Project Management, Strategy

What to Look for in Easy-to-Use Project Management Software

project-management-software-checklist

When most companies are looking to implement new project management software, their first question is “what project management software is the easiest to use?” Most of us know that the benefits of a project management software tool can be great—from maximizing efficiency to increasing profitability—but if the software isn’t easy to use, then no one will use it.

Qualities to Look for in Easy-to-Use Project Management Software

When you’re looking for easy-to-use project management software, it can be difficult to balance ease and usefulness. How can you get the most out of your investment while ensuring it will be used by your team?

Here are some of the features we look for in effective yet easy-to-use project management software tools:

Drag-and-Drop Features

One of the most important features of an easy-to-use project management software tool is the ability to drag and drop. This may seem obvious, but we’re surprised how many project management software developers have missed it. Not only should you be able to drag and drop resources to adjust as needed, but this should also automatically update your employee availability, project timeline, and budget—if applicable.

At-a-Glance Reports

In an easy-to-use project management software tool, you should be able to see at-a-glance where a project is at any given time. Sometimes these reports are visual, sometimes they’re numbers based. We’re particular fans of visual reports since they help you easily compare reports and digest information. It also allows you to see how many projects you have “in the hopper” at any point in time.

Simple Project & Resource Database

Your project management software should make it easy for you to add and manage clients and resources. No project management software can be successful without first adding all the projects you’re working on, but in some tools this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It should take you fewer than two or three clicks to get to a dashboard where you can add a new client, project, or resource.

Intuitive User Experience

“User experience” is the phrase developers use to refer to the steps a user has to take to complete a certain action. An intuitive user experience, then, means it’s easy to find where you need to go to get something done. To measure this, log into a platform. Can you see at a glance where to find projects? Employees? Reports? If you click around, is it easy to add projects or project details?

This is the experience your team will have when they first log in to the project management dashboard. If it seems easy to figure out and use, then you’re on the right track!

Features You Can Grow Into

Look for a project management software that is easy to use but also has features you can grow into. Even if task management is all you need right now, there will most likely be a point in your company’s growth where your client, project, or employee databases and sheer amount of tasks assigned grow so large that it becomes more difficult to manage. In these cases, it’s easier to begin using additional features than it is to switch to a more robust project management software.

When to Compromise on Easy vs. Better

There’s no doubt that project management software should be easy to use, but how easy is too easy?

In business, it is important to remember that “what got you here won’t get you there.” When businesses grow and progress, they naturally become more complex. Whether this is adding new employees, new clients, or new products and services, complexity is simply a byproduct of a more successful company.

Most companies first turn to project management software when they’ve reached a stage of complexity that is no longer sustainable through their current project management methods.

It’s important, however, to remember that your company will almost always only get more complex from here. Former Walt Disney CFO and strategic systems advisor at Preferred CFO, Troy Skabelund, recommends preparing for at least the next three to five years when implementing new software. He advises that you want to be able to grow into the solution, but not go so robust that it’s more time and investment than makes sense at the time.

Make a Checklist for Your Demo

When you take a product demo, it can help to have a checklist of things to be sure to look for. We recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Simple/modern dashboard? Y/N
  2. Easy to add new projects? Y/N
  3. Easy to add team members? Y/N
  4. Describe how your team members will have to participate (task tracking, file uploads, time tracking, etc.) ______________________________________________________________
  5. First instinct: Is this tool simple enough for your team to use? Y/N
  6. Drag-and-drop scheduler? Y/N
  7. Do timelines/resource allocation/budgets adjust automatically when you make a change? ______________________________________________________________
  8. Do you feel confident in your ability to master this software in 7 days or less? Y/N
  9. Relative to your needs, do you feel the reporting includes:
    Little to no information
    Not enough information
    Just enough information
    Too much information
  10. Overall ease of use:
    Most        Difficult        Easiest
    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

How Can We Help?

Are you not sure where to start with your project management software search, or would you like some guidance on the types of features to look for? Let us know! We’re happy to help.

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