The project management software are vital tools for the organization and implementation of new activities of the company. Monitoring and coordination of group work, controlling the flow of information, respect deadlines and implementing cost control: These versatile tools are not only tailored to meet the needs of small businesses but are commonly used by large companies as complementary to CRM (Customer Resource Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. Here are some tips for choosing among the various project management software available today.
Project management at the various level
Depending on company size, number of employees, and the complexity of a project and the specific functionality required, the choice of the project management software vary considerably.
They can be classified into three families:
Personal Project Management software:
They offer basic functionality (task list, schedule, calendar, etc..) and designed for personal use or for a small group of users. Basecamp (multiple users) is one of these tool usually reserved for small structures.
Collaborative Project Management software:
Can be implemented in (Software as a Service) SaaS mode or on the company server, they include richer functionality: wikis, blogs, document storage, publication of shared documents, forums, creation of databases etc.. Clarizen is one of the tools that can fit to these roles.
The integrated project management software:
They are versatile and offer features traditionally associated with critical business applications (ERP or CRM): customer relations, billing, support, etc. Worketc is an online solution, that provide all of these features. Some solutions can also be integrated as a module in other business softwares.
The main features of a project management software
Planning and monitoring of activities
This is one of the main features of a project management software, which is primarily made up of tools to optimize time management: These tools will cut out the projects in various stages, coordinate the tasks assigned to each team, to set a timeline for implementation of the various component. Depending on the number of people involved in a project, planning is more or less complex. But these tools should allow you to:
Plan a project properly based on the realization of interdependent tasks.
Assess and allocate "resources" (human, technical) needed to carry out a project, according to the needs identified.
Manage any delays will affect the timing of the project.
Strengthen collaboration within work groups.
Efficient Time and human resources management is often related to financial management of a project. The software is supposed to enable the completion of an entire project within the delay and the budget allocated to it. However, these tools can't predict all of the organizational constraints and this may heavily impends on the implementation of a project:
Roles and functions specifically granted to employees.
Adherence to specifications for implementation.
Training for software tool (especially if it includes a collaborative component).
Distribution, sharing and management information
Project management software can provide information at different levels (shared or not) to the project managers and/or staff-. Among others features, the software will provide:
List of tasks
Wiki and document sharing
Overview (eg graphics) of the time required to complete a task
Summary of project progress(the actual tasks achieved compared to what has been originally planned).
Alert on any risks affecting the smooth running of a project
Information on workload, vacation schedules
Optimal use of "free" resources.
Local or SaaS, what to choose?
Project management software can be used in local mode (located on the corporate server) or in SaaS mode, that is to say, resources are outsourced and available on subscription via the Internet. For more flexibility, some publishers offer both options.
The SaaS solutions have several advantages:
The software is accessible anywhere from any device, including smartphones (for some).
It is easy to regulate access
They are naturally multi-user
They do not require updating
As they are available on subscription, you can plan your budget
Doesn't require intensive company resources.
In contrast, outsourced software have some drawbacks:
They do not (generally) to work offline.
Slower response time compared to a locally hosted software,
The information is hosted on remote servers
Some project management: non-exhaustive list
Note that: Project management software exist both in open source and proprietary licenses..
Simple solutions (limited functionality, suitable for small workgroups):