It’s over: you have finally settled on the best project management software for your organization. Perhaps there was some disagreement between the C-level executives, or maybe you’re running your own business and made the call unilaterally. Either way, you considered all the factors and found the best project management software for your organization. Well done.
However, while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the hard part is far from over. In fact, it’s just beginning. Because while choosing the right tools is a crucial part of finding the path to project management success, you’ll be walking the line between failure and success throughout the lifetime of the project. Your project management software may be your guiding light, but it won’t be your saving grace. It’s still up to you to make it work, after all.
Project management is certainly doable; it simply takes preparation and execution to complement your excellent choice of technology. Let’s examine 3 key methods for making that new project management software work.
1. Define Key Performance Indicators
It’s quickly becoming an old adage in our Big Data landscape, but “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” applies to any and every project. The key for you lies in how you’re going to measure the success of specific tasks relative to the success of the overall project. If you chose a software with a time tracking function, calculating the time spent on each project compared to its return on investment is an excellent way to measure performance. Also, in terms of pure completion, comparing time spent on each stage of a project can help define bottlenecks that need to be addressed to keep the project on track.
For departments that are more sales focused, using project management software to track how many sales are closed relative to how many meetings are set is a great way to measure the efficiency of your team members. For development teams, calculating the number of bugs fixed or the quality of the finished code relative to allotted time are both excellent KPIs.
2. Be Choosy About Users and Permissions
Your new project management software is designed to make you more efficient, but if you’re too liberal with your assignment of user permissions then it can quite easily have the opposite effect. Making everyone an admin is a recipe for disaster, especially with a new software.
It’s best to delegate responsibility and access during training so each user can get acquainted with the project management software in the right context. That way, users gain familiarity with the functions they’ll be using on a daily basis, so they won’t be overloaded with new information, they also won’t have to worry about managing larger tasks that are outside their skillset. Limiting permissions isn’t a bad thing; it’s a quality assurance mechanism.
3. Make it Mirror Your Existing Process
It’s paramount to remember that project management software, while powerful, is still only a segment of your larger management process. Avoid creating new processes specifically for your project management software. You shouldn’t be having meetings to sort out the traffic in your project management software; you should be suggesting the project management software as a solution to bottlenecks in your meetings.
The key to a smooth integration lies in taking what works and translating it to the software platform. If you’re running a content creation firm, your editors should still be dictating content topics and contributing heavily to creative direction, which they can convey to the writers through notes in the software. This way the editor’s natural workflow is simply transferred to the project management software without drastic change. The software fits. Everyone is happy.
Implementing new project management software is exciting. It introduces a new solution to the old problem of managing a myriad of moving pieces throughout the lifetime of a project. However, even the top project management software can fail just as surely as actual projects can, so it’s imperative to measure what matters, limit who has overarching access, and make it fit into your daily routine.