By Michelle Symonds
Project management tools are designed to make it easier to be a successful project manager. A well designed and appropriate tool should make you more productive, more efficient and make those tricky tasks like communication simpler. But if it’s not the right tool, or is going out of date, it can end up being more trouble than it is worth.
Here are 5 tell-tale signals that it’s time to start shopping around for a new project management tool.
- You’re using other tools tooIf you’re finding you’re using lots of other tools in addition to your main system in order to achieve the functionality you want, chances are your tool is no longer any good for you. Whether you are doing time tracking elsewhere, communicating via a more modern method or relying on Google calendar instead of the in built one, using lots of tools is only going to create duplication and end up making more work for you.
- There’s little or no support from the developers
Whatever tool, software or app you are using, having good back up support for them when things go wrong is essential. If you find that there is no help available when you need it, chances are your tool has gone out of date and it’s time for a refresh.
- You’re still using spreadsheets
Small businesses often begin their project management journey by using spreadsheets. Excel is one of the most widely understood pieces of software around for data collection, and in the early days this is often sufficient. However, as time goes on, the software can no longer keep up with the company needs, so most businesses migrate to a proper project management tool. If you’ve migrated, but find you are still relying on spreadsheets for some functions, your tool is not doing what it should be doing.
- You spend more time training your new staff on the tool than the job
Project management tools should be simple yet functional. They should be intelligent enough to allow a good degree of on the job learning, and should only require minimal introduction to get started. If you need a whole day of input to get people up to speed on your software, then it’s probably not the best software for you.
- The notifications are too few (or too many)
If your software doesn’t send enough notifications, you risk missing important events or deadlines. If it sends too many you’ll be getting irritate with it clogging up your already overloaded inbox, and probably ignoring most of them anyway. A good project management software tool should send only the right information to the right people at the right time, and if yours can’t do this, maybe you should be looking for something better.
Sometimes it’s not even a flaw with the software itself that causes a problem. As companies grow, they often simply outgrow the system that they’ve been using to achieve project success for years. If you don’t think your software is working well for you now, take some time to investigate the many new offerings in the market to find you’re the one that will make you a great project manager. Now may also be a good time to think about the core skills that lead to project management success.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.
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