Project Management Software is used in various industries for planning, allocating resources, and scheduling projects. A project manager and entire team can use it to control their budget, quality management, and all documentation exchanged during a project. As well as facilitating project stakeholder collaboration, this software is also used as a collaboration platform.
What Types of Project Management Software Exist?
A project management solution can be implemented in one of three ways: as a best-of-breed product, an all-in-one suite, or a point solution.
Only best-of-breed project management software is available.
Other types of functionality, such as CRM and billing, may also be included in all-in-one suites.
The purpose of point solutions is to complement project management tools by offering features such as collaboration and analytics.
Industry-specific project management solutions
Project management solutions tailored to the needs of professionals in various industries, including design, real estate, legal services, etc., are available. These solutions provide industry or market-specific templates and reports. In addition, the software is tightly integrated with other products related to the same industry.
What are the Common Features of Project Management Software?
In most project management solutions, the following features are included:
Definition: Any project management software must include definition functionality because it allows companies to define their project structures, which are the foundation for any business activity. The system of a project needs to be carefully defined; it is difficult to change it significantly once the project has been implemented because of the risk of disrupting it.
Schedules: Milestones and deadlines establish when each project stage is expected to be completed. Activities and tasks can also be assigned deadlines depending on the project’s complexity. In project management solutions, milestones should be defined according to study interdependencies.
Visualization: A project’s visualization features (such as GANTT charts) provide a comprehensive view of all activities, tasks, deadlines, and milestones. Users can drill down to each level of the project structure to find details about a resource or activity using excellent visualization. Those with proper authorization should also be able to adjust visual schedules, and any changes made to any action or milestone should automatically update any other related parts.
Workflows: During the phases of a project, workflows and processes define how activities are performed. It is vital that these features can be customized to meet each team’s needs and should consider project constraints and limitations. Supervisors, project managers, and executives should take responsibility for the quality of services provided by workflows that include approvals.
Resource management: Managing resources is particularly important because it can significantly impact the project’s cost. It is essential to optimize the use of resources for each type of activity to keep costs low. Resources can also be allocated across multiple activities and projects, allowing teams to purchase materials in bulk and save on purchasing expenses.
Which project management App is best for small businesses?
Suppose your team needs to manage and track a couple of projects. In addition, you can give your employees schedules and collect timesheets to bill clients and compare the progress of dozens of projects simultaneously. Zoho Projects (starting at $5 per person per month for Premium) is a good choice. Zoho Projects stands out because it scales easily if your team grows and needs more features.
Other business apps from Zoho, the company can be connected to Zoho Projects to extend its functionality. GanttPro is also an excellent low-cost option. For those with limited or no previous experience with project management, it is one of the most accessible tools to use. You don’t need to spend more than $15 per person per month on software if you don’t use the tools unique to more expensive packages.
How to Buy Project Management Software
Requirements Gathering (RFI/RFP) for Project Management Software
Project requirements should cover all phases of a project’s lifecycle, from scoping and estimating to planning, executing, monitoring, and closing. Buyers may need to create more detailed requirements for functionality that are critical to the organization, depending on its complexity. A business that outsources project execution would focus more on defining, planning, and tracking projects. More Information
Compare Project Management Software Products
Create a long list
A long list is created by excluding products unsuitable for the buyer. On-premises solutions are excluded from the list if buyers only want cloud software. The project methodology supported by the software is also an important criterion. In IT and service organizations, agile project management is the preferred method of managing projects, so solutions that do not adhere to this methodology are rarely considered.
Create a shortlist
The requirements list mentioned above is sent to vendors on the long list so that they can provide detailed information on supporting each feature. Buyers should also request customers’ references and pricing information. To learn more about vendors and their products, it is highly recommended that you use objective third-party analysis and software reviews. Buyers can identify products’ strengths and weaknesses by comparing vendor responses to RFIs, customer references, reviews, and independent research. By the end of the process, buyers should have a shortlist of two to four finalists with similar features.
By conducting demos of each product on the shortlist, you can differentiate between them based on how they can be used in real-life scenarios. Demo scripts are written by buyers that include their company’s requirements and workflows, and vendors provide live demonstrations based on the hand. Buyers should focus on the most critical features during demos since extended demos can be counterproductive. A buyer may be more interested in interdependencies between tasks or changes to a project’s timeline instead of asking vendors how they create a project and add jobs (essential project management).
Along with functional requirements, buyers should also consider a product’s ease of use and flexibility to ensure that it’s intuitive and collaborative. Members of the selection committee should rate each criterion or requirement during the demo on a predefined scale, so they can consolidate all ratings and compare software objectively.
Selection of Project Management Software
Choose a selection team
Project managers or project management office team members are included on the selection team, as are executives such as the CEO, CTO, or CFO. Ideally, the project managers involved should have extensive experience managing projects and using software of this type.
Although the software’s cost is usually crucial in the negotiation process, buyers should not compromise on features to save money. There may also be a temptation to purchase components or services that are optional or important for the business. Additionally, buyers should look for discounts or free tools and services to complement project management software.
Companies of medium to large size should also consider whether the vendor can assist them in updating their business processes and best practices for project management. Engineering firms and marketing agencies have very different operations, so more than project management software is needed to improve productivity. Companies with complex projects must invest in business process reengineering services, even though they can be costly.
The entire selection team is responsible for making the final decision. Before deciding, information about each product, vendor, and ability to provide the buyer’s desired functionality and services should be gathered. Buyers should ask for information about the software’s estimated ROI. It is also essential to consider the vendor’s contract length and discounts before deciding.
What Does Project Management Software Cost?
Typically, on-premises project management software is offered as perpetual or named licenses, which allow buyers to use it indefinitely and without having to renew their licenses. SaaS or cloud solutions use subscription models, which permit software monthly or yearly. It does not include charges for operating systems or database management, which are the buyer’s responsibility.
Many project management software packages include multiple tiers or editions, which are different versions of the same software. The basic versions of many programs are free for a limited number of users. It is possible to scale up or down quickly with cloud products (add or remove users) and change editions rapidly. It is common for vendors to sell packages or plans that are less flexible and only allow buyers to make changes at the end of the contract. License costs can vary depending on the user’s role (administrator, employee, manager, or contributor).
Furthermore, the cost of a project management solution may include various services the vendor offers, such as consulting, customization, integration, or business process reengineering.
Return on Investment (ROI)
To determine the ROI of a project management software, buyers must identify its costs (upfront and ongoing) and benefits (increased productivity, reduced time spent managing tasks, better resource allocation).
It can sometimes be clear how much the software will cost and its benefits. Ongoing costs, for example, include users’ licenses and additional support, training, and software configuration. The system, user access, or change request management may also require a dedicated employee in large companies. The main challenge with benefits is that they are hard to calculate. It is, therefore, crucial for buyers to estimate how project management software’s advantages affect their finances and profitability.
How to manage a software project successfully
Software projects can be managed effectively in eight ways, according to Forbes. Here are some tips to help you:
- Allowing your team to focus on the product by taking care of non-development work
- Sharing success stories of others to motivate your team
- Once tasks have been assigned, they should not be changed
- Staying on the course (until it needs to be changed)
- By being organized yourself, you can encourage others to be organized
- Delegating effectively to increase productivity
- Getting to know your team and establishing a good working relationship
- Assigning specific tasks to each day according to the plan