Buying major business software is a daunting task; there are so many options that all take some amount of effort to implement and pay for. Buying project management software for the first time can throw otherwise competent managers into fits—there are many unforeseen traps that they commonly fall into, costing their company thousands of dollars and hours of productivity.
Thankfully, I’ve identified the six most common mistakes that all too many first-time project management software buyers have made—and how you can avoid them.
1. Purchasing software that isn’t tailored to your business needs.
There are so many options when it comes to project management software. Would you like something made to track time and integrate with your email? Something good for showing how far a project has come, and how far it needs to go? Are you a freelancer who wants to keep their clients updated on their projects’ progress? Do you have a restrictive budget?
Write down your business’s essentials, then go to the Capterra project management software directory and browse through project management options. Check out the infographic outlining what buyers typically go for, and check out alternatives to popular options that might be cheaper than the leading brand.
2. Choosing software that’s too limited.
Don’t confuse simple with underpowered—yes, software should be easy to use, but it should also be hefty enough to address all of your business’s needs. For example, Trello is great for tracking a project’s progression for free, but it’s not as capable at providing reporting or time tracking.
Some processes you can do without now—like cloud collaboration with your team—but if your business is growing, it’s worth thinking about your project management software needs now and in the future.
3. Selecting software that is just too complicated.
On the other hand, choosing software that has way too many features can also be a bust; you don’t want to choose something that has so many features that you become overwhelmed and end up not using it. The more complicated the software is, the more it will cost. There’s no reason to overpay.
It takes a lot of time to learn new software. All software vendors will claim that their products are easy to use, but the heavier the software is, the longer it will take to learn how to use its features. Avoid falling into the trap where you start thinking that more features are worth paying for. Sometimes they’re not.
Dodge this common mistake by being clear with you list of needed features. There are lots of really cool options that some project management systems offer—like a customizable interface—but these extra bells and whistles might not be worth paying for.
4. Ignoring “free trials.”
Would you buy a new phone based solely on its aesthetic or brand? Features and good looks don’t necessarily make good software. And what works for one company might not work with your own—your team’s personality could just “click” better with a different software option.
So don’t ignore those free trials.
Take your favorite options for a test drive. Project management software will make your workflow far more organized and less stressful, but that’s only if you and your team like the software you’re investing in.
Make sure that you’re not the only one testing the product—you probably won’t be the only person using it. Look for that “click;” if the software doesn’t feel right with a majority of your team, then it might be time to try a new product.
Overwhelmed with so many options? Capterra offers services to match buyers to vendors at no charge.
5. Overlooking the importance of customer support.
By the time you’ve figured out which project management software package you want to buy, you might be tempted to relax and declare the search over. But believe me: there’s still one very important task you have left: testing out that product’s customer support.
Find out what the customer service hours of operation are. Are they in the same time zone as you? Can they be reached by email, phone, or using online chat? Most importantly, are the available forms of support convenient for you?
During your trial, give their customer support desk a call. Note how long it takes them to respond and whether you’re comfortable talking to them. Doing so will do two things: (1) It will ease any anxiety about reaching them should an emergency strike, and (2) You’ll get a sense of how they treat their customers.
Were you recently on the market for project management software? Are you soon to be? What did you make any mistakes when buying project management software? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.