Is Your Project Management Tool Up to the Task?
How to Diagnose a Subpar Project Management Tool
With project management increasingly moving to the digital realm, project managers who use project management software that isn’t up to the task are likely to see their productivity suffer. This can result from a variety of causes, including out-of-date software versions, integration issues, and the failure of a solution to evolve along with new developments in the field. While no project management tool is perfect, there are a number of signs that may indicate the solution you are using is not fit for the job.
Six of these indications are covered below:
Meeting creep is analogous to the military term mission creep, where one objective leads to another and then another in a seemingly unending progression. When meeting creep occurs, the results are likely to be similar – more and more meetings to discuss a situation or issue without a corresponding improvement in results.
A good project management tool can reduce the number of meetings needed over the course of a project’s lifespan. Many project-oriented meetings are primarily focused on obtaining or delivering project updates. A well-designed project management tool can perform this function by providing real time tracking of project tasks and deliverables, reducing the need to hold frequent status update meetings.
If you find that your project management solution does not cut down on the number of meetings associated with a project, this can be a sign that it is not properly facilitating communication and implementation. Time that employees spend in meetings can often be better used elsewhere. A tool that enables you to reduce the number of project-related meetings gives your team members the ability to spend a greater proportion of their time finishing tasks, resolving issues, and ensuring that the quality of project implementation stays high.
Difficulty Explaining the Tool to New Team Members
Another sign of a poorly designed tool occurs when you find that your IT staff spends an inordinate amount of time explaining to new team members how to use the software. If the tool is so complicated that your employees spend nearly as much time learning to work the software or dealing with issues raised by its use as they do actually using it, this is a sign that you may be better served by a more user-friendly solution. A well-designed project management tool should enhance team member productivity – if excessive acclimation time prevents this from occurring, the tool you are using may not be right for your company.
The vendor you purchase the solution from should provide access to training programs to enable your staff to get up-to-speed on operating the tool. Your vendor should also offer software documentation to enable troubleshooting when issues arise.
Inability to Adapt to Changes in Your Organization
To bolster their ability to grow, many companies rely heavily on their IT systems. This is particularly the case for project management solutions, which are crucial tools for accommodating growth at many organizations. If adding staff or working on more complicated projects causes your existing tool to seize up or produce subpar results, it may indicate that your system is not suitable for your changing requirements.
To accommodate growth, look for tools that offer scalability, either through add-on modules or via the cloud. This enables your company to ratchet up its operations and add users without the impediment of a project management tool that isn’t up to handling the increased complexity that often accompanies growth.
Excessive Tool Management Time is Necessary
When ad hoc or simplistic project management tools such as Excel are used to run projects, you may find yourself spending more time than necessary managing the tool in the course of planning and implementing a project. Excel or other popular spreadsheets are easy to learn to use and as a result may seem to be well-suited to running a project. However, these tools aren’t specifically designed for project management and can lead to suboptimal results when used for this purpose.
Performing tasks such as assigning and managing resources, tracking task progress, modifying task assignments, and reporting project status often require more sophisticated feature sets than such software can offer. Especially as your projects grow larger and more complex, project management software specifically designed for the purpose is often called for in order to avoid an increase in management time and a resulting decrease in productivity.
You Utilize a Variety of Different Tools
If you find yourself using several different tools to finish a task, it may be a sign that your project management solution is not up to the job. For instance, if you rely on different applications to track the time spent on a task, send emails, and produce reports you are likely spending more time and effort on entering and producing data for the project than is necessary.
An effective project management solution can handle all three of these tasks, among others, within a unified environment. This saves time by eliminating the need to send data back and forth between disconnected solutions. Your project management tool should contain all of your company’s major processes within a unitary interface, while also facilitating communication among team members via its messaging functionality. Such a setup serves to reduce confusion about a project’s status and reduce communications redundancy as all messages can be viewed in one place.
Excessive Frustration Levels
If using your project management tool engenders an inordinate amount of frustration among you and your coworkers, this is a reliable signal that the tool is not optimally designed for the tasks for which it is being used. There can be a number of causes of this frustration:
- Lack of real-time updating may result in misleading project status reports
- Inability to handle unified communications may force employees to repeatedly convey the same message
- Inability to model various outcomes can leave team members unsure as to the potential results of different approaches to project implementation.
Whatever the reason behind the frustration, the existence of such discontent with your project management tool is a sign that you may be better served by replacing it with a solution that is more suited to your company’s operating environment. At the very least, it should prompt you to perform an analysis of your current tool to gauge the source of the frustration – whether the analysis shows that the tool is at fault or other issues are at play (such as inefficient company procedures) you can use the results to help formulate a plan to improve your team’s ability to perform project management processes.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps keep track on your time and your team on point. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…