10 Important Things to Look for in a Project Management Tool
Read time: 4 minutes
I’ve met many creative agency project managers in my day, and no two have been quite alike. They have been formally trained, and landed in the role through a series of circumstances. They have wanted to know what their team is up to at all times, and been almost completely hands off — until a due date is on the horizon.
What they did share though, was a need for the project management software they use to actually help, and not hinder their day-to-day work.
10 Things to Look For in a Workflow Management Software:
1. Cover Your Bases With Cloud-Based
Be sure the product is available online, and preferably designed as Software as a Service (SaaS). This will spare you from installation issues, large licensing fees, and the pain of work disrupting upgrades. You are also more likely to be able to work from any computer, anytime.
2. Project Management Flexibility
Investigate the product to be sure it can bend to either an agile and waterfall methodology. Although most project managers I know see waterfall as an antiquated way to do things, better to not be locked into any workflow.
3. Scalability is Key
Sure, you may be a small creative agency with 3 big clients now, but can this product handle things if you suddenly rise in popularity? Better to have a highly scalable product, than one which cannot grow with you.
4. Get as Much Out as You Put In
Will you be able to get information out once you put it in? A product that offers you plenty of reporting options will be of absolute benefit down the road. Without reporting, how else can you show the need for more staff, or the above and beyond hours team members have put in?
5. Have as Much Control as You Need
Another trait all project managers (that I have met anyway) share is the desire for control. Look for a product that will allow for control of the project, as well as project team members, internal and external communication records, files and scheduling of work. The more you feel you have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening, the less need for panic, scrambling, and all those other feelings one is better off avoiding!
6. Browser Compatibility
Although it makes me shake my head, there are still plenty of people who are IE fanboys, and prefer a Windows environment. Look for a product that will work just as well in any browser, and in at least Mac and PC operating systems.
7. It’s Impressive Inside and Out
So the project management product you have your eye on today, sure looks bright and shiny on the company site, but what is there for you and your team behind the scenes? Will training be offered? Is there a support team? What kind of charges might be hidden for these services? And does up to date documentation exist so that self-learning is an option?
8. Make Sure Workflows Flow
Perhaps your company is best known for web designs right now, but the project management tool you select should not only be suitable for certain kinds of incoming work. Be sure the built in workflow is flexible enough to handle everything from small print projects to larger scale re-branding campaigns.
9. One Place For Projects and New Business
Having everything you use on a day-to-day basis in one place, will give you an increased ROI. Choose a product that can handle staff timesheets, the business development prospecting cycle as well as your job files and budgets….and beyond. The more of a one-stop-show it is, the more likely you are to use it.
10. It Should Simplify Your Process, Not Add Noise
Any project manager worth their salt will have multiple projects going at any time, all at different stages of completion. The project tracking application of a product will need to be able to keep things clear and organized, and allow you to move seamlessly between your clients, projects, jobs and expenses, and always know where you are within the system.
If you’re in a market for a project management system, be sure to check out Function Point, an all-in-one workflow and productivity tool for creative agencies. Book a personalized demo with one of our experts to determine whether it’s the right fit for you and your team.