Searching for new project management software can be quite time consuming between researching, watching demos, scanning through website features and looking at every pro and con you can find.

Lost sight of why you started doing this research to begin with?

Check out the top six things to keep in mind when searching for a PM solution to help you get back to your A-game!

Focus on your top requirements and the rest will fall into place.

  • Make a list of the top 4 or 5 things you really need the tool to do, scheduling, resource management, reports, etc.
  • Focus on those main points and ask yourself how well does this tool improve my current situation and do I love how it’s going to work.
  • It can be very easy to get distracted by the seat warmers feature of a new car when you really care about the look, engine, sound system, etc.
  • Eyes on the prize! Keep your eyes on the top 4-5 features and you won’t end up buying something because of the shiny toys you’ll rarely use

Will my team love it?

  • What’s worse than spending a lot of money on new software? Spending money on new software that no one wants to use!
  • Be sure to ask yourself if it make sense to the way your team operates. Is it aligned with your business objectives, is it user-friendly, will it alleviate your current pains? Think about all the reasons why you need project management software, and if it makes sense, then go with it. Don’t let doubt creep in on your gut feeling. Sure it’s a big investment, but who else knows your business processes as well as you do.

Do I like working with these people (a.k.a. vendors)?

  • You are likely going to spend a lot of time with this vendor when you get started and it’s important you like working with them right?
  • Don’t be fooled by more shiny toys! Or people I should add.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the vendors you are working with. Are these people you enjoy working with, do they really care about you and your company’s needs? Will they keep your best interest going forward? Don’t overlook this important puzzle piece! Vendor-client relationships are key to a successful partnership on both ends. Every vendor wants your business, but not every vendor is willing to go the extra mile to gain your trust and not just your business. Vendor-client relationships are built on trust and if you are not a big fan of someone, chances are, you don’t trust them either. Remember, a pretty software is not worth a bad relationship.

Technical/Customer Support

  • Read the fine print. Make sure you understand the support you and your team will be getting when you purchase. This is especially important during the implementation process when you will probably need the most support from your new software vendor. Nothing is perfect, software included.
  • Watch out for those hidden fees. Some teams upcharge for support, so beware of what you are not being told when you buy.
  • Make sure to review and share this information with your team so everyone is on the same page and knows where and who to go to when in need of support.

Be swift but patient.

  • Don’t be too impulsive when buying, you might get distracted by the shiny features.
  • On the flip-side, don’t be too patient. You will start to doubt what’s important and hinder your process which might be hard to pick back up – don’t let your momentum die down.
  • Find the right balance of buying with team input and buying with confidence.

Don’t buy based on price.

  • Have you ever purchased something just because it was cheap? Ever had that thing break or not do what you thought it would? Don't allow this to happen when it comes to your software.
  • Everything has a budget, but remember, eyes on the prize! Price can be distracting but if you focus on what you need, what you like, and demonstrate why you need it. The budget will find itself.

Online 1/26/2016
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