Why standalone project management platforms are flawed
If you are struggling to manage projects effectively a Project Management Platform may well be the way forward. However, a platform that simply visualizes a project isn’t enough. That alone will not help you complete the project because the fact that it’s now on a computer screen and not simply in your head doesn't mean that it will get done more efficiently, it just means people have something to look at. You need a tool that will help you and the people around you work as a team and communicate towards completing a common goal.
Whilst there are several attributes you should look for in PM platforms there are five that stand out for me as the most important:
1. Project Management Tools – This may seem obvious but does it just let you plan out your project and then look at it or does it actually serve as a useful tool for getting the project done? Does it help you keep track of your budget? Can you draw useful reports from it? Are things like issues and risk management included? You should consider all these things when looking.
2. Communication & Collaboration - If the platform or software that you are using doesn't improve the communication in your team then there isn't much point in using it. Communication is key for a number of reasons, you need to know who is doing what and when so that if a single task requires more than one person, there is no wasted time on people completing the same things. Does the software you're looking at included discussions, forums and places where your employees can explore ideas to better help the project’s success?
3. Accountability - Everyone has been in the position where something has gone wrong or hasn't been done. We've all asked 'Who was supposed to do this?' and been faced with a bunch of blank faces. Well… If you pick the right platform this won't happen because you'll know who was responsible and you can ask them direct if something doesn't go to plan.
4. Ease of Use – This is vital. The last thing you want is everybody complaining about how complicated the new system is as this simply defeats the whole point of implementing it in the first place. Users should be up and running quickly and, most importantly, their lives should be made easier when they use it, not harder.
5. Integration – Similarly to ease of use, you want a platform that blends with the systems you already have in place, whether that be Outlook, Salesforce or any other programme you currently use. If it doesn’t this will cause more disruption than it’s worth. You want something that will seamlessly enter your workplace.
So… Can a Project Management Platform help you? Yes. Does it need to do more than simply put your project into visual terms? Yes. It needs to help you manage people and how they correlate to the completion of your project.
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