With today’s multifaceted projects increasing in complexity, managing projects has become increasingly difficult. This tenet holds true especially within matrix organizations where there is often competition for scarce resources. With said challenges in hand, the days of managing projects solely through simple project plans are long gone, replaced with an array of robust tools geared towards meeting the growing demands of project management in the 21st century.

While selecting the right tool is critical, no tool is a panacea. Indeed, projectssdscinc.com can easily get derailed when the focus becomes more on managing the tool itself rather than the project. When this pitfall is coupled with the convoluted array of tools within the project management (PM) space, it has become ever more difficult to get the tool of best fit.

To help navigate these dangerous waters, 5 key considerations are presented below. These considerations seek to first understand the business to better inform the ultimate selection of the right tool(s).

  1. Understand the Business – While projects can share commonalities across industries, there are clearly industry-specific components that focus projects within the realms of the business. As such, knowing the ins-and-outs of the business can point to overarching areas of clarity and opacity that will better inform what tool set is best geared to meet the needs of the business/industry.
  2. Understand the Approach – In today’s world, there are competing views on how best to run projects. Many organizations struggle to define if they should opt for a Waterfall, Agile, Lean, or alternative PM methodology. Mining approaches from current employees (especially a mix of those with institutional knowledge from other firms) can help establish best practices and a core set of project methods. This core set can then be used to better ascertain what PM tool fits best with the established approach.
  3. Understand the Future – While many firms opt for a tool that meets the needs of a current project, this order can be limiting. An alternate approach is to take a global view, evaluating entire project portfolios to better understand not just current needs, but future requirements as well. In doing so, a best fit PM tool can be chosen with the flexibility to manage the key elements of all current and known projects to come.
  4. Understand Proficiency – Many times, a firm will have licenses to an existing PM tool or tool set. While it may be the path of least resistance to settle for what is already in-house, this ultimately may not be the tool of best fit. Leveraging the experience of individuals within the company can provide invaluable feedback on what a current tool (or tool set) does well and what gaps exist with the tool and team proficiency. These gaps can then be assessed through training, a supporting tool, or a completely new tool set.
  5. Budget – A final consideration into the selection of the PM tool of choice is to identify the budget/licenses constraints available. When weighing the pros and cons of each PM candidate, budgetary concerns may ultimately lead towards the adoption of what is already in house in preference to a new tool. Alternatively, a new tool may be selected to better meet the needs of increasingly complex projects.

Once the 5 considerations above have been fully vetted, the software selection process becomes well-defined. Teams may opt for the more the established players like Microsoft Project and Basecamp or newer online/cloud-based options like Clarizen and Genius Project. Regardless of the choice, getting the right tool in hand is only the beginning. Managing the project itself is where the real challenge begins.