Document sharing – Successfully completing projects will require you to share documents. What type of storage space does your team need? Do you require specific needs for document sharing and collaboration?
Taking all of these factors into consideration along with any other must-have features will leave you with your team’s “wishlist.” Make sure that your team can provide feedback on the wishlist. Gathering their thoughts on what is most needed for success will ensure no role or department misses out on having a tool that works for them.
2. Research options that could fit your needs
Once you have your wishlist of needs then you can begin your epic search for that perfect unicorn tool. You may want to put together a task force on your team to create a shortlist of tools that fit your needs. You will want to include team members from multiple departments to have the most holistic approach to research and test. Remember to use your wishlist when conducting your search to make sure the tools you select have the features you need to be successful. Set a deadline for your task force to return with a list of project management tools and software. On the day of the deadline, your task force should meet to compare the tools on each person’s list. During this meeting your team can compare and contrast their findings to compile one master list of tools. You may want to set a target number of tools for the master list, and the number you choose will be dependent on how much time you have to test each tool out. If you only have about a month, then you will want to keep your list short at about 2-3 tools. If you have several months, then you can play around with more tools and include up to 5-6 on your master list.
3. Test them out
Now that you have your master list of tools you can start the fun part: testing them out! You will want to set up a calendar for your task force to test out each tool. Make sure you give your team enough time on each tool to really understand the full capabilities. It is also important to schedule a demo so that your team doesn’t have to spend as much time adjusting to the learning curve of each new tool. Have your team take notes as they test out each tool. It will be important to note which tools fit the original wishlist of needs, and which tools fall flat. Your task force should also take note of the user interface and costs associated with each tool.
4. Evaluate costs and create buy-in
Evaluate the cost options and what fits best:
- After your task force has tested out each tool on your master list, you will want to set up a focus group meeting. During this meeting you should go through the wishlist of needs your team came up with during the first step, and take qualitative notes about each person’s experience with the desired features.
- Next, take all of these notes and rank the tools on your master list.
- Once you have the tools ranked, look at the cost of each tool and consider your budget.
- Finally, develop a strategy to create executive buy-in.
Choose your system and create executive buy-in:
- Present your research - Showing your commitment to researching each tool thoughtfully will help your case in adopting a new project management tool. Having research to back up your ranking will also give you an edge to speak on the tool’s capabilities.
- Recruit your task force - Have your task force share their thoughts on the various project management tools they researched. Including multiple perspectives will add weight to your proposal for a new tool.
- Demonstrate the tool - There is no better way to create buy-in than by showing how the tool will save time and create efficiencies.
5. Onboard and analyze in retrospect
The last step in choosing the right project management tool is to dive in and actually implement it across the board! Review the change it has created within your organization after a week, then a month, and onwards. We recommend that you schedule a time for your team to analyze the strengths and weaknesses you’ve found within the tool once your organization has been using the tool for around 6 months.