You were recently asked to lead a new project. You want to make a great impression, but the scope of the project is huge. After gathering all the information about and putting the team together, your boss suggests that you find some project management software to help you keep everything organized.
But as soon as you start looking at the options, you realize that choosing the best project management software may be as difficult as managing the project itself. There are tons of options. Which features do you need? Which tools will be the easiest to use?
Not all projects are the same. For example, web application projects are different than manufacturing automation projects because of their resources, working team, stakeholders and implementation processes. Are there software options out there that are specific to your domain? What are their unique features?
Different domains also lean towards different project management methodologies. One situation might be better suited for agile, while others are best for lean, waterfall, or critical chain.
Will you be the only person using the tool, or will your whole team need to see everything? Do you want everyone to have the same level of access, or do you want to restrict data based on the decision-making level?
Issues like accessibility and report sharing become very important when you are selecting the best project management software. One that is too simple might not fit your needs, while highly complex tools might be too hard for others to use or understand.
Do you have current software that you are using to manage the project? Or are you just using email and spreadsheets?
Think about the limitations that you currently face. If you are using a simple spreadsheet or visual project management on a whiteboard, you are missing some features that could help you achieve your expectations.
For example, having some advanced collaboration features can make your project schedule and expense tracking efforts more useful and rich. Making use of cloud hosting and asynchronous messaging can go a long way.
You may be tempted to go and find the cheapest tool out there, which is probably free. But free tools can be more trouble than they are worth. They might provide a quick fix, but you will be working against the tool at some point.
That doesn’t mean you need to jump to the best-of-breed solution. Identify the features that are important to you and establish a reasonable budget, assuming that you’ll be using the project management applications again for future projects.
Open-source software and free trials will help in the beginning, nevertheless, as your projects get more complex and bigger, don’t hesitate to look for a more robust solution.
Projects are temporary, which makes scheduling one of the most important features in software. The freedom to customize deadlines, dependable tasks, buffers and so on is key to keep solid coordination over your projects.
Projects are made of a lot of moving parts. You need to know the impact of one variable over the others whenever something changes. In other words, look for features that help analyze trade-offs and how resource allocation affects the overall schedule of your project.
If you have to constantly communicate with your team, a collaboration feature will help to keep information flowing so everyone is up to date. Moreover, look for software that provides a chat platform and task management among the project crew and version tracking system.
Reports are the best way to get a strategic overview of the projects’ status. Specifically, you need to know how everything is going by the end of every week or month. In addition, a software that compiles all the information related to schedule, cost, team performance, and resources usability in a structured document is something to look for.
Also, every project is coordinated with limited resources. From labor to budgeting and time availability, how you use your resources is something to always be aware of. Because of that, try out tools that can track how you are using your resources which makes a huge difference in your decision making process.
Perhaps the most important feature is how easy it is for you and others to use. The best project management software is the one you actually use. So, be sure to play around with options before you buy and make sure that the UI and design are simple and intuitive.
Kissflow Projects was built for people just like you–people who don’t have formal training in project management but are handling it nonetheless. We took all the advanced features of the best project management tools and boiled them down to their essentials with one easy-to-use kanban board layout. Kissflow Projects gives you easy access to create your own project board, assign tasks, and create reports. It’s the best project management software for people who want to get the work done and not be distracted by the tool.
After your evaluation, search for software options based on your project nature and desired features. Take advantage of free trials and freemium offerings to get a feel for what most tools are like. Share your options with your teammates so you can get more input about the features. The best project management software is out there for you, and you can find the one that fulfills your needs.