Selecting the Right Project Management Solution for Your Team
The best thing about project management (PM) software is also, arguably, the worst thing: There are a ton of options available. (Just google “project management software” to get an idea of how many are out there right now!)
That means if you’re tasked with selecting the right solution for your team, you have a daunting task ahead of you. So how do you go about choosing and implementing the right one? Cella Consulting’s Jackie Schaffer recommends that you start by “matching your high-level needs with a category of products,” and suggests the following approach:
1) Explore what’s possible.
Even before you start thinking about your needs, take the time to explore the different solutions that are available. There may be features that you didn’t know existed that may end up important for your team.
2) Identify your needs.
If you’re convinced that a project management solution can help your team, identify the high-level considerations and specific features that you need. A couple of questions to consider are:
- Will your team be the only users of the solution, or do you want your clients and other departments to have access?
- Do you want hosted or cloud-based solution?
When it comes to specific features, there are dozens to choose from. The good news is, deciding which features your team needs will help you eliminate a lot of possibilities. Jackie Schaffer suggests considering these functions that your team might need:
- time tracking
- digital asset management
- campaign and job/project tracking
- online job submission
- version control management
- client portals
- mobile connectivity
- calendar integration
- customizable dashboards
- simple/intuitive user interface
- non-labor job expense tracking
- automated workflow management and scheduling
- media buying
- approval routing and tracking
- ability to integrate with other enterprise systems
3) Determine your product category.
When shopping for PM solutions, it’s important understand the different category of solutions that are available. Figure out whether you want a creative production management solution to manage your entire workflow, or if you just want a solution to manage your day-to-day tasks. This is where the next step becomes very important.
4) Build your wish list.
With the help of your team, document all of your requirements and nice-to-haves for your PM solution. To simplify the selection process even more, consider ranking your requirements as “must-have,” “important,” or “nice-to-have.”
5) Evaluate the solutions.
This is the most involved and hands-on part of the selection process, because in order to truly evaluate a solution, you should see it in action. Request to see a demo of each solution and before the demo, share your list of requirements and maybe even your workflow with the solution provider. This will help them cater their demo to your specific needs.
7) Score the solutions.
Base this score on how well the solutions match your “must-have” and “important” features. Additionally, seek feedback from current clients, and ask for testimonials and references from the solution provider. And last but not least, consider the costs and try to evaluate the return on investment. For a guide on how these solutions are priced, consider checking out our Creative Work Management Solutions 101 guide, which – in addition to pricing – discusses how to research and implement work management solutions.
8) Implement the solution.
Depending on the complexity of the solution you selected, you could be in for a week-long implementation process versus a 6-month long implementation process. But whichever solution to end up selecting, keep in mind that they require commitment and adoption by your whole team.
“We’ve heard too many stories of creative teams abandoning systems due to selecting the wrong tool, implementing the tool poorly or failing to manage the change process well. If you’re willing to make the financial commitment to purchase the tool, be willing to make a similar commitment to the implementation and adoption to ensure a return on your investment,” says Jackie.
Adopting a Project Management solution can be huge boost to your team’s efficiency, helping you increase productivity, cut down on wasted time, and provide transparency and visibility. So make sure you select the right solution and put in the research.