30 Apr 2020

Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Tools

Project management tools
Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Tools

As you bunker down in this new remote working world and get focused on your project deliverables, are you thinking about whether you need to upgrade or purchase new digital tools to get your project set up for remote delivery?
 

TALK, TASKS, CREATE OR ALL OF IT?

When it comes to delivering on your project you should be clear what kind of functionality is most important. The four base elements are as follows:

  • Task and activity management;

  • Communication;

  • Collaborative creation and productivity; and

  • Analytics, tracking and reporting.

It’s likely your project will have elements of all of these features so you want to make sure that the tool/s you select can deliver the level of functionality you require for each feature.

But remember to think about how the relative importance of some of these functions might change over the life of a project. For example, working and creating together might be key at the beginning of a project, whereas the progress monitoring and tracking task completion will become more important as you switch to execution mode.


CHOOSE USABILITY AND SIMPLICITY

It goes without saying that if a tool is too complex - either no one will use it or the time required will demotivate everyone from actually using it.

When reviewing or demoing a prospective tool be sure to look for an intuitive interface with simple navigation that offers a range of features and options that allows your team to utilise it in the way that suits them the best.

In fact, it’s worth consulting with your team and stakeholders to find out what they will most use a project management collaboration tool for. Also check if they are already familiar with any particular tools. You might end up saving yourself a lot of time in training if you can find one that the majority of the team is familiar with.


ENSURE YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOL IS PRIVATE AND SECURE

It could be that at certain stages of a project or for one particularly sensitive area, you’ll want team members to have private conversations or to be able to work or collaborate separately and securely. Think about the role privacy and sensitivity needs to play in your project and be sure to look at a tool’s privacy and security features.

Now that we are remote working it’s important to consider the security of the data and knowledge you are sharing with your team via your project management tools - most likely via the cloud.

Data security breaches are an all too common occurrence in the business world today and with team members now working remotely, often perhaps from their own computers, it's important to take extra precautions. If this is not your area of expertise, ask your IT department for assistance.
 

CONSIDER ITS INTEGRATE-ABILITY

It’s possible you won’t find all the features and functionality you want in one tool or you might find one that does one thing exceptionally well. Also there may be a range of file types - other digital tools and software you and your team need to use to complete the project.  

Integrations and compatibility are essential to save you time, hassle and complexity when working across a range of systems, tools and formats. Find tools that seamlessly integrate with other apps or software. Take the time upfront to get integrations working. Too often this step is overlooked and trying to retrofit an integration after a project has launched is not always straightforward.


COLLABORATION TOOL HIT LIST

As you get into remote working mode it’s important that you think not just about the collaboration tools you are going to use but also what are good remote project management practices. As you ponder those, here’s a quick list of some of the more common project management collaboration tools worth taking a look at:

Wrike is, at its core, a project management and scheduling tool. One of its key strengths is that it offers an extensive range of integrations making it a good central platform for bringing together a number of software apps to expand your options and features.

Monday.com allows you to plan, track, and collaborate using drag-and-drop functionality. It’s known for its usability and general workflow management across teams. It also offers a wide range of integrations that broadens its functionality.

Trello is part of the Atlassian family of productivity tools. With Trello you organise with boards or lists, which can be arranged by teams and tasks so you can collaborate, assign and work on projects with the project stakeholders. It also provides a range of integrations.

Asana is one of the original online collaboration tools. Its strengths lie in its trackability of work and progress monitoring. It’s also easy to use when creating to-do lists for projects, deadlines reminders and facilitating conversations between team members.

Google Suite is not, as such, a project management focused software. However, it can be a very cost-effective option for those who can take the time to build out project plans using Google Sheets or Docs. Google chat and Gmail help bring it all together on the communication side.

Slack excels as a collaboration tool and is widely used, working just as well on mobile as it does on your desktop. Team members can chat, direct message or send files to other specific channel members and everything is drag-and-drop. 
 

The list of available tools is long and grows every day. So, before you get started researching and trying out different tools, make sure to get your list of requirements down. Having a clear idea of your “must have” functionalities and the preferences of your team will save you time both selecting and implementing your new project management collaboration tool.


If you are looking for a recommendation or have specific questions and you are an AIPM member – reach out to our online community for inspiration and advice.


 
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