Trying to find the right software to manage your projects can be overwhelming. Doing a search on “project management software” brings up a plethora of “top 10” or “best” listings. You will see acronyms and terms galore – EPM, PPM, and open-source. Where do you begin?
Well, that depends. If you’re a small to mid-sized business and/or new to project management, you might not be ready to jump into Enterprise or Portfolio Project Management software (EPM/PPM) just yet. It also depends on the type of methodology you plan to use and your industry.
Here are some quick tips to help guide you through the maze:
The “go to” tool for project managers is the desktop version of Microsoft Project. In my opinion, it is the most appropriate for small businesses especially if there is only 1 project manager on staff. If you do not require teams to login to view reports and project tasks or to track time, then MS Project is sufficient. There are various reports and dashboards that can be exported for executive teams. The downside is that you don’t have real-time visibility into project status and are reliant on the PM for information.
Open-Source or “Free”
You know what they say – nothing is ever free. Open-source or free software is great if you are an SMB, only need basic project management functionality and have your own technical resources to help implement/configure. Here are some of the challenges that I’ve run into with these types of products:
If you have a team of PMs with many projects in progress and an endless list of pending projects, it might be time to invest in Enterprise Project Management or Project Portfolio Management software. It will provide visibility into resource allocations, overall project health, workflows for project intake and prioritization and much more. Many of these solutions also offer integration with other systems like IT asset management or ERP. Keep in mind that there will be quite a bit of upfront configuration required.
Agile/Scrum was originally created for software teams; however, many other teams are adopting the methodology due to its simplicity and flexibility. Although certain EPM/PPM software provides functionality to manage these types of projects, some companies choose to have a separate Agile/Scrum tool that integrates with their Enterprise software. You can also find tools available that manage source code, track user stories (requirements), tasks and defects – all in one.
These tips can help you get closer to knowing what to look for. But if you don’t have the time or energy to invest in finding the right software for your company, consider professional project management consulting services. Not only can they offer guidance on the most appropriate solution for your company, they can provide project management for the implementation as well. And take it all off your list.
Does your company currently use project management software? If so, does it suit your organizational needs?