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5 tips to choosing the right project management platform


Jonathan (The Legend) AtkinsonSo, you've got budget approved to go buy a shiny new project management platform. Woop! As when buying a new car, excitement is tinged with trepidation. You know you want a Porsche but you can’t fit the kids in the back, the Mrs. will go ballistic and you’ll be broke.

To help you choose (the platform not the Porsche) here are my five tips for choosing the right project management platform:

  1. As always, start with the process. If you manage projects within a certain framework does the platform support that? However there is also opportunity to check your framework stands up to industry standard type approaches. For example, if you have a project lifecycle that has eight stages you may want to re-consider your process and then start looking at platforms!
  2. Along with the process comes a list of requirements, probably a bunch of “must-haves” along the lines of planning, risk and issue management, resource management, budget tracking, time recording, benefits management, document storage etc. Simple advice, I know, but check that the platform fulfills those requirements whilst remaining easy to use (consider impact of training your project managers and potential resistance to change if it doesn’t deliver these features intuitively).
  3. Do not try to recreate Microsoft Project. In fact do the opposite. First, have everyone write long lists of all the things they don’t like about MS Project. Then, send those lists out to everyone in the business so they feel overwhelmed by lists (and probably can't even open them). Wahey, just like MS Project. :)
  4. Project management is less about 'management of projects' these days and more about people management and delivering effective collaboration. Your new platform must be able to bring disparate teams together to collaborate on requirements specification, ideas, plans, hopes and dreams. What collaboration features does the platform bring like discussion forums, task management, calendar sharing, workflows etc?
  5. Lastly, but not least importantly, is the technology. As I have said before, if you are installing something yourself, buying a server, plugging anything in or maintaining it yourself, well, you’re doing tech wrong. Cloud-based platforms with access from anywhere are a must. Accessibility from iPhones, iPads (other generic smartphones / tablets are available - but do not work as well as Apple :)) allow teams to keep up with progress in real time and work together on the move, giving your projects a greater chance of success.