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Keep All the Plates Spinning: How Project Management Software Can Streamline Your Business

March 13, 2014 1 Comments

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Whether your company is big or small, a great project management software is an important factor to the success of a company in the long-term. As a small company with few clients, you may have been able to get away with keeping track of things on your own for a while. However, as the company grows in clients and employees, having a system in place becomes critical to success.

At Digital Aptitude, we implemented a new project management software over the last year and through that process, we learned several things.

Here are tips and suggestions to make this process as pain free as possible if you decide to implement a system for the first time (or are changing from an existing system).

Why

Benefits of Project Management Software

  • Teams have access to all relevant information in one centralized location online.
  • Items are less likely to fall through the cracks.
  • Plans are in place with timelines, people assigned, and resources allocated.
  • Changes can be made to the plan and all stakeholders notified of the change in real time.
  • More projects can be managed at once.

What

Factors to consider when selecting a project management software

  • Price – Prices can range from free to several hundred/thousand a month depending on the number of people in your company and the functionality of the system. Make sure the system you select fits the needs of your company while staying within budget. A system is a good investment in the long-run however you need to make sure that you select a system that fits within the company‚Äôs financial means. Also, look at the price structure in regards to scalability, can it grow with your company overtime on a budget that makes sense?
  • Needs – Before selecting a system, consider the needs of the company. What problems will the system solve for you? Are you using it to manage multiple projects and clients? How will people use it? These are important questions to consider when selecting an option.
  • Usability – Regardless of all of the functions, if the system is not user friendly, it will be hard to get people to adopt it and could lead to a reduction in productivity and an increase in frustration. Make sure that you test the system and read many reviews on usability before selecting a system. A system no one uses or that does not help you achieve your goals is a poor investment.
  • Compatibility – Does it integrate with your email platform? Can you use it with other programs you utilize within the company? This is important to streamlining office functions and could be a deciding factor between two different systems.
  • Support System – When learning a new system and integrating it into a company, it is inevitable that there will be questions and problems. Choose a system that is willing to help you through the process. The best systems have a great help section, provide training, and have email and/or call support.

How

Once you have selected a project management software, here are tips on how to implement it across the company.

  • Demos – Before going live, send demo videos around the office so people can get a feel for the new program.
  • Setup – Setup the program with all relevant information. The more setup it is with all information entered, the more people will be likely to start utilizing it from day one. If they start to use it and cannot find what they are looking for, they will become frustrated and may blame the new system.
  • Train – Provide training for employees on how to use the new system. Show them all the features and more importantly show them specifically how they will use it. Also provide access to online tutorials and a help center for them to find more information. Be available for questions.
  • Encouragement – Continue encouraging use. Show new ways to use the system and continue to push people to use it. This will be a process but if you are a cheerleader for the new program and are able to show people how it will make their jobs easier, you will gain followers that support the new program.
  • Practice What You Preach – You must use all the features continuously if you want others to follow suit. The more you believe it in and use it in your daily job the more others will start to use it in theirs.

Any additional tips you would add that you learned through experience? Share them in the comments below.

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About the Author

Jenny Villalobos is the account manager at Digital Aptitude. She keeps projects on track while creating content and managing social media communities for clients. Beyond work she loves to travel and plan events. Follow her on Twitter.

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