When it comes to choosing new project management software, enterprises typically rely on scorecards, content (e.g. reports, white papers, articles, blog posts, videos, etc.), case studies, peer reviews, comparison matrices, demos, data sheets, and other tools to evaluate potential solutions. Naturally, all of these are key pieces of the decision-making puzzle.
However, there is a critical question that enterprises need to answer during this process, because it fundamentally determines whether their project management software experience and investment will be rewarding or regrettable: “will it fit our organization?”
The reason this question is so important, is because — quite surprisingly — most project management software solutions aren’t built to flex and align with an enterprise’s unique needs and culture. Instead, they impose a rigid structure and framework, and basically demand that end users take it or leave it.
Unfortunately, most end users choose the latter. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for those same end users to revert to spreadsheets, emails, home grown databases, and other inadequate ad hoc tools that the new project management software solution was supposed to replace — not because they want to, but because they feel they have to. It’s the lesser of two evils.
And at the same time, enterprise leadership is forced to grapple with the fact that the short path to value they were promised, has turned into a long, winding road to wasted money and time. It’s all pain, and no gain. That’s the bad news.
The good news — especially for experienced (and frustrated!) project managers who have been through the above scenario more times than they care to remember — is that some project management software solutions are designed to fit enterprises vs. the other way around.
Here are the five aspects that separate “enterprise-centric” solutions from the pack:
- They support the use of multiple methodologies across the portfolio and within individual projects, such as waterfall, critical chain, critical path, agile, lean, and so on.
- They let end users create custom views on their personal dashboards that highlights the key work data they most often need (e.g. schedules, plans, timesheets, expenses, status updates, etc.), in a layout and format that suits them best.
- They offer a variety of custom elements to streamline and optimize processes, such as validation and business rules, scheduled workflows, notifications, email handling, custom fields and custom actions.
- They have a robust REST API for developing virtually any desired custom application, and for integrating data within the project management repository with external desktop tools and legacy systems.
- They feature a large library of web and mobile apps that enhance custom functionality and expand capabilities (e.g. publishing slides, building org charts, getting a snapshot of trends, etc.).
The Bottom Line
When assessing potential project management software solutions, it’s not enough for enterprises to focus on desired features and functions. They also must answer what is arguably the most important question of all: “will it fit our organization?”
If the answer is yes, then enterprises should continue with their evaluation. If the answer is no, they should breathe a sigh of relief on behalf of their grateful end users, and make their shortlist even shorter.