Project planning software describes processes for the initiation, planning, execution, completion, and evaluation of any project. Projects are generally finite, with defined scopes, and they’re out of the ordinary line of operations. Since projects are generally processed in a different way than regular, undefined business operations, you need a specific set of best software that can handle them in an efficient and helpful way. Project management, therefore, helps you to define the scope and resource allocation of these non-routine projects. If you frequently develop finite, temporary endeavors, you will probably have a use for project management software.
Who Needs Project Manager Software?
Who has the most use for project management software? Many types of businesses use it, but here are the ones who will likely have most need for it:
- Software development
- Web development and design
- Graphic design and other creative industries
Ultimately, however, the question is whether your business runs on a project model. Is your main service something you provide for people in segments, rather than as a product or continuous service? If the answer is yes, check in to project management software and see if it can solve any of your common issues.
What to Pay for Online Project Management Software
There are three basic models from project management software. These are fixed price, time and material, and dedicated team. Which to choose depends on what type of business you have.
For small businesses, fixed price models are the best option: they’re cheapest, usually allow you to specify cost of project, and allow for less supervision, which frees up manpower. They are, however, less flexible and therefore more difficult to control. You can sometimes get free fixed price software without services.
Time and material models are best for mid-sized businesses. This agile type of project planning model allows you to change your requirements as you go, and usually comes with services. You’ll collaborate with teams who have experience in your project type, and there will be plenty of control over the process. However, this takes more manpower and time to develop. The price is also slightly higher since it’s harder to control budget.
Dedicated team models of project management involve outsourcing the entire project to the software provider. Generally, this is the most expensive option, as you’ll be paying for all the labor. However, this is the best option for long-term projects where you’re not exactly sure what the end specifications and requirements will be. This is, thus, best for large businesses.
Project Management App Key Technologies
The tools of project management applications are many and varied, but a few are particularly crucial.
- Waterfall development: Waterfall development is all about risk management and avoiding errors by planning projects up front. It’s sequential, so each part of the project is completed before the next is moved on to. This is one of two common developmental methods.
- Agile development: Agile development, in contrast to waterfall, is flexible and nonlinear. Each worker can be working on a piece of the project before every bit is complete. This is the second common development approach. Many software tools come with both options.
- Collaborative tools: An important part of most projects is the ability to work together, and collaborative tools allow you to do this in an easier, quicker way. With good collaboration you can easily share files, host virtual meetings, and work together in an environment that allows for multiple editors.
- Resource allocation: Resource allocation covers everything from budgeting to schedule assigning. Most project management apps will allow you to assign workers, resources, and money to a particular project, helping you keep it within costs and time constrains. This is important for project management because it allows you to track the use of resources in real time so you’re certain you’re staying on task.
Choosing Your Project Management Software Free
How can you choose the right project management software? There are so many options, and it’s difficult to narrow them down. If you’re struggling, though, ask yourself these questions.
- What are my needs? What features will I consider most important?
- What are my wants? What features would I like, but won’t consider a dealbreaker if they’re not there?
- What is my budget?
- Can this software grow as my business does?
- Will this software allow me to manage more than one type of project?
- What are the reviews like?
- Finally, what is the license or contract for this software like? Will I be able to get out of it easily if it doesn’t work?
These Features Make or Break a Project Management Software
In addition to the basic tools, also consider these additional features, which can make your project management software more or less robust. Not all of them will be in every software package.
- Task Management
- Resource Management
- Gantt Charts
- Team Collaboration
- Document Management
- Mobile Support
- Timesheet Tracking
- Workflow Automation
- Email integration
There are a great many features here, so you probably won’t need all of the available options. However, you should definitely look into each potential feature and see if it solves any of your common issues. If so, you will definitely want to aim for a software that has the feature in strong support.
The PM Software That Can Help You Excel
Your business deserves project management that can help you shine. Show off your expertise and your strength of development with a software that can do all the tedious parts for you. Finding one doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. You’re armed with some great guidelines, so now, all you have to do is go out and apply them. You will be amazed at how much stronger your business is when you have found the right software for you.