Project Management on SharePoint: Build vs. Buy
A common conversation that we frequently have with executives and management at companies of all sizes and industries involves the decision to “in-house” develop project portfolio management systems or buy out-of-the-box.
As a matter of fact, I heard one today where a colleague was on the phone with an IT Director discussing where they have been, where they are and ultimately where they want and need to be in terms of managing their projects. He has been at the company for ten years and from the beginning recognized that improving project visibility and collaboration in a centralized system would improve their success.
Their IT staff is relatively small, so assigning internal resources to develop a system outside of the core business was not feasible, but they did hire a consulting company a few years ago to develop and maintain their current project management system.
Fast forward to today. The cost to maintain has been overwhelming; they have frequent “blackouts” due to updates and “it really was not as intuitive as we had envisioned.” He mentioned that he was planning a blog post on this very subject and before I could complete the title he interrupted “BUY!”
The timeliness of this conversation could not have been better because I had a fresh example of this debate, and again, this was very similar to others. Companies have very talented and eager resources to develop systems in-house and are frequently successful because it is aligned closely to their business and project management requirements. The issues and headaches usually happen in the maintenance of these systems and soon overwhelm the IT team.
My suggestion to companies is to take a long look at purchasing project management software and all of the options available.
Consider the following:
- Configurability of the software? Is it flexible to your specific business needs and processes or does it try to force you into “their way” of managing projects?
- How long will deployment take? I have heard the stories of great software prices but six months to a year later and tens (hundreds) of thousands of dollars later, no project management.
- Is it easy to use? This can mean many different things to many different people but if the software “looks” and “feels” like software already deployed, it will increase adoption.
While there isn’t one correct answer for all companies, be sure to consider all scenarios and options when choosing how to manage your projects.
This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for freshness, comprehensiveness, and accuracy.