Choose a project management software

Project management softwares

There is a plethora of cloud solutions for task, project and process management. However, it is not well known by Swiss SMEs. Of the companies we meet, all sectors combined, 9 out of 10 structures have no tools to supervise and reduce coordination and task management!

In this article we use the term project in the sense of a set of tasks to be carried out to achieve a desired goal. Thus processes and workflows such as recruitment, prospecting, customer support, publication of articles are projects in the same way as a construction site or the development of a product.

Excel is the Middle Ages

Apart from the absurd and inefficient mass email exchange, one of the most popular project management tools is the Excel spreadsheet. Its first flaw is to be absolutely ugly. Okay, at first glance, that’s not a reason in itself. On the one hand, the speed and clarity of the data to be visualized is essential. On the other hand, the visual quality of a tool (UI & UX) has a direct correlation with user involvement and productivity. But above all, Excel’s collaborative capabilities are non-existent. Communication, project-related files, updates, update tracking, history, reports, etc. only occur in a ridiculous back and forth of emails, phones, attachments and version conflicts.

Why a project management tool?

For the most part, the way to organize is based on email wagons, overloaded email, scattered information and outdated files. This generates massive time losses, delays and opacity on objectives and what is happening.
The only result of doing things the old-fashioned way is more stress and dissatisfaction for people who spend more time searching for and making information consistent rather than moving their project(s) forward.
Using a (good!) collaboration software means offering more time and serenity to employees, even before talking about productivity gains and success. It allows you to:
  1. to relieve ourselves of what we have in mind, to keep control of tasks effortlessly,
  2. work in context, facilitate collaboration and planning,
  3. have a clear and global vision of what is happening, at the macro and micro levels,
  4. secure the activity by reducing bottlenecks and inaccessibility (information dependent on a person, sick or absent colleague, etc.).

Where do you want to go?

Define your needs. These can be workflows or processes that need to be improved, reduce bottlenecks and time wasted, streamline collaboration, etc. Where does your current approach fail?
Different teams have different needs. A good collaboration software should not lock you into a rigid framework. He must embrace your multiple ways of doing things and needs.
Also ask yourself who will use the tool. Are the stakeholders internal or external (e.g. customers)? How should this tool be integrated with other company systems? This can influence the ease of adoption and cost of the solution (are guest or guest licenses free, use of APIs or integration offered).
Would you like a helping hand to evaluate and choose the right collaboration tool?

Test alternatives

You must be able to test a software without restriction of functionality during a trial period. A demo or the publisher’s promises are not enough. The trial period must be long enough to allow you to experience what it will be like on a daily basis with this solution. Your team with you.
Don’t stop at a single choice or recommendation from a friend. Test several solutions in depth. The most cost-effective way is to hire a specialist: he or she will help you make the right choice in the jungle of possibilities and save you time.
While it is important to test functionality, it is even more important to test mechanisms. Give importance to the quality of the user interface. The most common operations must be the fastest. Does the creation and assignment of a new task take a click or 4? How do I get an overview of my tasks? Someone else’s?

Calculate and justify the cost

A project management solution will cost time and money, especially to implement it. Nor should it increase the workload or slow down employees. That’s not really the idea. So you have to prove that it is profitable. In time and money.
No one likes ugly, complicated and oversized things. That’s why most software fails. Ban gas plants. If you want your team to adopt it quickly, choose a pleasant solution to use.
Choose a cloud solution that takes only 30 minutes to configure, 30 minutes to set up, 30 minutes to demo for your colleagues to get on board and less than 60 minutes to migrate your project to. All for about $10/month/user. This allows you to change at a lower cost if your needs change. Software that requires 10 days to be installed by the IT department, 1 day of training and with a high licensing cost will significantly increase the risk of failure of your change. The right solution makes work more pleasant. You should be able to enjoy using the software. The benefits in terms of time savings, quality of collaboration and follow-up must be obvious. At that time, the chosen solution is justified and cost-effective.

Supporting deployment

Even technically competent teams are people of habit. It is essential to establish a change plan to integrate a new feature into the daily flow. If the project manager is the only person who touches the software, then it is a guaranteed failure.
Resistance to change is the primary cause of failure of any transformation. Don’t dwell on information and training. A failure always costs more than a change plan.
Communicate to explain and prepare everyone for change. Should training sessions or workshops be planned? A quick start guide? A newsletter cycle to make known all that is “under the hood”?

Do you want names?

Here are some names of solutions you can evaluate. They are given to you in bulk, in no particular order: Jira / Kanbanchi / Breeze / Wrike / Clickup / Teamweek / Redbooth / Podio / Odoo / Avaza / Zoho Project / Confluence / Planscope / Freedcamp / Roadmap / Liquidplanner / Todoist / Meisterplan / Mural / Wimi / Trello / Asana / Monday / Proggio / Meistertask / GanttPRO / Meistertasks / Atolia / Airfocus / Basecamp / Timely / Drag / Toggl / Slack / Taiga / GoodDay / Flowlu / Airtable …

A word of advice: seek transparency

Obviously, PM software simplifies the management of all aspects of a project: planning, task allocation, time and cost tracking. That’s the idea of the thing.
A 2013 research conducted on more than 40,000 respondents shows that, above all, transparency is the main contributor to employee satisfaction.
A culture of transparency is essential to build a culture where people are motivated every morning in the office, involved and accountable. Transparency has a significant impact on morale, performance and – ultimately – financial results. Encourage solutions that will highlight transparency because they promote team cohesion, highlight merit for the efforts made and create motivation.

Ask us

At Axxun, we use  Monday Monday which is, from our point of view, one of the best thought solutions we have seen. We love it for its intelligent interface and outstanding versatility; we manage all our processes and workflows there.
A wall, post-its and a daily “standup meeting” is one of the best project management systems. The sine qua non condition is that the stakeholders are co-located.
Also read: The best project management software
Need help evaluating and choosing a collaboration solution or how to speed up your tasks?