Key Steps For Choosing A Project Management Solution

Choosing the right project management solution for your organisation can be challenging with so many options on the market that vary in functionality and price. To help make this process easier, today’s article outlines the key steps for success.

The author of this page: Malek Al-Shayeb
Malek Al-Shayeb, Principal PPM Consultant Apr 09, 2024

The right project management solution can deliver a positive impact for companies, from improved project planning and profitability to enhanced project reporting and data insight. With PMI stating that the demand for project managers is set to rise, now more than ever project managers need to harness the power of technology to help them juggle an increased project demand. However, finding the correct project management software to suit your organisation can prove challenging. With so many options available, assessing which solution is the best choice for your business can be daunting. Below we walk through some of the key steps that can help businesses make the best decision regarding project management software.

1. Defining Organisational Needs

Before implementing a new technology solution, it is important to look at internal processes. It is important to ask questions to gain an in-depth understanding of existing project management processes. Consider the current project needs – looking at the type of projects managed, how different project stages are handled, as well as the communication and reporting of projects. Do the project processes align with the organisational goals of the PMO, do they support the PMO is becoming a strategic Project Management Office (SPMO)? Once the organisation can establish its current processes, it is time to explore some of the challenges or limitations around existing processes – for example, is poor time tracking among teams leading to uneven workloads or is it difficult to access up-to-date project information?

2. Engage With The Project Team

Following on from the first step, it is crucial to engage the project team from the beginning. While business may have a good understanding of the project management processes as well as their existing challenges, the project team can help deliver additional insights. Since the team will become the end-users of the new project management solution, it is important to listen to their needs when it comes to improving the system. This also helps avoid any change resistance, when the end-users are involved and informed from the outset they can prepare for the change and adjust more easily. It is also essential to consider things like team location, whether are they geographically dispersed, and will the new system be used by mainly remote team members.

3. Determine Required Functionality

After taking the time to understand the needs and challenges of the business and project team, you must determine the non-negotiable features required. These essential features will help when assessing the numerous software solutions on the market. There are several ways that businesses can prioritise these features. Firstly, they can look at what features are required to meet the basic project management requirements of the business and what functionality could help address the challenges identified. From there, they can explore what functionality would help your project team boost productivity or enhance collaboration. It is also important to consider the integration capabilities that might support this further as well as ease of us to avoid a steep learning curve. Finally, businesses should consider any specific industry requirements that some solutions may be able to cater to.

4. Define The Budget

Defining the budget is the next step. Businesses need to ensure that the essential features of the new solution align with the budget. However, determining the budget goes beyond this. Businesses must consider the initial cost of acquiring the software including licenses and implementation. Then there are the recurring costs such as the software subscription. Businesses should explore the different pricing models available for software, whether it be per-user pricing or a flat rate for example. It is also important to factor in a buffer for any customisations which may be needed to tailor the solution to your business. Other cost considerations include user training as well as support and maintenance.  Armed with this information businesses can then determine the potential return on investment.

5. Complete Market Research

With the must-have features and budget defined, the business can move on to building a list of software solutions as well as technology partners. There are many ways businesses can research the different solutions available from industry blogs, solution reviews and ratings to social media and search engines. Recommendations from colleagues or industry peers can also be beneficial. From here, businesses should create a feature list of each solution to compare and help determine a shortlist. Businesses can then explore potential technology partners by assessing who has experience in delivering the shortlisted solutions. Engaging with partners here to receive a solution demo or trial

6. Choose Your Solution  

At this point, the business must take some time to review all of the insights gathered from the previous steps and select the right project management solution that best addresses the business needs and the challenges identified by providing the must-have functionality, all while still staying within the budgetary constraints. The choice of a technology partner is equally as important here, so businesses should take some time to assess each option by exploring the relevant customer stories and references as well as speaking to previous or current clients if possible. Once the business has made the decision, it is time to implement the new software and drive project success.

If you would like to learn more about how project management software can transform project planning in your organisation, get in touch to speak to an expert.

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