Evaluation Guide

If you are new to the whole “project management software world”, the variety of available options, new terminology and lack of straightforward explanations can be very frustrating.

Here at Easy Projects, we try to make your life as easy as possible. Here are five simple steps we recommend, which will help you select the project management software tool that is right for your organization.

Step 1: Decide on your Goals

Make a list of the goal and objectives you wish to achieve by implementing project management software. Here are five excellent goals to start you off by Bas de Baar, an expert project manager:

  • Improve project reporting and tracking.
  • Improve estimating and scheduling.
  • Reduce cost and speed up processes by automating workflows
  • Improve resource management
  • Improve communication and collaboration between team members

It is very important to set measurable goals for your organization and align them with the goals of team members who will be using the product.

  • Decide on your goals ahead of time and be specific.
  • Get everyone on your team involved and make sure their incentives are aligned with yours.
  • Calculate the real cost of inefficiency by calculating doing hours wasted x hourly wage for each team member.

Step 2: Choose the Features you need

Now you should decide what features you need. For example, if you want to bill your customers more accurately, most likely you’ll need Time Tracking functionality. If you don’t want to waste your time on micromanagement, then automated e-mail notifications should be on your list.

You can use Easy Projects’ list of features as a reference, or simply survey the team members who will be using the project management software the most and see what they need to get done. Sometimes, you may need to go deeper or clean up wording a bit to get to the feature from the benefits your team members expect. For example, if someone is telling you they need to stop missing deadlines, that might actually mean they need to see their assignments every day, or it may mean they need a better way to manage their tasks. Either way, they need something to become more efficient!

Step 3: Determine the licensing model

First, decide if you want to run the software in-house or you want to use the hosted services.

A hosted product, also known as a cloud-based product or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product will be the right choice for 90% of the companies out there. Unless you have an internal IT department that can take on the responsibility of installing and maintaining the product, do not go for in-house project management software options like MS Project.

If you trust your IT team and you have sensitive data that you would rather not store in a hosted server, make sure you can do a free trial of the in-house option, to ensure compatibility. Easy Projects allows you to do a free trial of its in-house option without a need to purchase it first.

Step 4: If unsure, get some expert help

Once you have determined the features you need and settled on a licensing model, you may want to find someone experienced in the project management area to assist you with the evaluation process and the initial setup process. This has the added benefit of lowering your workload by letting you ask questions that matter to you directly to a real person, rather than trying to read through pages and pages of features. Our Project Management experts will be happy to answer any questions you have – contact us.

Step 5: Try the Software!

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s best to test drive the product prior to purchasing.

Easy Projects offers a Free Demo that does not require a credit card to sign up

Make sure that regardless of what software you choose, you are able to take it for a spin before you send in that purchase order. Be especially wary of products that don’t have free, no obligation trials. A good product has nothing to hide, and will let you try it to ensure it’s a good fit for you!