Project management has become a fundamental way for organizations to optimize processes, ensuring that they offer the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness while carrying out projects throughout the company. Project management software is one of the most helpful tools that can assist project managers in being as effective as possible, regardless of the industry. While incorporating project management software can certainly improve processes, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to using it, which require careful evaluation.
Advantages of Project Management Software
The variety of tools available in project management software can help drive a project forward. These advantages include:
- Collaborate with team members in real-time. Project management software commonly offers communication tools that can assist teams in discussing issues in real time. The benefit is that each team member can be kept up to date, quickly dealing with issues as they arise.
- Document sharing. For projects that require the use of significant documentation, document sharing tools allow individuals to edit, update the status of reports and create systems that allow for transparency and communication.
- Manage project costs. Controlling costs is one of the most important benefits of project management. Project management software generally includes tools that can assist in managing project costs.
- Ability to manage risks, forecasting, and budgets. Knowing project risks, creating forecasts and tracking budgets are some of the biggest advantages of project management software.
- Reporting capabilities. With flexible report formats and the ability to quickly access needed data, project management software can keep tasks on schedule.
- Intuitive to use. Dashboard-based software requires little training to implement. Simple to use and easy to install, new project management software allows for quick ramp-up times.
Disadvantages of Project Management Software
Though there are clearly many good reasons to utilize project management software, there are also disadvantages to consider:
- Some programs can be very costly with very little ROI. While project management software can provide great solutions, many times those solutions need to be custom designed or solved by purchasing multiple software programs. These can be costly options and can be difficult to implement.
- Project management software may complicate simple projects. While using project management software is a popular option for many organizations, simpler projects may not need project management software. When project management software is used inappropriately it can unnecessarily complicate matters.
- Execution issues when relying on automated alerts. While alerts are helpful to remind team members that tasks are due, a problem develops when more time is spent on setting up the alert than the task itself.
Understanding Organizational Needs
Before purchasing a particular software package, it is critical to evaluate the requirements of the organization. Knowing exactly which functions will be needed will help to streamline the decision making process. Carefully developing a list of functions and characteristics in terms of “required” and “optional” will help to determine which packages most closely fit the needs of the company. Additionally, the evaluation of the software package using “Use Cases” is a critical step before implementation. A Use Case combines a scenario that the individual organization may face, such as managing risks, capital or budgets with the capabilities of the software resulting in a good sense of whether the software behaves as expected.
While project management software can be a necessary and helpful addition to an organization that is working with complex reporting or product development, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to purchasing the software. Knowing the extent of the organization’s requirements is the first step in making sure that project management software is a good fit, followed by a careful evaluation of whether there are more benefits than drawbacks to incorporating project management software on a project by project basis.
This article is an original contribution by Julian Hooks.
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