There are plenty of articles and literature which talk about how automating and standardizing appropriate processes/practices improves chances of repeatable success. If your organization delivers projects, I don’t have to reiterate how critical it is to have standard process for each stage of project delivery – be it planning, scheduling approach, approvals, changes, acquiring resources, resource utilization, costing/budgeting, etc.
If your organization is already using project management system to manage and deliver project, you would have accumulated some or other learning over the years and it would have helped to set standard process while dealing with delivery cycle. But have you realized that there are important factors which may be missing because of your current project management system?
The essential things you should figure out is – what is the maturity level of current project management processes at your organization; what are and will be expectations of your customers from future projects deliveries in terms of maturity level. How many PMP certified project managers your organization has, does your client expect delivery in agile-way? Though there are plenty project management system available, it is you who clearly need to understand, what to expect from project management system. If you search online or visit some marketplace, you will find thee are pretty basic – to-do list tools which may cost you nothing or they may be cheap, are touted as project management system; at other end you will find complex tools which are highly costly yet difficult to understand and use. You will have carefully watch for better project management system.
The most important thing you should ask while selecting a right project management system for your organization::
Will it work for my team in delivering all aspects of project; at the same time will it give me and my managers required visibility?
Here are other important questions you should ask
It should be very intuitive that your team members need not be trained use it. It has to be easy to get started. In today’s fast paced world, your team will find it hard to spend time in learning complex tools.
The tools should be inherently collaborative. Even though the word collaboration holds different meaning for different people, it should enable informed and quick decision making for team.
Team members should find the project management system, easy to use and the tool should show only those information relevant to them. Individual team member should not get bogged down with complex Gantt chart; rather he should know what’s in his plate for today/tomorrow.
Gone are the days of off-line systems. Today, team members should be notified of latest changes in schedule and project manager should know the latest state of any/all tasks in the project. If there is any risk/issue highlighted, team should know about it, at earliest.
The critical information senior managers (decision makers) look for is project status indicator (budget, resources, progress – Green, Red, Umber). Thus portfolio manager should be able to see high level project status indicator in portfolio dashboard.
If your project is not trivial, your project would encounter problems; it will come across risks, resource constraints and what not. You will need schedule tracker, issue tracker, risk register, timesheet tracker, etc. Check whether a given PM tool deliver what is necessary for you to deliver your projects right from inception to closure.
The business world has already spent lot of energy in terms of resources and cost while working with different systems. Running around various tools to manage project is the thing in past. Ask whether you would prefer to have every artifact of your project at one place or scattered in different systems?
Have you already invested in different software/tools? Fair enough; then check whether the tool provides necessary integration with these systems. It could be MS Project, Google Apps, etc.
Would you like the software to provide you with a flexibility with which your team members, portfolio managers can use the software and update project activities on the go? Today world is about online, mobile. The software should let you access project details anywhere, any time and using all connected-devices like laptop, smartphone, tablets.
The software should provide you the flexibility to scale up or scale down as your business dynamics changes. It should let you scale up when your business grows.
Check what are security measure software vendor is promising to apply, how is he ensuring the reliability of the software, service. See whether a software vendor has transparently shared service agreement. You should have a close look at the service level agreement (SLA); contact details, support mechanisms.
Do you have any other consideration while selecting PM tool, I would definitely like to hear that.
About Zilicus: ____________________________________________________________________
ZilicusPM is project management system that offers an incredibly simple and collaborative way to manage projects. Try ZilicusPM a powerful tool to stay on top of things with aesthetic dashboard. ZilicusPM enables online project management – planning WBS, online scheduling, resource assignment, Gantt chart, project tracking, issue tracking, online project calendar, project risk management software and much more. Sign up for 30-days risk free trial.