5 Factors for Choosing the Right Project Management Solution
I think it is safe to say that project management software is no longer a luxury, but really a necessity in this day and age.
Go ahead and do a simple Google search for “examples of failed projects” and you’ll get over 3 million results. Or just think about your own projects for a minute… are they all meeting your expectations? I would wager that at least some of your projects are not performing the way you would like them to.
I don’t think anyone would question you for wanting to use software to get some control over those wayward projects. The key is to pick the right one!
Evaluating and selecting the best project portfolio management software for your organization is a challenge. In this blog post, we’ll identify five criteria that will help make your evaluation easier and more effective.
1. Range of Functionality
PPM software should fulfill your project management needs whatever they may be. Ask yourself three questions:
- What are your business needs?
- What is your team ready for right now?
- What project management processes do you aspire to adopt?
Make sure the solution you choose enables the functionality you need now, but will also evolve and mature with you over time. (How easy it is to get there is another question – which we will discuss in the configuration section).
Don’t just select the tool that has the most features, as you may not need all them for the situation at hand. If you give your team an overly complex tool, they will not use it. Or they will at least put up lots of resistance.
2. Ease of Deployment
The PPM software should be deployed seamlessly so you and your team can get to work managing projects and portfolios as quickly as possible. We have all heard the stories of great software, but after several years and tens of thousands of dollars later, there is nothing to show for it.
The right solution should enable you to realize benefits very quickly and iteratively improve – rather than trying to throw in every feature on day one.
Important aspects to evaluate deployment include platform dependencies, cloud/SaaS offering, ease of installation, ease of getting started, advanced deployment options, simple and complex deployment, availability of training, and user interface design criteria.
3. Ease of Configuration
Is the tool flexible to your specific business needs and processes, or does it try to force you into “their way” of managing projects? Your PPM solution should include the ability to start small and grow as your project management practices develop. Considerations should include covering multiple templates, configuration flexibility, reporting flexibility and online support.
4. Future Proof Investment
Organizations need to ensure that the product they buy has a great track record and a vision that indicates a future-proof investment for your company. This includes items like product maturity, product commitment, product composition, thought leadership, active release cycle, multiple languages, and analyst recognition.
5. Evaluation Support
How easy are the product and the company to work with during the evaluation cycle? You need to be working with a responsive vendor; a good test of this responsiveness comes during the evaluation period. PPM software needs to have support readily available with a rich support package to maximize your user experience and successful usage of the PPM software.
Also, look at the training once you’ve signed up. You can’t just deploy a new project management system and expect that people will know how to start using it. Training that is tailored to the roles of end-users and usage scenarios will certainly help your user adoption.
I’d say there are probably hundreds of possible project management solutions out there, so how do you choose the right one? Above I’ve identified a few key items to consider when evaluating PPM software.
At BrightWork we suggest a “Start, Evolve” approach to deploying project management. Start with the right amount of project management for your team; Evolve with experience, adding more project management processes as you go.
Find a tool that has the functionality your team is ready for right now and the flexibility to scale as your project management processes mature over time.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.