Simplified and Balanced Approach to PM Software Selection

The selection of project management software should be a team effort. Normally, the team would consist of from three to six key players, relying on contributions from all stakeholders. The team needn't find consensus among all the stakeholders. But their inputs should be sought and valued, and they should be made to know that their inputs count.

Trap It is a basic tenet of human behavior to wish to be included in decisions that affect you. It is usually very difficult to include all such stakeholders in the entire decision process, and it is virtually impossible to satisfy the desires of all the stakeholders. But it is also a general behavioral response that, if contacted and included in the discussions that lead to the decisions, these individuals would be more likely to accept the eventual decision.

Furthermore, this same human behaviorism tends to make people oppose and reject decisions that were made without their inputs or consideration. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary opposition to your PM software selection decisions, you should openly seek wide discussion and communication of the process.

Selection should be made on the basis of the large picture. Consider connectivity to other systems. Consider both current and future needs. Avoid political decisions, such as choosing a product because you would have less risk of criticism if the solution failed. Look for ways to bridge the normal chasm between the projects and the operations functions.

Don't concentrate too much on software cost. Most tool solutions represent but a miniscule part of the costs of doing projects. But do consider life-cycle costs. How much will it cost to operate the system, say for five years, including software, hardware upgrades, and training?

Don't get caught up in little details. Look more at what you need to accomplish with the software, rather than at the feature set. A recent Dilbert cartoon, by Scott Adams, pictured someone presenting a desired feature list of several hundred items. When questioned as to the potential effect of such an expansive list on the usability of the software, he responded, "Oh! Let's add ease-of-use to the list."

There will need to be a balance between the expanse of features and ease-of-use. But here are two things to note about this. First, due to differences in product design, some products will be easier to use than others, even when having similar functional attributes. Second, expect all PM software products to be complex. They will not be as easy-to-learn or easy-to-use as word processing or spreadsheet tools because the typical user will have to learn many new things about planning and control in addition to learning the new tool.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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