Have you ever had to use a project management tool that got in the way of your most important work? Did you ever feel stuck choosing from 10-20 apps without any idea if they work best for the kinds of projects you do?
Choosing the right project management tool has always been a hit-and-miss ordeal, mainly because teams try their best to fit their system into the app, when it should be the other way around.
You need to choose based on your specific needs and the systems that work best for 1) the people you work with, and 2) the work you do.
You'll be able to narrow your options and select the right tool to produce the work you're meant to do.
Having trouble knowing where to start? Here are some questions to think about as you go through your options.
Item #1: Desktop or web?
There’s a belief that desktop apps have all the bells and whistles money can buy.
One thing to keep in mind though is that the more features there are, the greater the learning curve is to master it. This might not be ideal if you’re looking for something simple to hit the ground running.
Each team member must also own a license to run the program once it is installed. Licenses for native programs tend to be more pricey than web-based programs and is less manageable as the team grows in size.
With web-based apps, pricing plans are usually based on the number of users and shutting down inactive users are a cinch. Most users are up and running with just a login and with roles and permissions that cater to each user’s needs (or project management ability)!
You might be off-site at a client site all day, or maybe you’ve just left the office but receive an update while waiting for the bus. In today’s connected world, being able to not only access, but edit your project plans and team collaboration space from any computer or mobile devices is valuable to your success as a project manager. And with team members able to login and edit their progress from anywhere their phones and tablets take them, you’re looking at getting closer to 100% team adoption.
Every project has revisions and almost every agency or organization has file naming conventions. But how often do these get followed? Are excessive attachments clogging your inbox? Are you spending a good chunk of your day pointing team members to the latest version of things? Look for a project management tool that allows you to store documentation and kiss those headaches goodbye. Before I began using TeamGantt, I would keep meticulous project folders for documentation. Despite this, it would still take some trial and error before I would track down the right file. Now, I consistently upload any delivered versions to the associated tasks within my TeamGantt project and add new revisions as necessary. I rarely go file searching anymore.
I can’t tell you how long it took before I got the hang of other project management tools. Some made my eyes glaze over as I pressed every single button to figure out how to edit the task dates. With other programs, I mistook their minimalistic design as simple user interface only to struggle with their minimalist user help guides. As you look over the features of each tool you’re considering adopting, consider the learning curve. If it’s not as simple as drag and drop or you are constantly referring to their helpdesk for pointers, it might be time to move on and try something new.
Are you able to easily create and save templates? When you open up a new project instance, does the template allow you to be up and running within minutes? If you have to spend more than an hour adjusting a template for a new project, then it’s not really a template.
Your new project management tool should also make it easy to share your project plans with others as well. Pay special attention to export options and their quality. Are you able to quickly export a usable copy of the project plan to PDF or Excel? Can team members view or edit the project plan to check their deadlines or do they have to rely on you to retrieve that information for them every time? Just because you’re a project manager doesn’t mean your time should be completely devoted to managing project plans.
I touched on this a little bit through this post, but how a project management tool allows you to work with your team is the most important factor when it comes to successful adoption. You have a choice when it comes to how much interaction your team members have with your project management tool.
For example, I set different permissions for team members and stakeholders to edit or view the project plan. I encourage communication through the threaded comments for each task. We’re able to work together on defining the process as each project progresses and keep it all centrally documented in a location that entire team has access to. Having a space for collaboration on project tasks is particularly helpful for remote teams. Projects are successful when everyone is invested in the process, use your tool of choice as an opportunity for everyone to be actively involved and encourage communication.
We know how many choices there are when it comes to project management tools and we’re flattered to know you are considering Team Gantt! Be sure to let us know if you have any questions.