By Alexandru Stan, serial entrepreneur, CEO of Tekpon, a one-stop platform for all software needs.
One thing I’ve been learning working in the software industry is that even though every product is good as a concept, it is not necessarily a good fit for every team and company. There are many great products in the market for almost every need, yet it is not an absolute solution.
Business leaders and employees will say that there are a lot of products you can choose from. Indeed, there are loads of project management tools in the market, but how do you choose the one that fits your company’s needs?
I love good branding and its story, but it’s not enough when dealing with projects and management. You’ll have to look at its functionalities, features and the needs that it covers for your team.
Identify your team’s needs and challenges.
First, don’t make the decision based on what you think as a leader, but listen to your team’s needs. When having various departments in your company, you’ll face the challenge of accomplishing each one’s specific needs.
There is a workflow difference between the Sales department and the Creative one, for example. People have different ways of working and visualizing their projects, especially based on their skills. But also, if they need to work with each other on the same project management platform, you’ll have to find the tool that offers this solution.
My experience so far has shown me that your people can work differently. And you can’t waste the company’s money buying different subscriptions for each one; instead, find the one that can integrate all their needs into one digital workspace.
Another aspect that you should consider is how many employees you have. If you have a small team, you don’t need a project management tool that is more dedicated to enterprises. However, this could cost you more money, and your team may not be as satisfied as you expected.
For example, for us, Asana is working great. Our departments can work together, see the progress level for every project and team members can set their own goals. At this level, this tool is what we need. But for a smaller team, it can be pricey or too much for their needs.
Create a list of must-have features.
After identifying your company’s needs regarding workflow and projects, create a list of features you want your tool to have. And in my opinion, the first one on the list should be its learning curve—it should be so easy to use that it’s child’s play. Then, I recommend you look for:
• Gantt charts. This will show you how much time you should devote to a task on a time scale. Using a Gantt chart, you can see how long each activity will last and how much of it will overlap with other tasks.
• Central dashboard. As a leader of your business, you want to see the big picture of your company without going in-depth. An organized central dashboard can show you all your projects, ideas, progress and even some report features so that you can begin to scale. You should look for a tool that provides a simple dashboard so you can know what is happening without losing too many details.
• Customization. You may wish for a flexible solution that can be customized to each department’s needs. Avoid a static solution that provides what they think you need, and look for one that lets each team member create their personal views and task workflow.
• Integrations. If there is heaven on Earth, then integrations are part of it. This incredible feature can provide you the freedom to integrate the main project management tool with another tool you’re using by allowing you to share your projects with your clients, even externally.
Each project management tool offers many great features to its users, but these will be nothing if you don’t test the tool with your team.
Spend your money smartly for your team.
And it’s also about the money. You want to save money for other needs in your company, not spend it on subscriptions you don’t use. Thus, before deciding what project management software fits your needs, you should test it with your team. Do a little research by reading some reviews about a couple of tools you have decided to try and then spend time testing them.
After being sure that your teams are satisfied, get a good deal, and you’ll be good to keep on going with your projects. Even as a business leader, you should only decide after testing a project management tool with your teams. They will be the ones using it every day.
Make a list of your teams’ needs and the features you want, then test some products; buy a small subscription at first, then go big once you know it works for you and your team.
If you thought that it was an easy job to choose a project management tool, let me tell you that it is not that easy if you want to spend smart money on subscriptions. But there are always great solutions for great teams. You just need to know your company’s needs.