Business essential, or trendy fad? Business leaders explain why you actually need project management software.
From Cabbage Patch Kids to Beanie Babies and Furbies, Americans have a propensity for getting caught up in a consumer frenzy over certain products, whether they actually want the thing or not.
“If that guy over there really wants it, I must have it, too.”
While that’s no way to run a business, if you heard that your competitors are using something you aren’t, you owe it to your business to look into that investment.
Take project management software, for example.
According to our research, more than half (57%) of U.S. small businesses already use project management (PM) software. Of those that aren’t, more than 25% are either planning to implement PM software in the next two years or already evaluating their options.
If you’re in the 18% of small business leaders who either don’t have project management software or aren’t planning to implement it, those numbers might be giving you a serious case of FOMO.
But you should know what you’re investing in before spending money simply because your competitors are.
Drivers for selecting project management software
We asked business leaders and project managers why they decided to invest in project management software when they did. Here’s what we heard.
1. Tracking tasks across the organization
Liz McQuillan, a project manager from Florida, said that tracking tasks across her organization—involving both project managers and non-project managers—was her impetus for adopting a project management tool.
What does task tracking look like in a project management tool?
Check out this video demonstration from Easy Project:
Task tracking demo (Source)
Are you looking for a project management tool to help easily track tasks across your organization?
2. Consistent communication
Jason Caton, a global project manager with DePuy Synthes, says that the ability to “communicate status reliably and instantly on any given project” was his primary driver for investing in project management software.
Poor communication is cited as a leading cause of failure on almost 30% of botched projects, so it’s essential for business leaders to break down as many barriers to effective project communication as possible. Project management software with a built-in collaboration tool allows project teams to share status updates and other information across locations and time zones.
If you’re still using email to share vital project information, it’s time to make a change. Take a look at this chart showing how to use your PM collaboration tool alongside other channels, from our article on effective project communication tools:
Are your teams struggling with project collaboration?
3. Supporting project management best practices
Geoff Reiss, a project manager and author, cautions that project management software is only useful in support of project management best practices, and never in place of them.
So what does this mean for your business? Make sure you have good project managers before you start spending money on project management software. You can’t have one without the other, but the people come first.
According to PMI’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession report, businesses that invest in improving their project management talent, capability, and culture achieve significantly higher project success rates (92% versus 32% for underperformers).
Capterra’s senior project management analyst Eileen O’Loughlin offers the following tips on turning your staff into project ninjas:
- Encourage cross-functional communication
- Engage all stakeholders
- Give teams flexibility and freedom and reward innovative problem solving
- Use swarming behavior to solve challenges
- Leverage experience, context, and social awareness
- Build connections and peer network support
For more details, read the whole article here.
4. Managing your backlog
How do you know what’s been done and what still needs to be done on a project? A whiteboard and markers in the conference room? Sticky notes? Good memory?
Beyond a certain point, those methods won’t cut it. That’s what drove Jordan Dantone, international business project coordinator, to invest in project management software.
In other words: project management software is a super-charged version of a Gantt chart, which shows dependent tasks that need to be completed against the progression of time.
Most project management software is built on the foundation of the Gantt chart, one of the oldest and most reliable project management tools in the book. You can still draw Gantt charts by hand, but that’s only recommended for novelty purposes.
What led you to buy project management software?
Project management software offers a lot more features than what we mentioned here. What did I miss that drove (or is driving) your investment? Budget management? Time tracking? Risk management?
What was the wake-up call that told you it was time to invest in a project management tool? Let me know in the comments, along with why that feature is so essential to running your business.
And to make sure you’re getting the most out of your project management software, follow our project management blog.
Here are a few recent articles to get you started:
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.