How to Choose the Right Project Management Software

Choosing the right project management software can make all the difference in the world. However, it’s never about going on the recommendations of other companies, ones in different industries, operating in different marketplaces, with different business models and most importantly, servicing different customer segments.

Instead, it’s ultimately about defining what your company requires relative to its own business model, its own value-added service offering and its own customer requirements.

Project Management

Successful project management means different things to different companies. However, all project managers require access to software that manages projects in real-time, provides them with time-critical data and allows them to benefit from collaborative efforts.

Most importantly, the software must allow project leaders to manipulate schedules and data to account for any possible deviations from original plans. In essence, any type of project management software must provide the following essentials:

• Easy-to-use interface
• Ability to manage both critical and non-critical paths in real-time
• Collaborative tracking of team members
• Issue tracking and schedule tracking
• Work task completion tracking
• Historical tracking of previous projects
• Ability to manipulate work schedules and data: GANTT charts and essential PERT variables

Team management softwareEach of these aforementioned essentials give project managers the necessary tools to manage projects in real-time. Most importantly, they allow managers to play around with multiple critical and non-critical paths, constantly mitigating issues and delays and allowing them to properly allocate raw material and employee resources.

Any software must empower the project manager to track all pertinent variables needed to successfully manage the project’s overall timeline and budget.

It’s not about managing one project, but ultimately about having the ability to manage multiple projects at the same time. Real-time issue tracking allows project managers to glean insight from various team members and co-workers on multiple projects, thereby allowing them to avoid the damaging effects of idle time.

The idea is to have software that has all of these aforementioned options. Now the question becomes: Should today’s enterprises choose an open source software over that of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) alternative, one offered through the “cloud”?

Open Source Project Management Software:

The opportunity to work with license-free software can be alluring. However, it’s important to note that there are substantial costs to using open source software, despite what many would have you believe. Because open source software solutions rely upon collaborative development efforts, there is often a trade-off between what your company specifically needs, versus what has been put together collaboratively by other users.

In essence, many open software solutions allow a community of users to freely adopt and modify the software application as they see fit. Therefore, it’s important to identify a solution that meets your company’s needs.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Solutions via the “Cloud”:

A growing trend among SaaS solutions is to move away from monthly or yearly licenses and onto cloud based solutions, ones that help companies lower their overall cost of ownership by giving them the option of using the latest and greatest software. This has increased the popularity of SaaS solutions within the overall cloud computing platform. It’s live and easily accessible from any remote terminal.

This makes it an ideal choice for those project managers constantly on the move, ones who must manage multiple projects while in the field.

Choosing between open source and SaaS software platforms must often take a back seat to ensuring that the software you choose meets the needs of your project management team.

In essence, delays and downtime are commonplace; they issues that can’t be done away with entirely. Instead, your company’s focus should be on choosing software that best allows your team to mitigate the impact of delays on all projects under your company’s management.