Project Management Tools- Which one is right for your firm?

Though I have little experience as an actual project manager, I have had the opportunity to use many in house project management tools that my firm has developed or acquired.  As discussed in lecture, project managers are now looking at ways to implement virtual tools and cloud based applications to increase efficiency and communication.  As these applications are being demanded more and more, the tools that each application offers are also getting more extensive and hard to choose from.  After reading about firms worldwide who use these project management tools, I found an article that rated the many applications and listed the importance and focus of each application.  I must stress that it is critical to the success of a project manager to choose the right application or resource for their project. A wrong choice in applications or software could cost the firm in wasted time and resources.

The article called “Exploring Functionality of Mobile Applications for Project Management” was very interesting to me in identifying the tools importance, what project managers should focus on and why applications scored higher than the other.

I found this article especially interesting as I have worked for a company who often times will acquire project management application firms to gain exclusivity to their applications.

What is important when choosing an application?

From the many articles I have read and the research presented in the article linked above, I have found there are many similar application themes that project managers are focused on.  The top 5 themes that seem consistent and most important across the board are:

  1. Cloud based capability and mobile access
  2. High security
  3. Highly organized and able to analyze data
  4. Ability to track status, budget, and view statistics/projections
  5. Email integration and file sharing

Obviously this is just an over view of what these tools can do.  Many are equipped with software that will analyze data, create invoices, track expenses, assist with planning, perform risk analysis, and offer the ability to customize.

Takeaways and tips for choosing the right tools

Before purchasing a project management application, project managers must identify what is important and what works for their respective firm.  These tools are not a one size fits all offering.  Many of these tools will offer customization and support to assist a firm in achieving their specific goal. But we must keep in mind that many of these services will have additional costs associated with this support.  A firm should perform an analysis on cost, goals, use among a wide array of projects, support and much more.  Firms must also focus on the aspects of implementation, training, support and updates.

Project management tools are necessary for staying competitive in today’s fast paced business world.  The success of a project depends highly on the tools a firm utilizes.  Be informed and choose wisely.

-Please share instances where your firms use project management applications and describe what seems to be important when choosing the software.