Buyer’s Guide for Project Management Software
Many businesses have projects ranging from basic one-person tasks to major initiatives with various components, teams, and budgets. It may be difficult to keep track of all parts of a project, and this is where project management software steps in.
Project Management Data and statistics
The market for cloud-based project management software is estimated to reach $6.6 billion by 2026. Transparency Market Research is the source of this information.
Worldwide task management tools market is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual rate (CATR) of 13.7 percent between 2018 and 2023.
What exactly is Project Management Software (PMS)?
Basic task tools to complicated systems are available as solutions.
Project Portfolio Management vs. Project Management (PPM)
There are eight differences between project management and PPM, as per Learning Strategic Initiatives. One of these difference is the risk management method: project management sees risks as dangers to projects, while PPM sees them as opportunities. Project management is based on a predetermined timeframe for the timing of a project, while PPM is not.
Task Management Software vs. Project Management Software
Task management software is another word that is often used when talking to project management software.
In contrast to project management software, which focuses on all elements of a project, project management tools concentrates just on the tasks themselves. Task lists solutions are appropriate for businesses that do not have particular projects (or do not need special project management tools) but want an automated solution to monitor activities.
Common Features of Project Management tools
Many distinct functions are included in project management software. Some features are common, while others are not, depending on the kind of program and provider. Here are a few examples of common characteristics:
- Task management: This feature allows user to create projects and allocate them to others. Within the app, users may also monitor the milestones, statuses, and deadlines of each work.
- Budget and expenditure management: The budget and expenditure management tool allows users to establish budgets (e.g., staff, materials) at the start of each project and monitor both the budget and costs spent during the project’s life. If comparable projects have been completed in the background, project management tools give available historical data to assist in budgeting for ongoing projects.
- Management of resources and allocation: A resource management function enables the project manager to assess the availability of resources (such as people and materials) before allocating them to particular projects. Characteristics about each resource are provided to assist establish how they should be distributed, such as an employee’s job description or inventory cost.
- Gantt charts: Every Gantt chart is provided that depicts the timeline of a project. The chart may be used to define tasks, project timeframe, and task statuses.
- Time tracking: The time tracking function assists organizations in monitoring labor expenditures by requiring workers to log the amount of time spent on each assignment. This functionality is most popular in business services where the customer is invoiced for the hours done. Employees may log their time using a timesheet or another technique, such as connection with time clock software.
- Collaboration: Because users often need to exchange project-related information or ideas, collaboration is becoming increasingly widespread in project management software. File sharing, offering comments on projects, and delivering status updates are all examples of cooperation. Some software offers a social networking-style feed where users may share and comment on project information.
- Document management: Users may utilize the document management function to save different files related to certain projects. They may also easily share with some other users and specify access rights, including such read-only or editable.
- Reporting: Reporting lets executives and customers understand the status of a project. Reports may be prepared using real-time data just using built-in or bespoke templates using this functionality. Reporting (or even extensive reporting tools) may be available under a higher price plan depending on the provider.
The Most Important Advantages of Project Management Tool
There are various advantages to using project management software, including:
- More automated workflow: Project management use built-in warnings and other automated processes to keep track of project specifics from becoming too time-consuming. Alerts, for example, might be generated to remind staff members of upcoming deadlines for certain tasks.
- Better project cost and budget management: Many projects have a budget, and project managers must be able to control their expenditure in order to remain within the budget. Some project management tools allows users to specify a budget and get notifications if the project is about to go over budget.
- Improved team cooperation and document sharing: Because a team normally works on a single project, cooperation is essential. As a result, communication and document sharing functions are often included in project management software. A project manager may give a job to a user and track the progress of that assignment directly from the program. Users may also share papers that may be readily edited by others.
- Better organization and far more consistent processes: It is critical for businesses that work on numerous comparable projects (such as several projects for the same customer) to have a consistent procedure that can be managed to decrease the time required in project tracking. Depending on the scope of the work, project management software contains templates that may be utilized numerous times, so users can easily update the pattern with any new information. Furthermore, all project-related materials are consolidated, making projects more structured.
- Integration with other platforms: Many project management platforms, particularly cloud-based solutions, may be integrated with other systems and apps. They are often compatible with Microsoft Office applications, accounting systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, enterprise resource planning (ERP), Google apps, and social networking sites.
How to Select a Project Management Software
There are several project management systems available, each with its own set of features and prices. Before acquiring software, it is critical to thoroughly examine all of your possibilities. We’ve outlined four critical stages below.
Understanding your company’s requirements
You must first analyze your expectations and demands before exploring providers. Obtaining input from their project manager or team members is an excellent approach to do this. Do they, for example, have bottlenecks in their processes that project management systems might assist with? Is it their intention to automate particular tasks? Alternatively, does your firm already have a project management approach and are wanting to switch vendors?
You should also make certain that your IT personnel and senior executives seem to be on board with deploying a project management system.
Making a short list
After you’ve determined your goals for project management software, compile a list of providers that best meet your requirements. To assist you choose the sort of solution you’re searching for, we suggest making a list of the must-have and nice-to-have aspects.
Aside from functionality, you should think about the vendor’s deployment choices (e.g., on-premise, cloud), implementation processes, and customer support.
Making contact with merchants
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of suppliers, it’s time to contact them. Explain your goals and the characteristics you seek in a solution. You should also, if feasible, seek a demo of the program with real-data situations. Virtual demos are available from vendors, but it is also beneficial to inquire if a vendor is happy to discuss with you in your workplace. Another approach to evaluate the program is to take part in a free trial, if one is available. The majority of businesses provide a 14-day or 30-day free trial.
You should also compare the various pricing quotations you got. In a different category below, we go into pricing in further detail.
Performing due diligence
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to two or three providers, ask for recommendations from current or prior customers. While suppliers will often refer you to customers who have given you the most wonderful recommendations or experiences, request to talk with customers who are in the same sector or are the same size as your firm. You’ll want to examine not just the benefits of the system or provider, but also any problems the customer has encountered.
Project Management Software Pricing
Vendors of project management software often employ one of two price models: monthly hosting plans (cloud) and lifetime license (on-premise).
Here’s a closer look at each.
Subscription plans — A monthly or yearly subscription fee is often charged by the vendor when the software is hosted on their systems (also known as Software-as-a-Service). This is advantageous for businesses who do not want to store and keep their data. The basic cost structure per each user, per month, and is often dependent on the number of workers that utilize the program. Most project management software suppliers provide scalable subscription plans depending on the number of individuals and the features provided in each plan.
Some subscription options are pay-as-you-go and may be canceled at any time, but others may need a commitment.
Lifetime pricing entails the firm hosting the data by it’s own servers, thus the firm only has to cover these costs once. It could pay an annual fee to the vendor for maintenance or product improvements. Lifetime pricing may be an appealing choice for firms worried about data protection or with complicated requirements (e.g., large organizations).
Project Management Software’s Difficulties
Although a project management system offers advantages, it also has drawbacks, such as:
- Obtaining support from crucial stakeholders: Obtaining approval from senior executives, IT, managers, and users is crucial when acquiring software. However, these critical stakeholders may be averse to or concerned about such a project management system. For example, IT may be concerned about data security if the solution is hosted by a vendor, or they may not want the duty of hosting and supporting the software on-premise.
- Top executives may be hesitant to spend money on just a solution if there is no payoff. Furthermore, project individuals and teams may be reluctant to a program if they are used to handling their projects in a certain manner.
- Only a few characteristics are required at most: Some firms, particularly small firms, may simply need two or three basic capabilities and may not need complex project management software. However, some software suppliers provide a variety of price options that may be adjusted up or down. The goal is to determine which characteristics are critical to the company.
- Issues with execution: Project management systems assist users in managing projects, but they do not replace the manager’s obligation to ensure schedules are met and tasks are completed. Even with automatic reminders, a team member may fail to finish a job before the deadline.