Often people think that selecting online project management software for large organizations is much simpler than selecting them for small to mid-size businesses because larger organizations have deeper pockets.
That is a complete myth. The truth is that it can be more difficult due to numerous reporting requirements, tax implications and many other operational complexities. Regardless of the size or complexity of your business, here are some tips that your business can use to evaluate and select the right online project management software that best suit your project needs.
Tip 1: First, analyze your broader business goals and needs.
Start at the foundations of your business and identify key drivers and factors that might be impacted by or have an impact on the type of online project management software that are being considered. Jumping to a solution without doing your homework can negatively impact your projects and your business as a whole. This step can save your organization a considerable amount of time, money, stress, and unnecessary work down the road. Throughout this step make sure to analyze and factor in at least the following:
- business, portfolio, program, and project objectives
- business strengths and weaknesses
- culture and behavior
- organizational capabilities and agility
- available resources (inc. funding)
- available talent
- available support
Tip 2: Identify portfolio, program, and project strengths and weaknesses.
This helps you assess your true needs. There are a ton of online project management software; not all of them will address your specific needs. You simply cannot fix a problem if you haven’t fully determined that it is a problem. Sometimes there may not be a problem, but rather an opportunity of which your business wants to take advantage. Either way, you need to conduct a full review of strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (a SWOT analysis).
Tip 3: Leverage resources like Capterra and Software Advice for software reviews.
This can help you narrow down possibilities and read reviews or experiences from other businesses like yours. Factor in your industry, size, and complexity. This, of course, should not be your only criteria in short-listing online project management software but it does provide a useful ‘real world implementation’ counterpoint. Contact other companies to get their thoughts on each software and vendor.
Tip 4: Solicit more information and quotes from vendors.
Make sure you communicate clearly what your business and project needs are and avoid getting excited about features that do not meet your needs. Focus on your ‘needs’ before your ‘wants’. Don’t’ get distracted by the latest ‘cool must have feature’. It makes no sense to pay for a multitude of nice-to-have features but miss out on key functionality.
Tip 5: Make sure vendors are able to sufficiently support their software and your needs.
Selecting and implementing online project management software is only the beginning. Before you select a vendor solution, get everything in writing from a support perspective. Support can often become a point of immense pain if expectations are not set out in writing and in a contract. Customer service and support play a large role in overall product satisfaction and in long-run productivity.
Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.