Regardless of how organised your project team might be, identifying project management software for your business is important for the smooth-running of projects, specifically when they occur in parallel.

Daniel Marcus, director of project management and CRM tool Magnetic Software says that businesses are often unsure of where to start searching for a tool that sufficiently matches their requirements.

“There are many online options available for companies, but finding a provider that is local, and that offers sufficient after-sales support is sometimes hard,” says Marcus.

Marcus says that a project management tool can be used in any sized business, and across most industries. Regardless of the type of activity, the software monitors the state of projects using reports and task lists, automatically tracking time spent on projects, storing and linking all email and files to relevant projects.

“Plans often fail due to one reason: out of sight, out of mind,” says Marcus. “Project management systems keep everything visual and constantly update you on the status of your projects.”

Marcus defines five steps to assist in the selection of project management software:
* Why do users need a PM tool? It’s important to first identify exactly why users need a platform. Part of this process is listing what potential “pain points” are and who the key stakeholders are that will drive the project management tool. Once user know this, it is easier to look through the various offerings.

* Taking advantage of the cloud – many project management tools are Web-based cloud platforms.
Moving all data into the cloud is often seen as very risky for reasons such as data being accessed by a service provider; a service provider could get hacked and data stolen; or a service provider could go under and lose data. While these are valid concerns they can be mitigated, and ultimately the benefits far outweigh the risks.

* Wading through the clutter – there are a number of systems out there that can be found online.
“Project management platforms are usually easy to implement, but long-term support is the key. Make sure you assess a prospective platforms’ support portal before committing to sign up and pay.”

* Getting started – swift deployment of project management software is dependent on a company’s internal structure and the size thereof. However, most tools should be simple enough to implement without the use of external specialists. “Specialists should only be used once the system is in place and you want to refine the process to better suit your needs,” says Marcus.

* Reap the rewards – as a company manager or owner users now have access to information including who’s working on what, what tasks are complete and outstanding and how much time has been spent on project and what the budget status is. Work closely with a provider to ensure users are getting the right data out of the tool.

Marcus says that human input is another key reason for project management tools to fail, and hence they’ve addressed this in their project management tool.

“Magnetic solves the problem of incorrect human inputs by automating many of the manual tasks that are normally required by project management platforms. With this automation we’re able to speed up the input of data to ensure the main focus is the task or project on hand.”