Choosing the right Project Management Tools in 2014 – The Do’s and Don’ts

Business-Tools-3Successful project management is critical for a business success.
It will be fair to say the right project management strategies drive
organizational success.  There is a realizationamong-st businesses
today that the key to controlling costs and improvingprojects
lies in adhering to an institutionalized project management process.

Although well-trained project managers are critical for
optimizing the use of designated resources for delivering
a successful project on time and within budget,
what is also critical is the choice of the right project management tools.

With businesses handling multiple projects at a time, it becomes difficult to control, monitor and analyze them and you can’t afford to take a misstep. The right project management software will allow you to manage time, resources, money, structure and flow of the various projects, so that they are completed and delivered and/or deployed/implemented as per expectations.

If you want to benefit from the use of a project management tool, it’s important that you’re able to pick the right one for your needs and requirements. This should be a mission critical objective because many businesses are limiting their growth by using outdating project management software. You shouldn’t be making this mistake, especially in 2014, wherein the competition will be tougher than last year and you also have plenty of advanced project management tools to choose from. So, it’s imperative you make the right choice.

The following do’s and don’ts will help make your task that much easier as you go about choosing the right project management software to manage complex projects.

Don’t – Ignore your Needs
What do you want the project management solution for? A simplistic answer will be to ‘manage a project’. But this answer doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the reasons why your organization needs a tool to manage its projects. If you don’t analyze your needs, you might end up with the wrong tool. There are different types of project management solutions available on the market catering to diverse needs. The first step towards choosing the right solutions is determining the kind of project management and/or collaboration you need.

Do – Ask the Right Questions
You can assess your needs by asking the right questions. So, questions like, whether you want a tool to manage your internal project or a tool that focuses on deeper collaboration with external vendors and clients? Do you want a tool that allows you to put more effort in project planning and due diligence? Or you want something that allows you to measure quantitative and qualitative project outcomes on a regular basis? Or you just want basic tools that help you assign tasks and deliverables to your team?

The answer to these questions will help you identify your needs and make an informed choice. Tools like WorkZone offer a comprehensive range of features and cover every organization need vis-à-vis project management, but it’s still important to know you’ve made the right decision. This is why making a need based choice is a must in 2014.

Don’t –  Choose a Complex Software
Some software offer a wealth of features, but their inherent complexity makes them difficult to use. The steep learning curve of such software means team members have to spend more time learning the ropes, which incidentally can lead to conceptual mistakes being made by the user. Something that has the potential to impact the quality of the project!

So,

Do – Choose software that is easy-to-use
Project management tools have improved over the years and if you search hard enough you will find a tool that is intuitive and perfectly aligned with the working methodology of your organization. This means there will be a degree of familiarity associated with the tool and the learning curve associated with implementing the tool and optimizing its use will be very short. There are also tools that allow you to customize the labels in the software to be in sync with your business; by renaming fields and categories you can make the software and its various features more understandable for the target users.  So, this year make ‘convenience’ an important parameter for choosing the right project management tool.

Don’t – Choose a Tool that doesn’t have Long Term Potential
The best project management tools available on the market do not have a shelf life, meaning their usefulness for your organizations stands the test of time. But then there are those whose useful life is limited at best because their system structure doesn’t allow them to meet the growing demands of a business.  It has a limited number of features and once your project management needs outgrow these features, you’ll need to look for a newer, better tool.

Do – Choose a scalable solution
The whole idea behind choosing a project management solution is that it needs to be used for addressing the growing needs of a business. An organization can start off with handling a project a week and move on to managing multiple projects in a day; the project management tool needs to be scalable enough to meet these requirements. So you must choose a solution that grows with your business and includes a collection of features that might not be used by your business today, but will definitely be useful in the future.

To put it simply, you must choose a future proofed project management solution that
helps you take care of your ever growing project management needs.

Wrapping it up
The focus of your selection procedure should be on making an informed decision.
Do not use a project management tool because everybody else is using it or people
are saying its good; use it because it will deliver value to your business at multiple levels.
There is no harm in taking expert advice, but also solicit inputs from the employees who will actually be using the software.
This will help you identify and satisfy the needs of your organization with a more robust and high performance solution.

About Author:
Dipti Parmar, a digital marketing wiz is associated with E2M Solutions.
She’s been journeying through the world of digital marketing for 6 years  and is a blogger and networker.
She’s also a movie buff and loves taking long walks by the seashore. She is @dipTparmar on Twitter.