Selection Criteria for Online Project Management Software

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Online project management software allows business organizations to manage distributed project teams online. This means that project managers can schedule tasks, set task dependencies, delegate responsibilities to team members, get notifications and track progress and much more on the go.
Team leaders want information about everything concerning the project, from scheduling to costs, issue tracking, task assignment, quality control and time management and much more. For you to end up with the best project management software that best suit your business needs and capabilities.

These factors you should consider

• Size of the business
Consider the size of your company, the number of projects and the number of team members. This will help you a great deal in determining what features and storage space would be needed.
• Features
Before making a purchase, you should understand project manager and team needs. Consider essential features that team members require to make the project successful and help them overcome obstacles. Be sure to list also non-essential but desired software features.
• Solve the problem
Before selecting project management software, determine the business problem that you’re looking to solve, and then find that software that will not only offer the best solution, but also the best return on investment.
• Starting price
You should consider financial capability of your business and the budget set aside for the project. Weigh the cost of the software, and if possible, settle for the one with the lowest base monthly payment provided it has all the features you’re looking for.
• Platform
Before you make a purchase, you should take into account how project leader and team members will access the project management software. For instance, project management software online is accessed both through a web browser and subscription based. Project management software on premise must be installed on a local server or on team members’ computers while mobile software would be able to run on a mobile device either through a mobile optimized site or through an app.

Advantages

Apart from allowing project managers to manage multiple projects easily and effectively from wherever they might be, and globally distributed teams via a centralized project management console, project management software online have many more advantages among them include:
• No server downloads
This saves you the hassle of getting hardware or software. Project managers and team members are supposed to sign up online to get started immediately.
• Universal access
Both project manager and team members can manage project tasks from any internet enabled PC irrespective of wherever they may be.
• Centralized project management
It allows project managers to handle all aspects of managing several projects from one central online location. Online project management software allows everyone’s visibility into the progress of the project and lets them make updates or provide feedback.

Tips to Get the Most out of Project Management Software

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Many businesses invest a lot of time in trying to select the best project management software. While that’s a good idea, it’s unfortunate that many business managements ignore the most important part – coming up with strategies to get the most out of their best software. For this reason, we thought it wise to provide some of the most useful tips for getting the most out of any project management software.

Useful tips for getting a project management software

Analyze your needs first

Before you start looking for project management software, start with a needs analysis. Find out what kind of PM software your business needs. For instance, are all your projects internal, or do you go beyond this to work with external vendors and clients? What do you want to do – assign tasks and deliverables to team members or create a space where team members collaborate? And will your projects require you to create invoices? Answering these questions will lead you into choosing the project management software with features that will be fully beneficial to your business.

Train the users adequately

Provide multiple training sessions and make sure everyone receives adequate training. By the end of each training session, make sure every team member has an account, a login and a simple password that’s easy to remember. You should set up a project immediately after each training session so that everyone can practice the general use of the system such as attaching files and so on.
It’s important to reinforce what employees have learnt and you can do that by offering follow-up training few weeks or days after the initial training session. You can also organize with a third party or a vendor to offer them online video tutorials.

Define your goals early

Determine what you want to achieve by using project management software. Ask yourself what you want the software to do. For example, do you want it to create status reports? Or do you want it to forecast or just serve as a collaborative tool? When you establish your goals early on, it’ll provide clarity to how you’re going to set up and use it. This will also provide clarity on how you’re going to train the team on it. Otherwise, implementation is going to be terrible.

Track projects in real-time

Instead of waiting for a weekly meeting to notice that your project is doing terrible, you should have one person in charge tracking projects in real-time. Assign one party to act as a project manager to track your projects’ progress in real time. In that way, he or she will be able to correct all issues before they get out of hand. Still, project manager is supposed to communicate regularly with the team members and ensure that the entire team is using the software.

Integration with core apps

It’s very helpful to make sure that the project management software integrates with core apps such as email. This is important because everyone uses email and therefore, a solution that posts messages to email is really going to increase user engagement.

Steps to Ensure Adoption of Project Management Software

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As with any change in work processes, especially that which intends to move paper-based methods to automated computerized systems, it’s expected that some team members will be willing to adopt project management software with an aim of helping projects run smoothly, more accurately, collaboratively and efficiently. On the same note, some team members will be reluctant to adopt software for various reasons. It may be because they don’t understand the benefits of the software in question or it might be because they fear the technology.
The fact that some team members might be reluctant to embrace new technology should not hold project leaders back from introducing the software. After all, it’s quickly becoming a “must have” for all businesses all over the world. It’s actually the best way to instill more efficiency throughout any business organizations. The only option businesses have is to help ensure adoption of project management software to get every team member to embrace it.

Here are some of the steps businesses can consider to achieve that

Choose software they love

When choosing project management software, make sure you consider whether the team members recognize its value. Otherwise, adoption will be very problematic. When a business is evaluating project management software, the project manager, the project team and any other end user must be considered as customers. Apart from the fact that project management software should be intuitive, simple and valuable, it should also have a familiar and welcoming experience for those who are going to use it.
Before making a purchase, you should let team members try it and listen carefully to their feedback. Let project managers, IT professionals and business development managers test the software and help in making investment decision. If you fail to do that, you might buy the best software that can be able to provide all promised benefits, but it might not benefit your business.

Choose easy-to-deploy software

To help ensure adoption of the software, choose project software that’s easy to set up and get running. You should select software that doesn’t need an IT S.W.A.T. team for training. Businesses should look for the most effective PM software that has the shortest ramp-up time for users, but still powerful and able to deliver on the business needs.

Participation encourage adoption

Businesses should promote adoption by choosing project management software with highly collaborative functionality, making it very attractive to users, which encourages quicker adoption. For example, employees would adopt web-based project management software easily because it makes their lives much easier when working on a project. As real-time knowledge becomes accessible to the entire team at any time from wherever they are, and there is no chances of duplication of efforts, users get very excited and eager to learn everything about the software.
Simply put, projects are all about teamwork, and it would make a lot of sense if businesses could choose project management software that is viral to allow for the invitation of all users to participate actively and contribute to its success.

Reasons to Use Online Project Management Software

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Spreadsheets will not be sufficient for project teams managing any size of project. Because there is a limit to what project teams can be able to do with the colored boxes on a grid, project managers should realize that it’ll reach a time when the team has to switch to use management tools that are more appropriate to manage the projects professionally. There comes a time when project teams must switch to using tools that will save them time and help them collaborate effectively with each other.
Many business organizations don’t see the need to make the switch, especially if they’ve always managed very well with spreadsheets and documents.

Below are some of the benefits of using online project management tools

Get information in real-time

The fact that there is online access makes it very easy to get hold of the project files, making it even easier to keep things up to date in real-time. Employees managing various sections of the project will be able to complete their timesheets, update everything about their tasks as well as record their status as they continue.
If your team members are using online project management software as their major interface for the working hours, there will be no problem with submitting documentation or updating any issue into another application.
Furthermore, project leaders can just use the in-built reporting features to get information about the progress and status of the project. This information reflects today’s situation and not what happened weeks ago.

Easy access of the files

Online project management tools make it very easy to access your files from anywhere. Irrespective of where a team member is, he or she can still get updates of any latest project schedule. When team members can get hold of the latest copy of everything about the project from wherever they are, businesses get some security benefits because it won’t be necessary to copy files onto a flash drive that could get lost or stolen.
Online project management tools have user-friendly interfaces that make them extremely easy to learn. In fact, it’s almost the same as using another website. This helps team members a great deal, because they spend much of their time online, and this is a very good way for all of them to collaborate online and work together as a team.

Collaborate with your team

Online project management tools include collaboration features. For project leaders working with virtual teams, they can easily start discussions with them; send them instant messages and set up email alerts and even share files.
Chatting as a group is a real advantage because it saves the need of having to send a bunch of emails. Being able to chat as a group also means that the whole discussion is recorded and can be stored. This is great because there would be a complete history of why members took decisions.
Team members can send each other a quick message to confirm whether they’re at their desk and can pick a phone call. This will save time and prevent workers from attending endless meetings.

Most Needed Functions of Project Management Software

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Before you start your search of the project management software that will suit your needs, you need to consider many things. You must considerer for what purpose do you need project management software. For example, a business organization may need it for tracking time and tasks or for collaboration in documents. You may also need it for mapping out your project plans and schedules, or you might need it to discuss issues.
Naturally, your needs are often depended on your projects, your team and how the business organization approach project management.
When you’re searching for what would best suit the needs of your project manager and team members, it’s important to understand that there are some common and very important functions that good project management software should have. These functions are simply a “must have” for any project management tool to meet your project needs.

Functions of good project management software

Project planning

Any project management software must have the function to map out the tasks of the project. It must also show the project leader how project’s tasks are connected. This level of planning gives you a better understanding on how you’re supposed to schedule projects and what path you’ll be using to access and allocate the resources. Generally, planning a project starts by breaking down all tasks that should be completed followed by assigning such tasks to team members, and identifying responsible resources. It also involves an estimation of time for start and completion of each project.
Project management software helps you with creating a relationship between the dependent tasks. For instance, it’s supposed to specify what task is to be completed before the other one begins.

Keeps a track of all deadlines

Team members should know exactly how much time each task is allocated for them to complete the project successfully within the stipulated time. You should consider that project management tool which allows you to track time, and also get to know what is still remaining that needs to be done. By ensuring that every minute of your work counts, these tools help in improving your efficiency.
Once you’ve created a new task and allocated it to your team member, a project management tool will take care of it from there and you don’t have to spend any more time or effort on it again. The project management tool will send reminders and notifications to team members about their remaining tasks. In that way, it’ll be keeping a track of all deadlines.

Task management

The most important needed functions in project management software are its ability to define tasks, assign them to team members, approximate hours for completion and set deadlines. You should look for a project management tool that will offer exceptional functionality for your team members not only in defining and allocating tasks, but also in setting deadlines.

Making invoices

As expected, the next step after the completion of a project is creating an invoice for the same. Another important needed function in project management software is its ability to help you with making invoices, not through spreadsheets or copying and calculating figures, but through the data available in the project. Using this data, a project management tool will simply pick the tasks and the total time spent, and then fills all the extra expenses. After which, your work is to click on generate and then send the invoice.