I often get opportunity to talk to senior management, especially in the context of project management office (PMO), in some cases, organizations do not have designated project management office (PMO) but senior management has portfolio of projects to monitor and deliver.
Senior Management Perspective
With online project management software, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is significantly smaller compared to traditional software. So cost is definitely something they consider but it is not a major factor in consideration. Of course, they ask whether a given tool meets organizations requirement in terms of feature. - does it offer advance scheduling, issue tracking, timesheet management, etc.
It is not surprising that senior management typically look for high level status and progress reporting mechanism from the tool. They periodically ask for project reports from portfolio managers, in turn from project managers and would prefer to see all progress indicators in a dashboard way.
As a solution provider, we definitely understand their priority- what they need the most and provide easier ways to access useful reports and dashboard of project status, portfolio status.
Does it work for those who will use it daily?
However one important aspect senior management may not consider seriously while selecting project management software or similar solution, is whether a given tool/solution is easy for project team members to understand, access, use and update. Of course not every organization/senior management is like that; but it is a general observation I have noted.
As we interact further, I emphasis on the usability aspect of the software from team members point of view. It is obvious that if project team finds some tool difficult to use at worse, if they find it difficult to understand, then how they will be able to know/view project activities assigned to them, how they will be able to update status of activities assigned to them. And unless project team updates status of project activities, the information displayed in project reports and dashboard will be less useful. Hence usability of software is very important. Considering the influence of social media sites have on online user community and in general, the way Google, Facebook, Amazon and other are emphasizing on delivering best possible performance; - usability and performance aspects are going to be critical success factor along with functionality fit, for adoption of online/cloud based software.
What we should to learn from past experiences?
I can see during the conversation, they understand that time has changed; it is pointless to dump some system/tool on to the project team selected by senior managers. Just because some system allows them to extract hundreds of report; it may not be a right choice. Such software/solution will not be of any value if team is not using it regularly. In the past, some of them have realized how such solutions have resulted in waste of time and money for the whole department.
Wait, there is a positive trend
On the brighter side I have also seen instances wherein project team is involved in the software selection process; team is asked how easy they find ZilicusPM to use. Of course, all of our customers have found it easier to use ZilicsuPM.
I would really like to see that senior management consider team members' perspective as a tool/software selection parameter along with their organizational requirements.Take a free-trial The good part of online/cloud based solutions is, most of the vendors/solution providers offer free trial. Thus without making any upfront payment for licenses you can ensure whether a given tool for for you and your team. I must say, these days, free trial is reasonably common for online software and many companies take advantage of this.
Do you agree with me? I would love to hear from you!!
Img source: performanceimprovers.com website.
ZilicusPM is online project management software that offers an incredibly simple and collaborative way to manage project Try ZilicusPM a powerful tool that enable online project planning - WBS, online scheduling, resource assignment, Gantt chart, project tracking, issue management, online calendar, risk register and much more.