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Project Management Software Buyer’s Guide
In order to maintain streamlined management of work, organizations look for ideal Project Management software applications. This buyer’s guide will show you how a project management software works towards the benefit of a company and how it can enhance the work management of any business effectively. It will also help you choose the right software to address your organizational needs with ease.
» What is Project Management Software?
It is a software application that enables you to effectively collaborate and monitor various projects at a time on a real-time basis. Unlike on-premises systems, the popular online cloud-based systems are in more demand. As most of the software applications offer flexible features and pricing, investing money would not be a problem. However, you have to choose the right software that will best fit your needs.
» How does Project Management Software work?
The work of a Project Management Software is to plan all the essential activities of your project by facilitating a platform where you can assign a specific task to your team. Besides, its unique features help you manage your resources and promote productive collaboration with your team.
› Create an effective task management system:
The software offers you to plan a project by covering every critical detail. You can track your ongoing project and figure out any errors beforehand rather than waiting for a drastic measure. It let you appoint specific tasks to your employees as per their skills and track their progress effectively. You can prioritize tasks for your employees and send them occasional reminders about their responsibilities. You can also follow the time spend by your employees on an individual task.
It offers you a myriad of possibilities to escalate your project speed. You can set the ‘start date’ and ‘end date’ of a project along with a feature to break your project into small segments. Then, you can assign responsibilities to different employees.
› Lets you sequence your tasks:
An online project management software application lets you add sequence to your works. For example, if one job can’t be started without the completion of a previous task, then you can set sequences to your tasks. The dependency view or a Gantt Chart enables you to view the dependency between tasks and work them accordingly.
› Helps you with the Gantt Chart:
The project management tool helps you build a powerful Gantt Chart provides you a clear view of an ongoing project and upcoming milestones. If you need to change your plans in between, you can add new tasks or modify an existing job. This also allows you to set dependencies and Print the Chart Diagram in physical form or export the chart in PDF form.
The software provides you a feature to distinguish your projects in precision. It let you classify your tasks into milestones, task lists, completed & incomplete tasks in % view and dependencies. Gantt Chart modifies the dependencies by allowing you to add new successor, predecessors, editing existing dependencies and adjust the time lag between tasks. The Kanban board displays the completed tasks, priority of tasks and the specific section of tasks. It let you reorganize your tasks and gives you a detailed analysis regarding a failed or behind-the-schedule assignment.
» What are the benefits of Project Management Software?
Using a Project management software can be the best solution for catering to the various issues involved during project handling. This allows teams or individuals to communicate with each other effectively in case of a problem. Moreover, the PMS systems also enable smooth transfer of files, documents, status updates, and more.
› Enhances Productivity:
Setting up a project management software can help in completing tasks within stipulated time without any confusion. This is because many PMS systems come with in-built intimation and scheduling compliance which allows managers or admins to specify each task to a team member with a single click.
› Effective Resource Management:
As the functions are given to the defined circle members, other members can utilize their time efficiently and without any confusion. This not only helps manage the workforce properly but also helps in reducing the add-on on expenditures, thereby saving a lot of pressure to build upon the budget of the company or business.
› Free from Paperworks:
Till today various companies and enterprises use pen and paper method for listing upon the employee as well as project details which increase the chance of risks. This is due to the heightened risks associated with the entry of the particulars when done manually. However, this issue is wholly solved as PMS software automatically uploads the data to the cloud without any human interference.
» What are the features of Project Management Software?
Now let’s have a quick look at the various features of a project management software which when used by firms and enterprises helps in increasing productivity and maximizing profits.
› File and Data Sharing:
Project Management Software provides a feasible transfer of various files and data, such as customer profiles, documents, calendars, contact lists, and more among the approved members. Hence, the PMS software plays a significant role in reducing the wastage of financial resources while simultaneously increasing productivity.
› Prioritizing Tasks:
As the data and the tasks are shared in an open platform among the team members, project managers or admins can set the essential functions in the top for letting other members know the task’s importance. This will also help in understanding and differentiating the tasks which need to be done first.
› Shared Team Calendar:
A shared team calendar can also facilitate an individual or a firm to link other calendars, such as Google Calendar, iCalendar, etc. which can aid in initiating the team members about meetings, deadlines, and assigned projects beforehand.
› Time slots and Time Tracking:
PMS software often comes with specific time slots and time tracking feature which can allow an admin to keep a track on the total time taken by an individual to complete a given function. Moreover, it also comes with real-time availability function which can be used to assign another project to a person depending upon their vacancy.
› Managing Budgets and Invoices:
One more interesting feature of the Project Management Software is that the software also offers automatic invoice creation, forwarding and intimation in case of due invoices through emails. Furthermore, one can also check detailed reports on monthly and weekly expenditures, expenses, and totals for the effective management of the company’s budget.
› Data Storage:
The PMS software also acts as a central reservoir for all your documents and files, including expenses, bills, calendar events, projects particulars, upcoming and ongoing tasks, etc.. Hence, allowing retrieval and easy access of the projects from anywhere and anytime.
As discussed above, Project Management systems not only allow easy access from any place at any time but also reduce the headache of scrolling through multiple spreadsheets by compiling all of them in a single location.
» Before choosing Project Management Software
It is for sure that you will be promised never-heard-before facilities of the software but after subscription, you may or may not be able to experience them all. It may also happen that you may end up buying the wrong software for your business which actually means to serve an industry of niche other than yours. So, it is imperative to run some pre-checks on your behalf to be able to decide which kind of online Project Management Software you want. Sorting your priorities beforehand will enable you to separate the wheat from the chaff quite easily.
In this regard, here are some of the questions to which you need to find answers to be able to select the best project management software for your firm.
› Which kind of buyer you are
One of the first things that you must do before choosing any project management software for your organization is to decide what kind of buyer you are. Basically, there are three types of buyers- small business buyers, departmental buyers, and industry-specific buyers. Small business buyers usually look for software having online project management tools that can handle task and schedule projects easily. For such small companies, the software must also have document sharing capabilities. If you are a small business buyer, you will definitely look for project management software for small business which can update with a project or task on a real-time basis.
› On-Premise or Off-Premise
Most organizations prefer on-premise policy. Here, it is important to ask for upgrade policy, support policy and price of complete ownership to your vendor. On the other hand, if you are opting for an online project management system or a SaaS solution for convenience and flexibility, you need to inquire about the security and compliance factors more than anything else. Off-premise solutions bring with them questionable factors like overall time to value and automation requirements into the picture. Therefore, choose an option that promises a better return on your investment.
Most of the time, buyers do not know what right questions to ask a vendor in regards to the security of an application. Well, first and foremost, you need to ask whether the vendor is ISO 27001 complaint or not. Secondly, you must ask if they meet SOC type II compliance or not. The vendor should be transparent about its test history, audit trails and full compliance reports. In case, the vendor is raising objections or feeling hesitant sharing all the above-said security essentials, it is better to give it a go.
› Vendor Profile
It is also important to verify the vendor profile. Run a background check on the vendor and try to look out for the flaws those may affect your business to a lot extent. For instance, if the vendor has a bad reputation in terms of customer management then you may have a tough time dealing with software bugs post installation. Some vendors have hidden charges to swell the final budget that may take you by surprise for sure. Therefore, before finalizing any vendor, it is better to take public opinion in open forums and to look for project management software reviews to remain assured of the service quality that you are going to get in the future.
» How to choose the best Project Management Software?
As of now, you must have been clear on the pre-requisites of having the best project management app by your side. Now, there comes the important part- choosing ideal project management software. Needless to say, it is not an easy task. In this regard here are some factors to consider for sure:
› Mobile compatibility:
Your team those who will manage the project will most of the time remain outside. Therefore, it is a better option to go for software which is mobile compatible. You can log into the system, check the progress of a project or task and can get information on important data at any time. These days, project management software applications can run on an iPad iPhone or Android device.
› Should incorporate social activity streams:
If your software through team project management tools will have social activity streams integrated to it, it will allow you to report on and share information on any project. You can instantly share expense sheets, project approval documents and other person and documents with your fellow members with ease. Therefore, always ask your vendors if their application supports such activity streams or not otherwise it is good to give it a go.
› Option to have additional integrations:
There will be a time when you have to add outstanding solutions to your existing business application in order to achieve better scalability. For instance, you can add your existing account system to your project management system so that you can have a detailed report on project invoicing, billing and other financial expenses on a real-time basis. Check with your vendors and ask them whether their project management software allows such integration or not.
› Data security:
As your entire business that will be infused into the project management software, it is imperative to ask your vendor whether the software has cutting edge security to protect the data from an unwanted security breach or not. Though you will not be restoring very sensitive information such as customer list or social security numbers still there is a chance that someone might get access to other sensitive information worth protecting. This is another important factor to consider after project management tracking tool.
» Is it worth investing money in Project Management Software?
In today’s market of cut-throat competition, in order to remain ahead of competitors, two major factors are required – Quality Performance and Supreme Agility. In this regard, the project management software can not only help you working smart but also can speed up your process of innovation. Many kinds of research have concluded that the presence of the right PPM solution can enable organizations to boost their number of project completion by 35% and can reduce the overall project cost by 37%. Also, the rate of project failure can go down to 59%. The pay-as-you-go service platform gives you the freedom to cancel the subscription anytime you want.
Many project management software is capable enough to take care of the company’s innovation cycle by aligning top-level strategies with resources. It can roadmap your strategic investment with effective collaboration both within and across teams, organizations, and regions. As it provides real-time visibility into requirement dependencies, the management gets comfortable in making agile planning. Hiring a team of experts to carry out the above-said would definitely cost you 30-40% more than the annual subscription of an ideal project management software.
In this regard, the software should definitely be in the wishlist of every small and mid-sized company. Nowadays, big MNCs are also making this software application a must-have part of their technological integrations to gain a cutting-edge advantage over their market competitors.
» How Much Does Project Management Software Cost?
The pricing of project management software starts from as low as $3 to a whopping price of $99 per month. The subscription price of the software entirely depends upon its features and the user-friendliness of the interface. Almost all the online project management software is available with a monthly based subscription.
Some software with cheap monthly subscriptions fees between $3-$10 offer limited features and charge you extra for using rest added features on per user per month basis. Some project management software applications even let you pay a small price and then add one more user without any added features. If you are a small business with limited employees, then this feature is excellent.
They carry essential features of the project management tools and are ideal for small to medium scale organizations. However, if the requirement of your business is more you can choose an enterprise version of the software. Some software comes with a more significant list of additional features as well. They offer additional features with a more user-friendly interface.
If a monthly subscription is too much for you, there are software application like which also offer annual subscriptions option with much better deals. However, it is always better to go for a free trial unless you are not familiar with implementing the software into real-time usage.
If you are looking to adopt any new Project Management Software lately then make a list of near-term objectives which need to be addressed in order to make the investment to be a deemed success. However, make sure that the application you have zeroed on is going to address those critical near-term requirements in a holistic way. In case, you are not sure about how the application will perform, go for a free trial and if possible look for positive user reviews in order to make an easy decision. Moreover, it should provide a familiar user experience across all key modules and should not demand extensive staffs to get tailored for meeting organizational needs. If you get successful in finding such a software application that can bridge the demand of your organization, you will be in a good position to wring maximum profits out of your investment.
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